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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law [MPECCoL]

State Action Doctrine

United States [us]

Stephan Jaggi

Subject(s):
US constitutional history — Constitutional interpretation — Bills of rights — Individual rights — State sovereignty and states' rights

Published under the direction of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law.
General Editors: Rainer Grote, Frauke Lachenmann, Rüdiger Wolfrum.

1. The state action doctrine of the Supreme Court of the United States (‘Court’) formulates a seemingly simple principle: the US Constitution in general, and its individual rights in particular, apply only to state action, not to private action. State action, as a matter of principle, is all government action, ie action by the executive, legislature, and judiciary at the state and federal level; private action is all non-government action. The principle’s practical result is that, regardless of how strongly an activity protected as a recognized individual right...
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