Ordered Liberty: A Constitutional History of New York

By Peter J. Galie | Go to book overview

cratic participation and has produced an enlarged -- one could say hypertropic -- role for the Supreme Court in adjusting the document to the felt needs of the time. It may be possible to create more orderly and simple state constitutions; some states, e.g., Alaska, have done so, and some, e.g., Vermont, have managed to keep their documents under 10,000 words. Such successes, however, may be atypical.

State constitutions also differ from one another. Such differences, are a function of the peculiar traditions and history of each state. New York's constitution contains the residue of the major problems and public policy issues the state has faced over its 210 year history. To that history we now turn.


NOTES
1.
For similar criticisms see John Kincaid, "State Constitutions in a Federal System", Annals of the American Academy of Social and Political Science 496 ( March, 1988), pp. 12-15; and G. Allan Tarr, "Understanding State Constitutions", paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, August 30 -- September 2, 1990, p. 1.
2.
This borrowing at times has amounted to "unabashed plagiarism" ( G. Alan Tarr , "Understanding State Constitutions", p. 11).
3.
"The United States Constitution as an Incomplete Text", Intergovernmental Perspective 13 ( Spring, 1987), pp. 14ff.
4.
Albert Sturm and Janice May, "State Constitutions and Constitutional Revision: 1984-1985", The Book of the States, 1986-87 ( Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 1986), p. 4; Janice May, "State Constitutions and Constitutional Revision, 1992-93", The Book of States, 1994-95 ( Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 1995), p. 4.
5.
Vincent Bonventre, "State Constitutionalism in New York: A Non- Reactive Tradition", Emerging Issues in State Constitutional Law 2 ( 1989); Peter Galie, State Constitutional Guarantees and the Protection of Defendant's Rights: The Case of New York, 1968-1978, Buffalo Law Review, 28 ( 1979).
6.
John Kincaid, "State Constitutions in a Federal System", Annals of the American Academy of Social and Political Science 496 ( March, 1988), p. 18.
7.
Including Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, Texas, Washington, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wyoming, Louisiana, Montana, Utah, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California.
8.
Some state constitutions are more easily amendable than others. Gerald Benjamin and Melissa Cusa have calculated the likelihood of a legislature offering constitutional amendments under the various procedures, concluding that states which allow constitutional amendment by extraordinary majorities of the legislature with single-session passage, or those with simple majorities and single-session passage, provide a greater liklihoood of legislative passage than schemes wich require dual passage by the legislature. "Amending the New York Constitution Through the Legislature", Temporary State Commission on

-7-

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