his past spring, the Willamette Center for Law and Government and the Willamette Law Review sponsored a symposium on federalism entitled “Laboratories of Democracy: Federalism and State Independency.” Symposium organizers assembled an exciting and distinguished group of speakers, who brought both academic and practical expertise to a wide range of discussions on federalism.
A panel discussion on physician-assisted suicide proved to be a highlight of the symposium. Kathryn Tucker, director of legal affairs for Compassion in Dying, led the discussion. Tucker argued that by exploring physician assisted suicide in a regulated and Symposi um controlled fashion, Oregon is fulfilling : one of the central , purposes of our federal system. , . She noted that : . . ‒ : .. informed debate The Will amette C enter for Willamet La w te and Gov Law Rev by citizens is distingui ernment iew have shed grou and assembled p of spea practical an excitin the kers who expert g an bring bo will exam ise to their discussi th academ d central to the on of fed ine feder ic and eralism. alism iss physician The sym ues raise assisted posium d in curr suicide, ga ent topics democratic y marriag such as e and terr orism. process and to the careful investigation of this complex subject.
Erwin Chemerinsky, a member of the Duke Law School faculty and author of numerous books on federal jurisdiction and constitutional law, gave the first keynote address. Speaking to symposium attendees through a video feed from the East Coast, Chemerinsky addressed what he referred to as “the Rehnquist Court’s federalism revolution.” He noted that at the height of its federalism revolution — when it revived the Tenth Amendment as a limit on federal power — not all the Court’s decisions were in favor of states’ rights. The second keynote address was presented by R. Shep Melnick, professor of American politics at Boston College. Melnick defended federalism, noting that states’ rights are essential for promoting democratic self-government within an extended republic. He believes that when judges refuse to consider federalism issues when making decisions, they remove citizens’ incentive for participating in government.
Special guest speaker, the Honorable Jay S. Bybee, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, offered “Reflections on the Tenth Amendment” to close the symposium.
The symposium included three panel discussions on states’ rights issues. A panel on gay marriage rights was led by David Cruz, professor of law at the University of Southern California Law School. A second discussion, which focused on legal issues related to domestic terrorism, was led by Susan Herman, professor of law at Brooklyn Law School.
The fall 2005 issue of the Willamette Law Review (Vol. 41:5) includes selected presentations from the federalism symposium, as well as related articles. More information about the special federalism issue can be found on the College of Law Web site at www.willamette.edu/wucl/lawreview/.
LAW & GOVERNMENT
Laboratories of Democracy: Federalism and State Independency