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Richard Adelstein


College of Social Studies


English (United States)


This is a thesis about happens when state governments and their citizens disagree with a federal law and what political and constitutional tools are available for them to fight back. It will explore critical moments in the history of state resistance to demonstrate why political localism and the decentralization of constitutional authority should be encouraged as healthy features of our democratic system. It will also serve as a lens to contextualize dissent at the state and local level during the nascent days of the Trump Administration, where conflict between different levels of government has reached a fever pitch that starkly resembles some of the most heated battles of the past over the respective roles of the federal government and the states in resolving constitutional and political disputes.



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