States in American Constitutionalism: Interpretation, Authority, and Politics examines the often overlooked role that states have played in the development and maintenance of American constitutionalism by examining the purpose and effect of state resolutions on national constitutional meaning. From colonial practices through contemporary politics, subnational governments have made claims about what national constitutional provisions and principles ought to mean, fashioned political coalitions to back them, and asserted their authority to provoke constitutional settlement. Yet, this practice has been far from static. Political actors have altered the practice in response to their interpretive objectives and the political landscape of the day. States in American Constitutionalism explains both the development of the practice and the way each innovation to the practice affected subsequent iterations.
Hays presents a series of case studies that explore the origins of the practice in colonial constitutionalism, its function in the early Republic, subsequent developments in antebellum and twentieth century politics, and contemporary practice in the first two decades of the twenty first century.
States in American Constitutionalism will be of great interest to students and academics interested in constitutional law and politics, political and constitutional development, and federalism.
1. Introduction: The (non-legal) Role of States in Constitutional Maintenance
2. Alerting the People: The Origins and Early Practice of State Maintenance
3. Interposing the Protective Shield and Exerting State Authority: The Failures of State Maintenance
4. The Authority to Reject Interpretation: State Maintenance in the 20th Century
5. Reinvigoration: The Return of Madisonian Maintenance, Nullification, and the Affirmation of Judicial Authority
6. Conclusion: On Development and Constitutionalism
In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville famously noted that "scarcely any political question arises in the United States that is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question." The importance of courts in settling political questions in areas ranging from health care to immigration shows the continuing astuteness of de Tocqueville’s observation. To understand how courts resolve these important questions, empirical analyses of law, courts and judges, and the politics and policy influence of law and courts have never been more salient or more essential.
Law, Courts and Politics was developed to analyze these critically important questions. This series presents empirically driven manuscripts in the broad field of judicial politics and public law by scholars in law and social science. It uses the most up to date scholarship and seeks an audience of students, academics, upper division undergraduate and graduate courses in law, political science and sociology as well as anyone interested in learning more about law, courts and politics.