Slaying the Dying Dragon of State Sovereignty - a Review of John T. Noonan's Narrowing the Nation's Power: The Supreme Court Sides with the States
48 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2004
Date Written: February 5, 2004
This reviews Judge John T. Noonan's Narrowing the Nation's Power: The Supreme Court Sides With the States. Judge Noonan's book criticizes City of Boerne v. Flores and five later cases in which the Court narrowly construes Congress's power to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment. Judge Noonan compares the Boerne line of cases to Dred Scott v. Sandford and contends that it poses a present danger to the exercise of democratic government. Some prior commentary has found Judge Noonan's legal analysis flawed, while other commentary has praised the book for publicizing the esoteric but important recent case law on federalism. This review explores the connection between the book's flawed legal analysis, on the one hand, and its potential strongly to influence public opinion, on the other hand. In short, the flaws in Noonan's legal analysis stem from his effort to depict the Boerne line of cases as the bastard spawn of the Rehnquist Court, with which he must do knightly battle to liberate our beleaguered democracy.
Keywords: State sovereignty, sovereign immunity, constitutional law
JEL Classification: K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation