Report of the Conference of Chief Justices on Federal-State Relationships (August 23, 1958)
REPORT OF THE CONFERENCE OF CHIEF JUSTICES ON FEDERAL-STATE RELATIONSHIPS (August 23, 1958)
By the late 1950s resentment grew among many state officials over the Supreme Court's increasing monitoring of state policies and activities. The Conference of State Chief Justices, with Southerners among the prime movers, issued a long critique of the Supreme Court's rulings, condemning the body's activism, "policy making," and departures from stare decisis. The report chiefly criticized the Court for: increasing national power at the expense of the states through the use of the general welfare clause, federal grants-in-aid, and the doctrine of preemption; and curtailing state authority in state legislative investigations, public employment, admission to the bar, and administration of the criminal law. The report called for rebuilding a strong federalism; the Court's curtailment of its own policymaking; and restoration of the "great principle of distribution of powers among the various branches of government and between levels of government—the crucial base of our democracy." Court defenders responded by pointing to the need for uniform national constitutional standards, particularly in the civil rights area, maintaining the "democracy" of judicial review.
Paul L. Murphy
Pritchett, C. Herman 1961 Congress versus the Supreme Court, 1957–1961. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.