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Doing Democracy: Activists Look to State Courts and Constitutions to Expand Rights

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 (DustyPixel via Getty Images)

As part of our “Doing Democracy” series, we look at state courts and constitutions. Each state has its own constitution, and they generally offer more rights than the U.S. Constitution. For example, the California constitution guarantees the right to happiness, reproductive freedom, and the ability to fish on public land, among other enumerated rights. With a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, activists are increasingly looking at states to protect – and even expand – rights. But will this strategy work? We’ll talk to legal experts about how state courts and constitutions are increasingly becoming battle grounds for preserving or expanding civil rights, and what the impact in California and neighboring states might be.


Alicia Bannon, editor-in-chief, State Court Report, Brennan Center; director, the Brennan Center's Judiciary Program

Miriam Seifter, professor of law and co-director, the State Democracy Research Institute at University of Wisconsin Law School


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