State Constitutional Law (3 credits)

As the Supreme Court becomes ever stingier in its interpretation of federal constitutional rights and powers, state constitutions become ever more important as the organizing charters for the exercise of American government power. This course introduces students to the largely neglected area of state constitutional law. We will approach the subject from both a comparative and integrated perspective by examining how state constitutions differ from the federal constitution, and how they fit into the larger power distribution system of federalism. Significant attention will also be devoted to the proper methodology for interpreting state constitutions. The course is primarily a survey course addressing the constitutional law of American states; however, the course will conclude with a short unit focusing on some highlights of Florida constitutional law. Some prior study of federal constitutional rights is desirable, but not required.