State Constitutionalism and Modern Governance: What’s the Big Idea?
Thursday, April 19, 2007, 6:00 p.m.
Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre
DANIEL B. RODRIGUEZ
Warren Distinguished Professor of Law,
University of San Diego School of Law
Gay marriage . . . property rights and the police power . . . education finance . . . State constitutional law is a hot topic these days. Lawyers increasingly turn to state constitutions as sources of protections for individual rights unprotected or under protected by the federal Constitution. Moreover, state constitutions provide frameworks for the exercise of the power at the state and local level, frameworks which are only loosely, if at all, tethered to federal constitutional rules, practices, or expectations. The emergence of state constitutional law as a significant locus of American public law has been noted for the past three decades or so by a disparate range of federal and state judges and by an eclectic group of legal scholars. More recently, interest in state constitutional law has accelerated as federal courts have curtailed rights protections in key areas and, more generally, as the Supreme Court has crafted a new federalism.
In the shadow of these and other developments, Professor Rodriguez will explore the underlying principles of state constitutionalism and, in doing so, wanders into the enduring debate over the nature and scope of American constitutionalism more generally. The differences between federal and state constitutional theory are real, not illusory. There are, Professor Rodriguez will argue, distinct governance objectives, mirrored by rather unusual intra-state rules and procedures which, when better understood, point toward a new theory of state constitutionalism and state constitutional law in the modern United States.
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The USD School of Law is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider and certifies that this activity is approved for one hour of general credit.