Boston University Law Review, Vol. 71, No. 4 (July 1991), pp. 609-644


Whether there is parity between federal and state courts has become a central question in the law of federal courts, dividing judges and commentators into two well-defined camps. Although the issue rarely arose thirty years ago, it now enters into virtually every discussion of the rules concerning access to federal court for constitutional claims. On one side of the debate, advocates of broad federal jurisdiction over constitutional challenges to state action claim that federal courts are better than state courts at adjudicating these controversies. On the other side, advocates of state court jurisdiction insist that state courts are fully adequate to enforce constitutional rights. Both sides agree, however, that the existence of parity between the two systems is the critical issue on which the proper balance of judicial power between state and federal courts turns.