Constitutional Collectivism and Ex-Offender Residence Exclusion Zones

41 Pages Posted: 19 May 2006

See all articles by Wayne A. Logan

Wayne A. Logan

Florida State University - College of Law


The U.S. has often been imperiled by the competing interests of individual states, and while past threats have most frequently assumed economic or political form, this article addresses a different threat: state efforts to limit where ex-offenders (those convicted of sex crimes in particular) can live. The laws have thus far withstood constitutional challenge, with courts deferring to the police power of states. This deference, however, ignores the negative externalities created when states jettison their human dross, and defies Justice Cardozo's oft-repeated constitutional tenet that the "the peoples of the several states must sink or swim together." The article discusses the continued need for this tenet in the face of state expulsionist tendencies and invokes in support the Court's decisions invalidating state laws barring entry of the poor and solid waste. In both instances, the Court, while acknowledging the exigencies motivating states, invalidated the laws because they betrayed the national imperative of dealing with challenges faced by all states. As the article establishes, a kindred understanding and resolve is now necessary as states seek to isolate themselves from the shared national responsibility of offender reentry.

Keywords: sex offender, reentry, dormant commerce clause, buffer zone, registration

JEL Classification: K14, Z13

Suggested Citation

Logan, Wayne A., Constitutional Collectivism and Ex-Offender Residence Exclusion Zones. Iowa Law Review, Vol. 92, p. 1, 2007, FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 231, William Mitchell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 48, Available at SSRN:

Wayne A. Logan (Contact Author)

Florida State University - College of Law ( email )

425 W. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States

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