Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Federalism, or paleocon states rights?

There’s an interesting fight brewing down in Alabama that will press the envelope on our understanding of federalism. What do you do when a federal court orders a state court judge to remove the 10 Commandments from a broader display of the origins of law in western civilization? The federal order is clearly contrary to the original understanding of the Establishment Clause, and a lower federal court clearly has no hierarchical power over a state court (only the Supreme Court has that). But can the state court judge just ignore the order without bringing about a nullification crisis of Calhounian proportions? Alabama Attorney General William Pryor, no opponent of 10 Commandments displays, thinks not. Methinks we haven’t heard the last of this showdown.

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