New Frontiers in Federalism – Session 4: Reconfiguring Governance: Navigating the Red-Blue Divide in America


This fourth session in our New Frontiers of Federalism series builds on our three previous sessions this spring which examined federalism from a historical perspective and as applied to contemporary issues such as voting rights, corporate conduct and reproductive rights. This final session takes a deeper look at the clashes among governments at all levels and the increasing stress on our federal system as the need increases for nationwide solutions to problems affecting all Americans (such as climate change), and as specialized agencies dealing with those problems are themselves under attack.

The tension between a fully functional administrative state and various political actors at the federal, state and local levels is explored. How can our state and federal governments effectively manage the challenges of the 21st century when lines of their authority conflict or when agency decisions are subject to an all-powerful “unitary executive” with only limited judicial review? Is this a challenge inherent in our federal constitutional system which we must learn to accept? Were there lessons we should have absorbed from earlier in our history? Will states continue to defy the federal government, as Texas has in closing the Rio Grande River at Eagle Pass, and as Alabama has in defying the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act ruling on redistricting?  Our panel of expert speakers considers the issues affecting radical restructuring of the architecture of state and federal governments, as well as the role of courts in mediating these often conflicting claims of decision-making authority.

Robert Cusumano
, Member, Rule of Law Task Force

Professor Noah Rosenblum, 
NYU Law School
Professor Katrina Wyman
, NYU Law School
Professor Rick Su, University of North Carolina Law School

Sponsoring Committee:
Rule of Law Task Force, Marcy Kahn, Chair

Co-Sponsoring Committees:
Health Law, Debra L. Cohn, Chair
Sex and Law, Natalie R. Birnbaum and Susan E. Cersovsky, Co-Chairs
Election Law, Rachael Harding, Chair
Government Ethics and State Affairs, Mohammed Akber Alam and Gabriel A. Panek, Co-Chairs
Federal Courts, Richard Hong, Chair
Civil Rights, Evan Henley and Molly Thomas-Jensen, Co-Chairs

Co-Sponsoring Organizations:
Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Center at NYU Law School
The Brennan Center for Justice