REPORT: Our New Federalism

Using State Constitutions and Statutes to Advance Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

As the federal judiciary has become increasingly hostile to rights protections, the ACLU has, where appropriate, turned to state courts and invoked state rather than federal claims to advance civil rights and civil liberties. This survey features more than 125 cases, filed within the last five years or so across 24 states and the District of Columbia. 

In these cases, the ACLU, in partnership with its state affiliate offices, has advanced arguments, most often in state courts based on state constitutional and statutory civil rights provisions, seeking protections above and beyond what federal law provides. This list is not exhaustive, but it provides a snapshot of the wide range of claims that we have pursued through state constitutional and civil rights litigation.