Title:The Upside-Down Constitution
Paperback Dimensions:9.2 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
- 528 Paperback pages
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Conservative pundits and politicians have long advocated "federalism" and "devolution" as remedies for the ill effects of an overbearing, meddlesome government. However, excessive centralization in some dimensions has gone hand-in-hand with excessive decentralization in others. Witness mounting state debts and bets on federal bailouts, state attorneys general on the prowl against national industries and trial lawyers' class actions in "hellhole" jurisdictions. The problem, Michael Greve argues in his provocative new book, "The Upside-Down Constitution," is not too little federalism but the wrong kind of federalism. Constitutional federalism institutionalizes competition among states, the better to discipline politics. Our contemporary federalism operates on the opposite principle--pervasive state cartels, for the purpose of facilitating interest group politics and exploitation. More federalism of that kind means more fiscal profligacy and political irresponsibility.
In exploring federalism's pathologies, Greve takes aim both at the New Deal's progressive heirs (who champion upside-down federalism) and at the advocates of clause-bound "originalist" constitutional interpretation. The financial crisis will compel a painful renegotiation of the country's federalism arrangements. "The Upside-Down Constitution" argues that a reorientation toward constitutional forms and arrangements will require a wholesale reformulation of conservative jurisprudence.