State Constitutions

Public Land Controversy: The States v. The Federal Government - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights and Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Groups Podcast
Donald J. Kochan, David Garbett June 25, 2014

public lands mapControversies over jurisdiction and management of public lands are building. Whether grazing rights disputes in Nevada or New Mexico, alarm over federal disinterest in long recognized local partnerships for management of multi-use lands, BLM review of millions of acres to balance factors like environmental justice, and complaints of forest maintenance hazards, states are increasingly concerned. Western states contend that return of public lands to state control would generate a North Dakota-like renaissance of jobs, access to resources, and economic activity. Several Western states are investigating the legal basis for challenging federal retention of these public multi-use lands as described in state charter enabling acts. The state of Utah now has statutory authority to sue the federal government for return of its lands in January, 2015. How sound is the legal case, and what are the economic implications for the Western states -- as well as the country in general? What are the environmental policy issues and is state stewardship of these lands best?

  • Hon. Ken Ivory, State Representative, Utah House of Representatives
  • Prof. Donald J. Kochan, Professor of Law, Chapman University School of Law
  • Carl Graham, Director, Center for Self-Government in the West, Sutherland Institute
  • David Garbett, Staff Counsel, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

The State of State and Municipal Debt - Podcast

Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group Podcast
David Skeel, Sanford Levinson May 30, 2014

money lawIn recent years, many state and local governments have encountered severe fiscal problems, partly because of the recession and financial crisis, and partly because of long-term pension and other obligations that outstrip revenue. This raises a number of important policy and legal questions, such as the extent to which it is desirable for federal and state governments to "bail out" fiscally troubled jurisdictions, and whether or not such governments can default on any of their obligations. If state or local governments become more dependent on federal funding, that may also have implications for the long-term future of American federalism. Our panelists, Prof. Sanford Levinson and Prof. David Skeel considered these issues.

  • Professor Sanford V. Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair, University of Texas School of Law
  • Professor David A. Skeel, S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Drunk Driving and the Fourth Amendment: The Implications of Missouri v. McNeely - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Orin S. Kerr, Rory Little, David Stras May 28, 2014

The Supreme Court’s decision last Term in Missouri v. McNeely is an important one for judges and attorneys involved in criminal matters in state courts. In McNeely, the Court decided that the exigency exception to the warrant requirement does not always apply to the taking of blood from the driver to determine his or her blood-alcohol level, even though alcohol dissipates in the blood over time. In this Teleforum, we examined the implications of the McNeely decision, including whether any of the other exceptions to the warrant requirement apply, its implications for state-court judges and practitioners, and how McNeely fits within the framework of other recent Fourth Amendment decisions of the Supreme Court.


  • Prof. Orin S. Kerr, Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
  • Prof. Rory Little, Professor of Law, University of California Hastings College of the Law
  • Moderator: Hon. David Stras, Minnesota Supreme Court

Do State Attorneys General Have a Duty to Defend State Laws? - Podcast

Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group Podcast
John W. Suthers, Neal E. Devins April 04, 2014

state flags

Recently U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, citing the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in United States v. Windsor, urged the members of the National Association of Attorneys General to exercise their discretion to decline to defend state-level Defense of Marriage Acts (DOMA). State attorneys general of California, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, among others, have followed the Justice Department's lead in declining to defend such state laws. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers urged state attorneys general not to employ a "litigation veto" to nullify popularly enacted laws with which state attorneys general might disagree. What is the scope of a state attorney general's power to decline to execute or enforce state law on the basis that the law is or is thought to be unconstitutional and inconsistent with the oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution? What lessons, if any, may properly be drawn from the federal context and any Presidential authority to decline to enforce federal statutes that he views as unconstitutional? Do such instances of executive non-defense and non-enforcement amount to executive arrogation of legislative prerogative? Colorado Attorney General John Suthers and William & Mary Professor Neal Devins discussed these questions and engaged with the audience's comments and questions.


  • Prof. Neal E. Devins, Professor of Law, Professor of Government, and Director of the Institute of Bill of Rights Law, William and Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law
  • Hon. John W. Suthers, Attorney General, State of Colorado

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