I examine the relationship between judicial federalism and state-level representation. I develop a framework in which federal courts establish a federal “floor” in a policy area, thus creating an asymmetry—states with lower levels of policy must shift policy to the floor, whereas states with higher levels of policy above the floor are unaffected. I use the framework to recast the “countermajoritarian difficulty” as an issue of federalism. To illustrate the framework, I present a quantitative analysis of the legalization of same-sex marriage in all 50 states, using data on public opinion, federal and state judicial decisions, and state-level policy.
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