State constitution (United States)


State constitution (United States)

Every state in the United States possesses its own constitution. Historically, state constitutions have been longer than the 7,500-word U.S. Constitution and more detailed regarding the day-to-day relationships between government and the people. For instance, the New York state constitution is 51,700 words long while Alabama's sixth and most recent constitution, ratified in 1901, is 310,296 words long. Differences in length and detail can be attributed to the different purposes of the documents as well as to the different approaches to constitutional uses between the federal and state governments. Both the federal and state constitutions are organic texts: they are the fundamental blueprints for the legal and political organizations of their respective sovereign entities. But both state and federal constitutions go beyond this. While the U.S. Constitution prescribes the limits of federal power, state constitutions describe the details of structure and process of those governmental powers not delegated to the federal government. Many state constitutions also address very specific issues deemed by the states to be of sufficient importance to be included in the constitution rather than in an ordinary statute.

List of U.S. state constitutions

U.S. Territory Constitutions

The major populated island territories of the United States also have constitutions of their own. These constitutions are subject to Congressional approval and oversight, which is not the case with state constitutions, and do not qualify the territories for statehood. Upon an Enabling Act, the affected territory may draft a state constitution that will succeed upon statehood.

"Constitution" for Washington, D.C.

Washington, DC has a charter similar to charters of major cities, instead of having a constitution like the states and territories. The District of Columbia Home Rule Act establishes the Council of the District of Columbia which governs the entire district and has certain devolved powers similar to those of major cities. Congress has full authority over the district and may amend the charter and any legislation enacted by the Council.Attempts at statehood for the District of Columbia have included the drafting of two constitutions in 1982 [http://dccode.westgroup.com/toc/default.wl?oFindType=V&oDocName=DC&oDB=DC%2DST%2DWEB%3BSTADC&DocName=DC010463193&FindType=X&DB=DC-TOC-WEB%3BSTADCTOC&RS=WLW2%2E07&VR=2%2E0] and 1987 [http://dccode.westgroup.com/Find/Default.wl?DocName=DCHINEWCOLUMBIACONSTITUTIONENACTED1987&FindType=W&DB=DC-TOC-WEB%3BSTADCTOC&RS=WLW2%2E07&VR=2%2E0] respectively referring to the district as the State of New Columbia.

ee also

*List of constitutions of the United States

References

* Hammons, Christopher W. (1999). Was James Madison wrong? Rethinking the American preference for short, framework-oriented constitutions. "American Political Science Review." Dec. 1999.
** "The appendices to this article contain substantial data on state constitutions."

External links

* [http://www.thegreenpapers.com/slg/constitution.phtml The Green Papers: Constitutions of the states]
* [http://www.thegreenpapers.com/slg/explanation-constitution.phtml The Green Papers: State constitutions, an explanation]
* [http://www.thegreenpapers.com/slg/links.phtml The Green Papers: Links to state constitutions]
* [http://www.americangenesis.com Citings of Religious Influence in First State Constitutions]


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