Ordered Liberty: A Constitutional History of New York

By Peter J. Galie | Go to book overview

binding on courts, they are entitled to due consideration. Moreover, a vast number of disputes are resolved by these opinions without their ever reaching the judiciary. The state attorney general is the major source of advisory opinions on the constitution. In some areas, such as conservation (Art. XIV), these opinions have played as great, if not greater, role than the courts in determining what types of actions are constitutionally permissible. The function of these opinions is to narrow the gap between state practice and constitutional requirements. In the areas of conservation and gambling, for example, the prime source of guidance for the state and its localities has been the opinions of the attorney general. Since these areas are seldom litigated, the attorney general's opinions help to insure that state practice bears a reasonable relationship to the requirements of the constitution.


NOTES
1.
Robert Connery and Gerald Benjamin, Rockefeller of New York, pp. 19-20. That position gave Rockefeller visability and familiarity with New York government and politics, both of which would be important factors in his successful run for the governorship in 1958.
2.
Laws of New York, 1956, Chap. 814.
3.
Temporary State Commission on the Constitutional Convention, First Interim Report, February 19, 1957. Leg. Doc. ( 1957) No. 8.
4.
Ibid., No. 57
5.
The Problem of Simplification of the Constitution, p. xiii.
6.
Annual Message to the Legislature, Legislative Annual, 1957, p. 408. More recently Governor Mario Cuomo, in his message to the legislature, January 1991, proposed a "limited legislative initiative" which would require legislative action on the petition. This measure would not apply to constitutional amendments, but would require an amendment to Article XIX, Sec. 1. Reflecting the antipathy toward such "populist measures" the Committee on State Constitution of the New York Bar Association opposed the measure. New York State Bar Association, Legislation Report 1991 No. 124, May 31, 1991.
7.
Application of Stewart 174 Misc. 902 affd 260 A.D. 979 ( 1940).
8.
Annual Message to the Legislature, January 9, 1957, Legislative Annual, 1957, pp. 406-407.
9.
Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1984, No. 84-Fl, pp. 14-16.
10.
See "Riverboat Gambling on the Hudson," The New York Times, May 29, 1994, pp. 13ff. "Comptroller's Report: Questions Benefits From Casino Gambling," The New York Times, April 3, 1994, I, p. 24.
11.
People v. Harris, 294 N.Y. 424 ( 1945).
12.
People v. Doyle, 286 A.D. 276, at 278 ( 1955).
13.
Report of the Joint-Legislative Committee to Make a Study of the Election law and Related Statutes, Leg. Doc. ( 1959) No. 57 pp. 22-23.
14.
People ex rel. Hotchkiss v. Smith, 206 N.Y. 231 ( 1912).
15.
See above, pp. 161-162.

-300-

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