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The Law of American State Constitutions

Robert F. Williams


This book provides complete coverage of American State Constitutional Law. It contrasts the more familiar federal Constitution and explains the importance of the differences. The book then surveys the state constitutions put in place before the adoption of the federal Constitution, together with their influences on the development of the federal Constitution. Next, it describes the broad outlines of state constitutions' evolution over the centuries, as well as the limits placed on state constitutions by federal law. Next, the book covers the growth of the New Judicial Federalism (state constitutions providing, or being interpreted to provide, more protective rights than the federal Constitution). This includes a variety of methodology issues arising in cases raising both federal and state constitutional rights arguments, such as the sequencing of arguments and development of criteria for recognizing rights beyond the federal minimum standards. The technique of interpreting state constitutional rights in “lockstep” with federal rights is analyzed and criticized. State constitutional separation or distribution of powers is discussed and contrasted with the federal doctrines. The book then explains and illustrates the unique features of each of the three branches of state governments. The book analyzes the specialized techniques of judicial interpretation applied to state constitutions. Finally, it surveys the mechanisms of state constitutional amendment and revision, together with the extensive judicial involvement in these processes.

Bibliographic Information

Robert F. Williams, author

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