State Constitutional Law

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
MON, WED 2:30 - 3:45 pm TNH 2.123

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


State constitutional law is often overlooked, understudied, or neglected in the traditional law school curriculum. As the Conference of Chief Justices noted, "being a competent and effective lawyer requires the understanding of both the federal Constitution and state constitutional law." Recent decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, modern executive branch actions, and contemporary legislation and their effects on domestic legal systems indicate that questions of state constitutional law may be moving to the forefront.

This course examines the nature, significance, and relevance of state constitutional law in the United States. Addressing both institutional structures and individual rights, the course considers the design, ratification, and amendment of state constitutions; their interpretation and application by state legislators, the multiple executive, and elected judges; and their use by lawyers and courts in protecting guarantees of liberty and property rights, including an examination of questions concerning when and how state constitutions may recognize rights that remain unrecognized by the Supreme Court. A student completing the course will understand and appreciate the role of state constitutions and how, to borrow from Justice Brennan, "the composite work of the courts of the fifty states probably has greater significance in measuring how well America attains the ideal of equal justice for all."

Textbooks ( * denotes required )

State Constitutional Law : Cases and Materials *
Williams, Robert F. and Friedman, Lawrence
Carolina Academic Press , edition: 5
ISBN: 978-1-63043-586-8


Log In to View Course Evaluations

Important Class Changes

Date Updated
03/02/2023 Meeting times changed