State Constitutions for the Twenty-first Century, Volume 3: The Agenda of State Constitutional Reform, Volume 3

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G. Alan Tarr, Robert F. Williams
SUNY Press, 2012 M02 1 - 380 pages
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This third and final volume in a series devoted to state constitutions analyzes how these documents address major constitutional issues such as the protection of rights; voting and elections; constitutional change; the legislature; the executive; the judiciary; taxing, spending, and borrowing; local government; education; and the environment. Contributors identify the strengths and weaknesses of current state constitutions, highlight the major issues confronting the states, and assess various approaches for reform.

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Dr. Tarr does an excellent job presenting the intricacies, complexities, and controversies surrounding state constitutions and the amendment process. In addition, the book is very convincing in its discussion of the importance and relevance of state constitutions and their influence upon society and even policy at the national level. This book should be a required introduction for every student of political science.  


1 Rights
2 The Legislative Branch
3 The Executive Branch
4 The Judicial Branch
5 Local Government
6 Voting and Elections
7 Constitutional Amendment and Revision
8 State and Local Finance
9 Education
10 The Environment and Natural Resources

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Page 21 - That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot by any compact deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
Page 105 - IT is essential to the preservation of the rights of every individual, his life, liberty, property and character, that there be an impartial interpretation of the laws, and administration of justice. It is the right of every citizen to be tried by judges as free, impartial and independent as the lot of humanity will admit.
Page 16 - No religious test shall be required, as a qualification for office, nor shall any person be incompetent to be a witness on account of his religious belief ; but nothing herein shall be construed to dispense with oaths and affirmations.
Page 84 - Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and...
Page 123 - The general assembly shall not delegate to any special commission, private corporation or association, any power to make, supervise, or interfere with any municipal improvement, money, property, or effects, whether held in trust or otherwise, or to levy taxes, or perform any municipal function whatever.
Page 21 - The General Assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.
Page 21 - That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community; of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of...
Page 298 - Knowledge and learning generally diffused throughout a community, being essential to the preservation of a free government, it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to encourage, by all suitable means, moral, intellectual, scientific and agricultural improvement, and to provide by law for a general and uniform system of common schools, wherein tuition shall be without charge, and equally open to all.
Page 277 - ... corporations of the State in proportion to the number of children in each of school age, as may be fixed by law; and no part of the fund...

About the author (2012)

At Rutgers University at Camden, G. Alan Tarr is Director of the Center for State Constitutional Studies and Robert F. Williams is Associate Director. Tarr is also Distinguished Professor of Political Science and author of Understanding State Constitutions. Williams is also Distinguished Professor of Law and author of State Constitutional Law: Cases and Materials, Third Edition.

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