Dual Enforcement of Constitutional Norms


FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 407

21 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2009 Last revised: 16 Dec 2009

See all articles by James A. Gardner

James A. Gardner

University at Buffalo Law School

Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 14, 2009


Not so very long ago, the story of American constitutional law was easy to understand and even easier to relate. Constitutional law was a story written by two actors: the framers of the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Constitution provided the content of constitutional law and a Supreme Court told us what it meant. Today, this master narrative has begun to unravel in favor of new one that treats constitutional law as both the object and the venue of a plural and often remarkably inclusive ongoing conversation about the norms by which we live and govern ourselves. The U.S. Supreme Court remains, to be sure, an important and in many ways preeminent voice in the formal pronunciation of American constitutional law. But increasingly the Court is understood to share the stage with a plurality of other voices that speak together - sometimes cooperatively, sometimes competitively - in a collective enterprise of generating, elaborating, and ultimately applying and enforcing constitutional norms.

This paper, which comprises the introductory chapter of Dual Enforcement of Constitutional Norms: New Frontiers of State Constitutional Law (James A. Gardner and Jim Rossi, eds., Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2010), lays out the book’s principal thesis. Rejecting both the old dual federalism and the newer judicial federalism models, the contributors to this volume understand the generation, development, interpretation, and enforcement of constitutional norms at the national and state levels to be best conceived as constituent activities of a single, collective enterprise conducted by many actors located in many sites scattered throughout the system. The chapters of Dual Enforcement thus present a conception of national and subnational constitutional law as complementary partners in a complex, collective enterprise of constitutional self-governance, and our aim for the book is to advance an understanding of state constitutions in the broader inter-institutional process of constitutional dialogue.

Keywords: federalism, state constitutions, state constitutional law, state courts, dialogic

Suggested Citation

Gardner, James A. and Rossi, Jim, Dual Enforcement of Constitutional Norms (October 14, 2009). NEW FRONTIERS OF STATE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, Oxford University Press, 2010, FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 407, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1488935

James A. Gardner (Contact Author)

University at Buffalo Law School ( email )

Room 514, O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States
716-645-3607 (Phone)
716-645-2064 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.buffalo.edu

Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203-5724
United States
6153436620 (Phone)

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