State Constitutional Law is designed to provide the basis for a lively and exciting two- or three-credit course in an area of law that has become increasingly important to a variety of law practices. Now, more than ever, lawyers, judges and law professors are discovering the importance of state constitutions and the judicial interpretations of these constitutions. A major focus of the book is the substantial differences between detailed the state constitutions and the more-familiar brief federal constitution that was the focus of the students' Constitutional Law course.
The new edition of State Constitutional Law follows the basic structure and philosophy of earlier editions. The text explores the many common themes that appear in the body of constitutional law of all states, but also focuses on the importance of the unique history, language and judicial understanding of each state's constitution in resolving particular issues, including the political context in which state constitutions have evolved; the popular participation in the processes of state constitutional change; the individual rights provisions that have no federal parallel; the wide range of policy matters that are entrenched in state constitutions rather than ordinary statutes, and the motivations for using this unusual method of "lawmaking"; the roles of each of the departments of state government and the way in which separation of powers doctrines may operate quite differently at the state level; and the variety of processes, including judicial review, of state constitutional change and amendment. Major elements of state constitutional law such as education, local government and finance and taxation are accorded separate chapters.
In addition, State Constitutional Law remains an important one-volume resource for practitioners and academics on virtually all aspects of American state constitutions. Among the changes in the new edition are:
- Extended discussion of the issue of same-sex marriage under state constitutions;
- Revised and expanded discussion of issues concerning the federal-state relationship;
- Updated cases and scholarly commentary on individual rights and separation of powers issues;
- Expanded focus on state constitutional positive rights, in contrast to the federal constitution's negative rights;
- New and revised Notes and Questions in nearly every section of the book.