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The Supreme Court, Federalism, and Social Policy: The New Judicial Activism

Lens, Vicki A.

The Supreme Court is entering a new era, discarding long‐standing legal doctrines to reshape the relationship between the states and the federal government. Paralleling trends in the legislative and executive branches of government, the Court is constructing its own version of devolution. Through a reinterpretation of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which is the anchor for many of our civil rights and social welfare laws, the Court has severely curtailed the power of the federal government to enact progressive legislation. This article provides an overview of this new judicial doctrine and discusses its implications for social welfare policy.

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Social Service Review

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Social Work
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October 16, 2012
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