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The Law of American State Constitutions$
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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

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Judicial Involvement in State Constitutional Amendment and Revision

Judicial Involvement in State Constitutional Amendment and Revision

The Law of American State Constitutions

Robert F. Williams

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the extensive judicial involvement in litigation considering the substance and procedure of state constitutional amendment and revision. Some processes of state constitutional change can only be utilized, for example, to amend the state constitution but not to revise it. This is generally true for the initiative. Litigation therefore arises over whether an initiated change is a valid amendment or an invalid revision. Also, state constitutions contain a number of procedural requirements and limitations on the processes for their change, such as single-subject and separate-vote requirements. These procedural restrictions are enforced by the courts through litigation. This level of judicial involvement in the processes of state constitutional change is unlike that at the federal level, for change does not occur very often and challenges to the federal processes of change are generally viewed as non-justiciable political questions.

Keywords:   judicial involvement, amendment, revision, single-subject, separate-vote, political question

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