State Constitutional Law in the New Deal Period

20 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2015

See all articles by Keith E. Whittington

Keith E. Whittington

Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 13, 2015

Abstract

The 1930s is generally understood to be a period of constitutional revolution in the United States, with a restrictive conservative U.S. Supreme Court giving way to a latitudinarian liberal Court. The politics of judicial review and the substance of constitutional law in the states has rarely been considered. This article begins to integrate the states into the broader story of American constitutional development in these pivotal years. Focusing on a sample of four state courts between 1925 and 1945, this article argues that the U.S. Supreme Court and the struggle over federal constitutional law may have been more idiosyncratic and exceptional than typical of the constitutional politics of the period. Judicial review in the state courts and the elaboration of state-level constitutional law are characterized by continuity rather than transformation during this period. State courts were able to routinely use the power of judicial review to invalidate legislation across this time period, but they rarely found themselves obstructing the core policies being advanced by the other parts of the state governments.

Keywords: judicial review, states, constitutional law, constitutional development, New Deal

Suggested Citation

Whittington, Keith E., State Constitutional Law in the New Deal Period (April 13, 2015). Rutgers Law Journal Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2593641 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2593641

Keith E. Whittington (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States
609-258-3453 (Phone)
609-258-1110 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~kewhitt/

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