New Preamble and New Rights Article for the New York Constitution

40 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2012 Last revised: 16 Feb 2019

Date Written: February 15, 2019

Abstract

Each state constitution has more words than does the United States Constitution. The original text of the latter, excluding signatures, plus amendments, have about 7,600 words.
The Vermont Constitution is the shortest state constitution. It has about 8,300 words. The longest state constitution, that of Alabama, has somewhat more than 357,000 words.
In that context, the New York Constitution is middle rank. It has about 49,300 words.
This essay proposes an increase in the number of words in the Preamble from 26 to 79, and a decrease in the number of words in article I (Bill of Rights), from 2,389 to 1,410, a saving of 979 words.
Substantive proposed additions include a provision which:

• Clarifies that the prerogative writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum (which is a right, not a privilege) may not be suspended or impaired (revised section 4).

• Undoes the harm caused by the New York equivalents of Kelo v. City of New London (revised section 9).

• Prohibits a cap on non-economic damage (revised section 15).

• Guarantees the right to buy, to keep, and to bear firearms (revised section 17).

• Expresses retention and reservation of unenumerated rights (revised section 18).

Substantive proposed removals include subjects which do not belong among guarantees of rights, such as legislative divorces and gambling.

Other SSRN essays about revision of the New York Constitution are:

New Suffrage Article for the New York Constitution
New Legislature Article for the New York Constitution
New Executive Article for the New York Constitution
New Officers and Civil Departments Article for the New York Constitution
New Judiciary Article for the New York Constitution
New Local Governments Article for the New York Constitution
Eight New Articles for the New York Constitution

Keywords: common law, Court of Appeals, eminent domain, Federalists, Goldstein, Kaur, Marshall, publican, Second Amendment, Supreme Court, 1777, 1821, 1846, 1894, 1938

JEL Classification: K10, K40

Suggested Citation

Kruger, Stephen, New Preamble and New Rights Article for the New York Constitution (February 15, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2126494 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2126494

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