Assessing the State of State Constitutionalism

18 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2011 Last revised: 14 Mar 2011

See all articles by Jim Rossi

Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Date Written: March 2, 2011


State constitutions are terribly important legal documents, but their interpretation is remarkably understudied (and, of course, highly undertheorized) in the academic literature. This review essay discusses Robert Williams’s welcome new book, The Law of American State Constitutions (Oxford University Press, 2009). After summarizing the content of Williams’s book, it discusses the normative significance of his work, focusing especially on his discussion of independent state constitutions and the positive theory of interpretation he advances. The essay concludes by highlighting some areas where the field of state constitutional law is in need of further advancement, including research that positions state constitutions within federalism and engages in serious institutional analysis.

Keywords: State Constitutions, Federalism, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Interpretation

Suggested Citation

Rossi, Jim, Assessing the State of State Constitutionalism (March 2, 2011). Michigan Law Review, Vol. 109, 2011, FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 487, FSU College of Law, Law, Business & Economics Paper No. 11-3, Available at SSRN:

Jim Rossi (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

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Nashville, TN 37203-5724
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6153436620 (Phone)

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