State Seal Issue Survey

Student Handout E

  • Outline the frame work for state government
  • Assign and limit power
  • Assign the manner in which government carries out its functions
  • Establish safeguards to protect personal property and rights.

Seven Foundations for a State Constitution

One of Florida's most respected lawyers (and later President of the American Bar Association 1973-74), Chesterfield H. Smith, Chaired the Constitution Revision Commission which drafted the 1968 Constitution. He listed these seven foundations for a good state constitution:

  • Consistency with the U.S. Constitution
  • A Bill of Rights
  • Sound balance of powers among the various branches of government
  • Clear expression and provision for ample authority of each branch to perform its functions
  • Clear, simple language intelligible to the average citizen
  • Fundamental law of the state only, with more detailed measures in statutory law
  • Grant of power to citizens to amend the constitution without interference from the Legislature or Governor

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