51 Imperfect Solutions: States and the Making of American Constitutional Law

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Oxford University Press, May 7, 2018 - Law - 288 pages
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When we think of constitutional law, we invariably think of the United States Supreme Court and the federal court system. Yet much of our constitutional law is not made at the federal level. In 51 Imperfect Solutions, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton argues that American Constitutional Law should account for the role of the state courts and state constitutions, together with the federal courts and the federal constitution, in protecting individual liberties. The book tells four stories that arise in four different areas of constitutional law: equal protection; criminal procedure; privacy; and free speech and free exercise of religion. Traditional accounts of these bedrock debates about the relationship of the individual to the state focus on decisions of the United States Supreme Court. But these explanations tell just part of the story. The book corrects this omission by looking at each issue-and some others as well-through the lens of many constitutions, not one constitution; of many courts, not one court; and of all American judges, not federal or state judges. Taken together, the stories reveal a remarkably complex, nuanced, ever-changing federalist system, one that ought to make lawyers and litigants pause before reflexively assuming that the United States Supreme Court alone has all of the answers to the most vexing constitutional questions. If there is a central conviction of the book, it's that an underappreciation of state constitutional law has hurt state and federal law and has undermined the appropriate balance between state and federal courts in protecting individual liberty. In trying to correct this imbalance, the book also offers several ideas for reform.
 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
A Second Source of Power Comes with Dual Constraints on That Power
7
3 Equality and Adequacy of School Funding
22
The Exclusionary Rule
42
5 Compelled Sterilization
84
6 Free Speech Free Exercise of Religion and Freedom from Mandatory Flag Salutes
133
What the State Courts Can Do
173
What the Rest of the Legal Community Can Do
191
9 Epilogue
203
Notes
217
Index
273
Copyright

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About the author (2018)

The Honorable Jeffrey S. Sutton serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Judge Sutton was a partner with the law firm of Jones Day and served as State Solicitor of the State of Ohio. He also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Lewis F. Powell, Jr. (Ret.), the Honorable Antonin Scalia, and the Honorable Thomas J. Meskill.

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