Changing Roles: The Supreme Court and the State High Courts in Safeguarding Rights

14 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2008


This article decries the changed role of the Supreme Court in American national governance over the past quarter century. The traditional, cherished, loftiest role of the Court has historically been accepted as being the ultimate guardian of constitutional rights and liberties. For much of the 20th century, that especially meant requiring that state courts respected and protected those guarantees. In a dramatic and indisputable change in role, however, the Court today functions largely to insure that state courts do not protect those constitutional rights and liberties too much. Professor Vincent M. Bonventre demonstrates this clear - but seemingly underappreciated - reversal of dynamics between the Supreme Court and state high courts through illustrative cases which epitomize, respectively, the historical and the current state of Supreme Court constitutional jurisprudence.

Keywords: Supreme Court, judicial federalism, constitutional law, civil rights and liberties, state courts, Burger Court, Rehnquist Court, Roberts Court

Suggested Citation

Bonventre, Vincent Martin, Changing Roles: The Supreme Court and the State High Courts in Safeguarding Rights. Albany Law Review, Vol. 70, No. 841, 2007, Available at SSRN:

Vincent Martin Bonventre (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States


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