July 10, 2006
Federalism & Preemption
A new SSRN paper by Alexandra Klass (U. of Minn.) has an interesting premise regarding the interplay of federal regulation and state common law:
Over the past several decades, the growth of federal statutes and the rise of the regulatory state have weakened and displaced state common law even in the absence of express or implied preemption. However, there is a strong theoretical and judicial foundation on which to argue that the existence of statutes, regulations, and the data they generate should be used to inform and develop state common law rather than overshadow or displace it. Moreover, in this current age of the “new federalism,” such progressive common law development at the state level may be particularly timely and appropriate. This article uses these principles to provide a new perspective on the evolution of environmental law from its common law beginnings, to the flurry of federal statutes and regulations beginning in the 1970s, to present-day state and local environmental protection initiatives, and to argue for increased emphasis on state common law in modern environmental protection efforts.
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