Social Policy Fuels Push for Renewed Federalism

States want more autonomy, less command, from D.C.


When the Supreme Court convenes to hear same-sex marriage arguments this spring, it will confront a landmark civil rights case with societal and constitutional implications that could reverberate for years to come.

But underlying the questions at stake will be even more far-reaching issues, ones that reflect the evolving relationships between Washington and the states and among the states themselves. In judging the rights of individuals to marry, the court could also wade into the very concept of states' rights, and what that idea means for a federal government increasingly under siege by state lawmakers across the country.