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State and Local Government Law

2021

Federalism

Faculty Scholarship

Columbia Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Democracy Principle In State Constitutions, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter Jan 2021

The Democracy Principle In State Constitutions, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter

Faculty Scholarship

In recent years, antidemocratic behavior has rippled across the nation. Lame-duck state legislatures have stripped popularly elected governors of their powers; extreme partisan gerrymanders have warped representative institutions; state officials have nullified popularly adopted initiatives. The federal constitution offers few resources to address these problems, and ballot-box solutions cannot work when antidemocratic actions undermine elections themselves. Commentators increasingly decry the rule of the many by the few.

This Article argues that a vital response has been neglected. State constitutions embody a deep commitment to democracy. Unlike the federal constitution, they were drafted – and have been repeatedly rewritten and amended …