This course explores some of the fundamentally different ways in which state constitutional doctrine law is developed, applied, and interpreted. We will look at the historic origins of state constitutions; how and why they have developed differently from the federal model; and the particular content of state constitutions. The course will focus on the interpretive devices used when dealing with state constitutions, and much of the substantive content of the course will involve the expansion of state constitutional rights in an era of shrinking federal constitutional rights.
The course will not be entirely "rights-based," and may cover other state constitutional issues such as the structure of state government, local government, state taxation, spending and borrowing, and the process of state constitutional amendment. There is a good deal of flexibility in the materials, and enrolling students will have some say with respect to both the content of the course and the teaching method. The course will, in any event, require a substantial paper.