Reaper
Lv 6
Reaper asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 1 decade ago

State Constitution vs. United States Constitution?

Why do state Constitutions reflect changes in popular concerns more readily than the United States Constitution?

The state Constitution is not as stable compared to the United States Constitution. Why is this?

Update:

Can you give me a little more description on that SDD?

3 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Just took my state constitutional law final last week. So this is probably the last chance I have to use this knowledge for the next year and a half.

    As stated above, state cons are much easier to amend than the fed con. States have all types of methods of amending them, from the initiative to Delaware's ratification-by-two- consecutive-state-assemblies. (By the way, Delaware is the only state where the people do not directly vote on state con amendments.) In most states, some proportion of the state legislature must vote 'yea', then the public votes on the amendment as well. State cons can be amended for a number of reasons, and sometimes it is actually easier to amend the state con (for instance, by initiative) than it is to get a certain law passed.

    State cons also can be amended in response to a judicial decision that the public is unhappy with. Because state cons can be amended so (relatively) easily, state courts tend to interpret them more strictly than the fed courts interpret the fed con; if the public is unhappy with how a state con provision was interpreted, they can amend it. If the public is unhappy with how the fed con is interpreted, amending it is a long, and usually futile, process. Similarly, state courts tend to defer more to stare decisis (precedent), because the state con can be changed if the people are unhappy.

    State cons can grant rights above the 'federal floor'; for instance, while the federal con sets the standard for, say, what is a legal search and seizure under the 4th amendment, a state con may grant more individual rights than the fed con; this way, a search that might be legal under the fed con would be illegal under the state con.

    State cons can grant rights that are not even in fed cons. The most common of these rights is probably the right to an education.

    State cons may deal with state-specific issues. For instance, the Florida state con has a provision for the humane treatment of pigs. Does this really need to be in the state con? Couldn't a statute work just as well?

    Anyway, I'm rambling. In short, state cons are pretty cool, and useful for defending civil liberties cases.

  • CGIV76
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Because the State Constitution affects fewer people, and legislation and/or amendments are easier to enact.

    Additionally, an amendment to the United States Constitution must be ratified by three-quarters of either the state legislatures, or of constitutional conventions specially elected in each of the states, before it can come into effect.

    An amendment to a states constitution, can come via either a two-thirds vote of the people, or in some states by a three-fifths approval by both houses of the states legislature.

    Source(s): Me, retired Police Officer
  • SDD
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The same reason that small organizations change direction more easily than large ones.

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