State-Federal Judicial Relationships: A Report from the Trenches

Ellen A. Peters
1992 Virginia law review  
9rHE organizers of the National Conference on State-Federal Judicial X Relationships presented the conference participants with a dual-track learning experience to acquaint them with the issues confronting dual sovereignty in the late twentieth century. Throughout the meeting days, the conferees heard a substantial number of formal presentations and commentaries, many reprinted elsewhere in this issue of the Virginia Law Review, about the strengths and weaknesses of state and federal judicial
more » ... federal judicial interactions. On several occasions the conferees themselves met in small group sessions designed to elicit dialogue and programmatic suggestions for improving state-federal relations. Fifteen small groups engaged in spirited discussions under the leadership of gifted facilitators, 1 who encouraged widespread participation while focusing attention on a goal-directed agenda. The undertakings of the small groups were recorded by diligent reporters 2 whose work product was assembled by three chief reporters. On the final day of the conference, each of the three chief reporters presented an overview of the activities of the small group sessions. Professor Paul D. Carrington, the Harry Chadwick Professor of Law at Duke University School of Law, placed the discussions into a broad frame of reference, emphasizing the need for effective, healthy judicial institutions that generate trust and confidence. He observed that state courts labor under chronic funding disadvantages that have been exacerbated by the burgeoning demands of such global concerns as the drug crisis. Judge J. Clifford Wallace, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, described and summarized small group discussions insofar as they focused on the strategic structural role of state-federal councils. Such councils, at a local, state, and national level, have helped to foster a climate of cooperation rather than competition between our two court systems. My responsibility was to present an overview of the remaining work product of the small groups, to identify the controversies that were the focal points of small group discussions, and to summarize the concrete solutions that * Ellen A. Peters is Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Connecticut. Before becoming a judge, she was a member of the faculty of the Yale Law School for twenty-two years. I The facilitators were state and federal appellate and trial judges and court administrators.
doi:10.2307/1073438 fatcat:otfieami35bjlngzlux6dbrdbm