"[A] fine collection of essays . . . The volume is accessible and provides an excellent starting place for an examination of state constitutional developments. It deserves a wide audience, and should serve to inspire further work on the constitutional past of the states."
—American Journal of Legal History
Ranging in time from the late 1700s to the late 1900s, Toward a Usable Past offers a series of case studies that examine the protection afforded individual rights by state constitutions and state constitutional law. As it explores the history of liberty at the state level, this volume also investigates the promise and risks of turning to state constitutions to guarantee and expand individual rights.
In this book, major scholars and legal practitioners discuss state protections of civil liberty, and ponder the contemporary implications of the state record. The cases examined cover topics ranging from religion in schools during the Federalist era to criminal justice in the late nineteenth century, from racial integration in Kansas before Brown v. Board of Education to legal battles over birth control in the Connecticut Supreme Court.
The introduction presents the historical and contemporary significance of the topic and traces the evolution of the federal constitutional law establishing the parameters of state regulation of individual rights.
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