Washington Law Review


Vern Countryman


Historical perspective reveals that the recent activism of the federal courts in the area of political and civil rights was largely necessitated by the unwillingness of state courts to recast those rights in molds adapted to our changing society. Federal supplementation of the states' inaction in this field has now regrettably caused many state courts to assume a posture of even more begrudging conservatism in the interpretation and implementation of our political and civil tights. In this background, Professor Countryman advocates state legislative initiative to formulate new and broad general principles for protecting our fundamental rights, He identifies three major reasons for such action—the desirability of expanding federal interpretations of constitutional rights, the need to extend several constitutional protections to application against the States, and the need to delineate new rights not comprehended within the Bill of Rights appended to the United States Constitution. [This article was presented at the State Constitutional Revision Conference, sponsored by the University of Washington School of Law, Seattle, Washington (June 13-14, 1968).]

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