The New Frontier of State Constitutional Law
14 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2004
In the past decade, a new frontier of constitutional discourse has begun to emerge, adding a fresh perspective to state constitutional law. Instead of treating states as jurisdictional islands in a sea under reign of the federal government, this new approach sees states as co-equals among themselves and between them and the federal government in a collective enterprise of democratic self-governance. This Symposium, organized around the theme of Dual Enforcement of Constitutional Norms, provides the occasion for leading scholars on state constitutional law to take a fresh look at their subject by adopting a vantage point outside of the individualized jurisdictional context. Instead, the Symposium invited participants to consider directly whether state and federal constitutional law are separate and distinct systems of law, each with its own doctrines, traditions, and dominant norms, or whether state and federal constitutional law may profitably be understood as complementary features of a shared project of elaborating and enforcing shared constitutional norms. The Articles in this issue lie along what we hope will prove to be a new frontier that moves courts and scholars closer to a sustainable interpretive theory of state constitutions, shedding important light on the role of state courts, while also addressing the federal judicial role in a system of dual enforcement.
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