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Contingent Constitutionalism: State and Local Criminal Laws and the Applicability of Federal Constitutional Rights


Wayne A. Logan


Florida State University - College of Law

September 29, 2009

William & Mary Law Review, Vol. 51, pp. 143-182, 2009
FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 397

Abstract:     
Americans have long been bound by a shared sense of constitutional commonality, and the Supreme Court has repeatedly condemned the notion that federal constitutional rights should be allowed to depend on distinct state and local legal norms. In reality, however, federal rights do indeed vary, and they do so as a result of their contingent relationship to the diversity of state and local laws on which they rely. Focusing on criminal procedure rights in particular, this Article examines the benefits and detriments of constitutional contingency, and casts in new light many enduring understandings of American constitutionalism, including the effects of incorporation doctrine and the nation’s mythic sense of shared constitutional commitment.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

Keywords: federalism, fourth amendment, incorporation doctrine, rights, individual liberties

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Date posted: October 1, 2009 ; Last revised: October 18, 2009

Suggested Citation

Logan, Wayne A., Contingent Constitutionalism: State and Local Criminal Laws and the Applicability of Federal Constitutional Rights (September 29, 2009). William & Mary Law Review, Vol. 51, pp. 143-182, 2009; FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 397. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1480415

Contact Information

Wayne A. Logan (Contact Author)
Florida State University - College of Law ( email )
425 W. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States
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