Ratifying Kyoto at the Local Level: Sovereigntism, Federalism, and Translocal Organizations of Government Actors (TOGAS)

This Article addresses the problem of how to conceptualize the federalism grid, often depicted on two dimensions, horizontal and vertical. Our interest is in the growth and significance of translocal organizations of government actors (TOGAs)—such as the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Governors Association—and their role in the importation and exportation of law across national boundaries, and specifically, their activism regarding climate change. In addition to examining how TOGAs shape law and policy in ways that criss-cross a two-dimensional grid and undercut claims of the exclusivity of certain issues as either “national” or “local,” we consider the legitimacy, from federalist perspectives, of the particular form of aggregate political capital created by TOGAs. Our assessment is that TOGAs forward some, but not all, federalist virtues. We also explore the ways in which law has and can respond to TOGAs. Because we see TOGAs as generative, we argue that special forms of legal status should be accorded to these configurations.