796 20 A - Seminar - State Constitutional Law
Professor: The Honorable Jeffrey S. Sutton
Semester: 2009 Winter
Second Writing? Yes
Professional Responsibility? No
In this seminar, students will be required to participate in class discussions and write two papers. Students will also be required to prepare a brief class presentation to be delivered in a format that is intended to be genial but adversary. The course is about “state constitutional law.” It will not specifically teach Ohio constitutional law, though some illustrations of the various principles may come from Ohio law. Instead, the subject is a general examination of state constitutional law and its proper role in the fabric of American law. Thus we will inquire into how state constitutional law may be interpreted and applied in the federal and state courts. We will consider its proper place in the hierarchy of federal and state laws that control specific situations, and its practical effects on cases. We will compare the constitutional structures of the state governments, both to one another and to the federal government, and consider how these differences affect issues of structural state constitutional law. We also will examine the rights protected in the Federal Constitution. This last issue has given rise to an especially fertile debate in the last decade. Different views have been expressed about the responsibilities of state courts interpreting state constitutional provisions whose language is identical or closely similar to their counterparts in the Federal Constitution, and about the weight that state courts should give in this regard to the United States Supreme Court’s interpretations of federal constitutional provisions.
The course materials listed above are for informational purposes only and should not be considered final. Students must check with the Registrar for a current list of closed courses.