State Constitutional Restrictions on Special Legislation as Structural Restraints

57 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2014

See all articles by Anthony B. Schutz

Anthony B. Schutz

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - College of Law

Date Written: April 1, 2014

Abstract

State constitutional restrictions on special legislation are common to nearly every state constitution. Modern interpretations of these provisions appear to protect individual rights to equal treatment. This article argues that these interpretations are wrong or, at least, the case law is largely misunderstood. Rather, an examination of these provisions’ history and texts reveals that these provisions solve important structural problems that arise within state legislatures and shift a great deal of governmental power from the legislative chamber to the judiciary and executive branches. This understanding reveals that most special-legislation doctrine implements a concern for legislative evasion, rather than a concern for individual rights. It also reveals a number of doctrinal reforms that would make future case law more consistent with the text of these provisions.

Keywords: state constitutional law, special legislation, separation of powers

Suggested Citation

Schutz, Anthony B., State Constitutional Restrictions on Special Legislation as Structural Restraints (April 1, 2014). Journal of Legislation, Vol. 40, No. 1, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2506769

Anthony B. Schutz (Contact Author)

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - College of Law ( email )

103 McCollum Hall
P.O. Box 830902
Lincoln, NE 68583-0902
United States

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