Volume 67, Summer 2015, Issue 5

Twenty-Sixth Issue on State Constitutional Law

Introduction

Robert F. Williams

We are convinced, as in the past, that the publication of our Annual Issue on State Constitutional Law continues to enhance, and move forward, the important study of state constitutionalism.

Foreword

STATE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW IN THE NEW DEAL PERIOD

Keith E. Whittington

The 1930s is generally understood to be a period of constitutional revolution in the United States, with a restrictive conservative U.S. Supreme Court giving way to a latitudinarian liberal Court. The politics of judicial review and the substance of constitutional law in the states has rarely been considered. This Article begins to integrate the states into the broader story of American constitutional development in these pivotal years.

Article

ROBINSON TOWNSHIP v. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA: EXAMINATION AND IMPLICATIONS

John C. Dernbach, James R. May & Kenneth T. Kristl

In Robinson Township v. Commonwealth, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held unconstitutional major parts of Pennsylvania’s “Act 13”—a 2012 oil and gas law designed to facilitate the development of natural gas from Marcellus Shale. In so doing, the court breathed new life into article I, section 27 of Pennsylvania’s constitution, which creates public rights in certain environmental amenities and requires the state to “conserve and maintain” public resources “for the benefit of all the people.” The wide-ranging implications of this decision will be felt for years, perhaps decades.

Book Review

THE ROOTS OF NEW JERSEY JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE

Robert F. Williams

Battleground New Jersey: Vanderbilt, Hague, and Their Fight for Justice is must reading for all those interested in New Jersey politics, the development of our governmental institutions, and particularly the achievement of judicial independence. Johnson, well known for his influential, fictional Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City, has performed prodigious research, including the discovery of new materials regarding Arthur Vanderbilt and his nemesis Frank Hague, for this new nonfiction work. As revealed in the title, he tells the story through the competing points of view of Newark, Vanderbilt, Republicans, and WASPs as they compete for political superiority and control of New Jersey politics and courts with Jersey City, Frank Hague, Democrats, and Catholics.

State Constitutional Law

PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS MANDATORY RETIREMENT AGE PROVISION OF THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE CONSTITUTION.

Joseph A. Acosta

Few employees are given an age-based time limit on their term of employment, and fewer still are able to review that time limit for its legitimacy. However, that is exactly what the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did in Driscoll v. Corbett when they held that the mandatory retirement provision of the Pennsylvania Constitution did not violate the constitutional provisions of equal protection.

HEY TEACHER, LEAVE THOSE KIDS ALONE: LOUISIANA STUDENTS LOSE THEIR RIGHTS TO EDUCATIONAL FREEDOM. 

David M. Eisen

In Louisiana Federation of Teachers v. State, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the interplay between 2012 La. Acts 2 (“Act 2”) and Louisiana Senate Concurrent Resolution 99 (“SCR 99”) unconstitutionally redirected public funds to nonpublic schools in breach of article VIII, section 13(B) of the Louisiana Constitution.

SPECIAL LAWS, COURT ACCESS, AND THE IMPACT OF TORT REFORM ON STATE EQUAL PROTECTION PRINCIPLES. 

Benjamin D. Hartwell

In Wall v. Marouk, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma held that a statute which required a small class of plaintiffs to produce an affidavit of merit at the time of filing violated the Oklahoma Constitution’s prohibition on special laws and enumerated right to access the courts.

THE WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT REMOVES ITSELF FROM THE FOREFRONT OF ENVIRONMENTAL JURISPRUDENCE. 

Charles Lange

In Rock-Koshkonong Lake District v. State Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Supreme Court reviewed a decision by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”) that denied a petition to raise the water levels of a dammed lake.

WHY VOUCHER PROGRAMS DO NOT ERASE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE.

Matthew O’Connor

In Meredith v. Pence, the Supreme Court of Indiana upheld the state’s voucher school funding program as the plaintiffs could not meet the elevated burden to invalidate a statute under three of the state’s constitutional clauses.

PROPERTY WEALTH-BASED SCHOOL FUNDING IN COLORADO IS CONSTITUTIONAL

Erika M. Page

In Lobato v. State, the Supreme Court of Colorado held that Colorado’s current public school financing system, despite allowing vast disparities in educational quality across school districts, was permissible under both the education clause and the local control clause of the Colorado Constitution.

FAILING TO OBJECT TO RESEATING AN IMPROPERLY STRUCK JUROR NOW CONSTITUTES ASSENT TO THE COURT’S EXERCISE OF ITS DISCRETION. 

Brandon Simmons

In People v. Mata, the Supreme Court of California considered what type of remedy was appropriate after the trial court found that the prosecution had discriminated on the basis of race during jury selection.

HAWAII’S EXCLUSIONARY RULE PROTECTS INDIVIDUAL PRIVACY IN ADDITION TO DETERRING POLICE CONDUCT.

Ian Steenson

In State v. Rodrigues, the Hawai’i Supreme Court held that a quantity of methamphetamine discovered in a defendant’s pocket during an illegal search was inadmissible under Hawai’i’s exclusionary rule when the State could not offer clear and convincing evidence that the methamphetamine would have been inevitably discovered.

THE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT OF MAINE TAKES THE SENTENCING PROCESS ONE STEP FURTHER TO ENSURE FAIRNESS AND PROPORTIONALITY.

Juliette N. Voskanian

In State v. Stanislaw, Theodore Stanislaw originally pled guilty in Superior Court, Hancock County, to three counts of Class B unlawful sexual conduct, one count of Class C unlawful sexual contact, one count of unlawful sexual touching, and four counts of assault. After two appeals by the Defendant, the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine vacated his sentence and remanded, holding that the overall unsuspended sentence was disproportionate to the crimes committed.

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