Response to Forthcoming Paper Symposium: Why State Constitutions Matter
Robert F. Williams
I want to thank Professor Lawrence Friedman and the New England Law Review for organizing this symposium on my new book. Also, many thanks to the authors who took the time to read the book and write about it and associated topics of state constitutional law. I have learned a good deal from all of them, as well as the readers of this Paper Symposium.
State constitutions are becoming more and more relevant both legally and politically. In November 2010, voters in Iowa, Michigan, Maryland, and Montana voted, in automatic, periodic referenda, on whether to call state constitutional conventions. The Maryland vote was very close, but all four failed. Such votes also failed in 2008 in Illinois, Connecticut, and Hawaii. New Yorkers voted against a constitutional convention in 1997. Similar automatic referenda will take place in 2012 in Alaska, New Hampshire, and Ohio. A major move for constitutional revision is taking place in Pennsylvania and similar efforts regularly arise in Alabama, California, New York, and other states.