Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Two years have passed since my predecessor, Mike Smith, sat in Professor Barry Friedman's office to begin choosing a topic for the Symposium that now sits before you. Although choosing a topic for a symposium two years in advance of its occurrence can be a difficult task, the topic they agreed upon, Federalism's Future, transcends the risk of becoming outdated. If the Supreme Court's struggle to articulate a "reasoned principle" in balancing the powers and responsibilities of our state and federal governments in Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority, and later in New York v. United States,2 is any indication, the problems of modern federalism will remain with us for quite some time.

Perhaps the Court's concession in New York-that the struggle to protect judicially the states' role in "Our Federalism" is too large a task for it to administer-was inevitable. After all, designating the proper governmental unit to respond to diverse problems such as the environment, civil rights, and health care is no small feat, and the task is made perhaps even more difficult by the Court's intradynamics and personality conflicts. A federal response to these problems seems natural, at least in the post-New Deal era, and the increasing globalization of society and its problems appears to further necessitate a federal solution.