New Frontiers of State Constitutional Law: Dual Enforcement of Norms

14 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2011 Last revised: 9 Oct 2017

See all articles by James A. Gardner

James A. Gardner

University at Buffalo Law School

Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt University - Law School

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Date Written: January 13, 2011


This collection of essays projects a new vision for state constitutional law, reflecting a shift in legal thinking about the relationship between national and subnational systems of constitutional law. In addition to chapters by the editors, James Gardner and Jim Rossi, the collection includes chapters by Neal Devins, Helen Hershkoff, Jacob Levy, Daniel Rodriguez, Lawrence Sager, and Robert Schapiro.

Together the essays chart a new course that gives voice to a recent, rising chorus of dissent among scholars and judges – namely that national and subnational systems of constitutional law cannot be adequately understood in isolation from one another. To the contrary, they are linked in a web of jurisprudential, social, and pragmatic connections structured by the American system of federalism. Here, multiple layers of constitutional law function together in a complex, interdependent process in which constitutional norms are developed, articulated, and enforced.

These essays illuminate the role that state constitutions must play in any theory of federalism, and exemplify a fresh approach to state constitutionalism by discussing a range of issues, including recent debates regarding state constitutional protections for same-sex marriage. The entire work embraces the struggle between state and national power for dominance in American law and places both on equal ground. It contends that constitutional meaning in a federal system is never static and that it evolves over time.

In addition to covering methods of judicial review, it discusses the handling of constitutional claims by courts at the state and national level and closely examines the way that courts and constitutions protect individual rights and allocate governmental powers in a federal system.

Keywords: State Constitutional Law, Constitutional Interpretation, Federalism, Constitutional Rights, Judicial Review, Same-Sex Marriage, Separation of Power, State Action

Suggested Citation

Gardner, James A. and Rossi, Jim, New Frontiers of State Constitutional Law: Dual Enforcement of Norms (January 13, 2011). NEW FRONTIERS OF STATE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, Oxford University Press, 2011, FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 478, FSU College of Law, Law, Business & Economics Paper No. 11-1, Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-011 , Available at SSRN:

James A. Gardner

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)


Jim Rossi (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

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

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