Many say — with alarm or delight, depending on who’s talking — that a federalism revival is sweeping through constitutional law, courtesy of a narrow U.S. Supreme Court majority. Maybe so. The recent string of decisions shoring up states’ sovereign immunity certainly suggests as much. But there’s federalism, and then there’s federalism. What kind is the Rehnquist Court reviving now?

Most federalism-watchers are hoping for clues from United States v. Morrison, Nos. 99-5 and 99-29 — a commerce clause challenge to certain provisions of the Violence Against Women Act. But two wallflowers in this term’s blockbuster docket, Jones v. United States, 99-5739, and Fischer v. United States, 99-116, could provide more of an answer.

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