Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1588082
 


 



The State Action Principle and its Critics


John C. Harrison


University of Virginia School of Law

Lillian Riemer BeVier


University of Virginia School of Law

April 12, 2010

Virginia Law Review, Forthcoming
Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2010-18

Abstract:     
The article is an entry in a long-standing debate concerning the soundness of the state action principle in American constitutional law. According to that principle, exercises of private rights by private people are not subject to the constitutional rules that apply to the government, even though those private decisions are supported by the government's coercive power. For many decades, some scholars have argued that the principle is irrational and also inconsistent with the purpose of some of the constitutional norms that it limits, such as the First Amendment. The article defends the principle from its critics, a group that includes a number of important contemporary constitutional theorists. We maintain that the state action principle is a reasonable implementation of the Constitution's basic distinction between public and private decision makers, and that it is consistent with a plausible and we think persuasive, understanding of the particular constitutional rules that the critics maintain the state action principle arbitrarily limits.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 41

Keywords: State Action, Shelley v. Kramer, Marsh v. Alabama

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Date posted: April 13, 2010 ; Last revised: April 18, 2010

Suggested Citation

Harrison, John C. and BeVier, Lillian Riemer, The State Action Principle and its Critics (April 12, 2010). Virginia Law Review, Forthcoming; Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2010-18. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1588082

Contact Information

John C. Harrison (Contact Author)
University of Virginia School of Law ( email )
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Lillian Riemer BeVier
University of Virginia School of Law ( email )
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
804-924-3132 (Phone)
804-924-7536 (Fax)

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