Vanderbilt Law Review


Barry Friedman

First Page



The world we live in is becoming smaller. Although no doubt people have been saying that since at least the travels of Marco Polo, Columbus, and Vespucci, events appear to be moving with startling rapidity. Global trade, global travel, global communication-all are bringing us together in ways that even twenty years ago we hardly could imagine. The words "globalization" and "internationalization" are heard frequently now, and in many new and different contexts. In contrast to the globalization phenomenon, we are accustomed to thinking about American federalism largely in domestic terms. The primary arena in which the debate about the role of the states plays out is a national one. Other than a few odd cases in which state action has been challenged as interfering with international relations,' or the even fewer cases in which actions taken by the national government in the international sphere have been challenged on federalism grounds, most of the debate is about activity wholly domestic. Foreign affairs usually is seen as something remote from, although occasionally touching, the question of national-state relations.

In the next century, the process of globalization is likely to cause us to reconsider the way we think about federalism As the world gets smaller, it will become more difficult to separate the domestic and foreign spheres. Domestic regulation increasingly has an impact on the international sphere, just as international integration has important implications for domestic activities. This international effect in turn triggers the foreign affairs powers of the national government, with regulatory implications for the states. In short, as the barriers between countries fall, the lines we have drawn between the national government and the states will come under increasing strain.