McGeorge School of Law

Wallace Cites Costs In Growth Of Federal Criminal Authority

November 19, 2009

Clifford Wallace, a senior judge on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, spoke on "The Federalization of Crime" on November 18, 2009, at McGeorge.

Wallace, who served as the Ninth Circuit's chief judge from 1991-96, gave an overview of the growth of central government power since the Civil War, emphasizing the tenuous connection to the commerce clause from which federal authority extends.

"Now states, which are strapped for money, are more than willing to let the federal courts handle more and more crime," Wallace said. "It's become a matter of cost, rather than an argument over states' rights and the constitutional limits of federal authority."

Wallace's lecture, sponsored by the McGeorge Federalist Society, capped off a month of appearances by prominent visitors to the campus. Former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese spoke on the "The Evolution of National Security and the Separation of Powers" on November 4. Dr. Amerish Bera, former chief medical officer for Sacramento County, spoke on "Health Care Internationally" on November 9 at an event sponsored by the World Affairs Council.