The California State Constitution

The California State Constitution

The California State Constitution

The California State Constitution

Synopsis

The California Constitution is one of the longest in the world and has been revised over 500 times since its original drafting in 1849. In its current incarnation, the constitution reflects the state's mistrust of elected officials, gives cities and towns broad home rule powers, and outlines governance for the state's university system. The California State Constitution provides an outstanding constitutional and historical account of the state's basic governing charter. In addition to an overview of California's constitutional history, it offers an in-depth, section-by-section analysis of the entire constitution, detailing the many significant changes that have been made since its initial drafting in 1849. This treatment, along with a table of cases, index, and the bibliography provides an unsurpassed reference guide for students, scholars, and practitioners of California's constitution. The second edition updates and expands the previous edition published in 1993. The book provides new analysis, with citations to court decisions and relevant scholarly commentary, as well as accompanying explanations and a lengthy introduction to provide historical and thematic context. This new edition also contains a foreword by the current Chief Justice of California, Tani Cantil-Sakauye. The Oxford Commentaries on the State Constitutions of the United States is an important series that reflects a renewed international interest in constitutional history and provides expert insight into each of the 50 state constitutions. Each volume in this innovative series contains a historical overview of the state's constitutional development, a section-by-section analysis of its current constitution, and a comprehensive guide to further research. Under the expert editorship of Professor G. Alan Tarr, Director of the Center on State Constitutional Studies at Rutgers University, this series provides essential reference tools for understanding state constitutional law. Books in the series can be purchased individually or as part of a complete set, giving readers unmatched access to these important political documents.

Excerpt

This second edition of The California State Constitution is a much anticipated and very welcome addition to the arsenal of reference materials available not only to the courts and attorneys but also to the public interested in the governance of California. in the more than two decades since the first edition was published, there have been noteworthy and controversial changes in the provisions of the California Constitution itself as well as significant developments in the appellate case law interpreting and applying our state constitution in a great variety of settings and circumstances. the updated section-by-section review and analysis of the California Constitution set forth in this edition will afford invaluable guidance as new circumstances and controversies arise, presenting issues that may bring into play the provisions of our state constitution.

As former Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas noted in his foreword to the first edition of this treatise, one of the key overarching issues that courts frequently face when called upon to interpret and apply the provisions of the California Constitution is the appropriate relationship between the provisions of the state constitution and the provisions of the federal Constitution. As a historical matter, of course, state constitutions of the original states predated the adoption of the federal Constitution. Furthermore, when the California Constitution was first drafted and adopted in 1849, the provisions of the state constitutional Declaration of Rights were the only source of protection for the populace from overreaching actions of the state government. There was no other protection because at that time the federal Bill of Rights applied to and limited only the actions of the federal government, not the states. Accordingly, a number of early California Supreme Court decisions recognized that the California Constitution is a document of independent force and that its provisions, even when linguistically similar or identical to provisions of the federal Constitution, need not necessarily be interpreted to bear the same meaning that the U.S. Supreme Court had given to an analogous federal constitutional provision. Nevertheless, for many years California Supreme Court decisions, in interpreting the state constitution, generally deferred to the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of similar provisions of the federal Constitution, particularly in settings where the federal constitutional jurisprudence was more developed than the parallel state constitutional provision. Over the past several decades, however, the California Supreme Court has demonstrated a renewed appreciation of the truly independent nature of the California Constitution and an increased willingness to examine and analyze both the distinct origins of state constitutional provisions and the manner in which those provisions . . .

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