Federalism Education Requirements for Public Attorneys

Federalism Education Requirements for Public Attorneys

Federalism Education Requirements for Public Attorneys

Whereas, the High Court has reiterated time and again that the sovereignty, jurisdiction, and even the supremacy of the States in their constitutional spheres is essential to the balance between State and Federal governing partners; and

Whereas, Coleman v. Thompson observes that “the Constitution divides authority between federal and state governments for the protection of individuals … [and that] federalism secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power” and

Whereas, just last year the United States Supreme Court admonished in NFIB v. Sebelius, “The independent power of the States serves as a check on the power of the federal government” and “States are separate and independent sovereigns. Sometimes they have to act like it.”

Whereas, legislators, executive branch officers, and local government officials attempting to exert any check upon federal government actions, are frequently stopped by well-intentioned public attorneys who seem to lack a thorough understanding or appreciation of the rights, powers, authorities and jurisdiction of the “separate and independent sovereign” State, or subdivisions thereof which they are charged with representing; and

Whereas, Thomas Jefferson admonished “it must be done by the states themselves, erecting such barriers at the constitutional line as cannot be surmounted either by themselves or by the general government;” and

Whereas, it is imperative that attorneys who represent “separate and independent sovereign” States and their subdivisions have a clear understanding of the jurisdiction, rights, powers and authorities of the States as well as the fundamental principles of federalism;

Therefore be it resolved that the state of [INSERT STATE] establish a continuing legal education program for public attorneys to help ensure that they will have a comprehensive understanding of the foundational constitutional principle that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution … are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors January 9, 2014.