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What are some differences between state constitutions and the US Constitution?


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Answered 2007-02-08 15:00:41

The U.S. Constitution is remarkably brief. The original constitution ratified by the 13 states (or colonies, if you prefer) contained a mere 4,426 words. The addition of the Bill of Rights brought the total to just 5,033 words. The addition of another 17 amendments since the BoR has brought the total up to 7,620 words. As far as I know, every state constitution is more verbose. The U.S. Constitution is strong on WHAT to do and WHAT NOT to do but provides remarkably little guidance on HOW to do it. Most state constitutions all have a common flaw: they try to address too many topics and provide too many mandates for what to do and HOW to do it, frequently with excruciating detail. Constitutions should provide a basic framework for government and establish the range of what the state government can and cannot do. Unfortunately, they are frequently used as a legislative tool. Specific laws that implement and instantiate constitutional guidelines should be left for regular legislation, not captured in constitutions.

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