Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Law of American State Constitutions$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Robert F. Williams

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195343083

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195343083.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 October 2020

Interpreting State Constitutions

Interpreting State Constitutions

The Law of American State Constitutions

Robert F. Williams

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses a wide variety of judicial interpretation techniques that state courts apply to state constitutions. Many of these techniques arise from the unique characteristics of state constitutions, including their origin, function, form, and quality, all of which are different from the federal Constitution. The chapter analyzes many of these differing approaches, including the question whether a state constitutional provision is self-executing; possible negative implications arising from grants of authority to the state legislature; interpretation based on the “voice of the people,” arising from the fact that state constitutional provisions are ratified by the electorate; the much wider availability of state constitutional history materials, some of it quite recent; and the possibility of a different view of the doctrine of precedent concerning judicial interpretations of state constitutions. The chapter discusses canons, maxims, and other approaches to state constitutional interpretation, such as contemporaneous construction.

Keywords:   judicial interpretation, self-executing, contemporaneous construction, constitutional history, voice of the people, precedent

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .