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Tag: ‘Constitutional Law’

Roots of Constitutional Government: Magna Carta at 800

King John’s acquiescence to the barons’ demands on the plains of Runnymede in 1215 was but a first, halting step on the road to the rule of law.  Despite frequent challenges, its principles endured, inspired, and were adapted over 800 years to undergird modern constitutional government. This is the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. The […]

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Trial by Jury: Arduous Attempts to Appropriate and Avert

Recent rulings by the federal & state courts in Minnesota have generally expanded, and occasionally constricted, the constitutional right in criminal and civil cases. Trial by jury, a fundamental and nearly unique feature of the American judicial system, may seem like an anachronism.  Fewer than 10 percent of all criminal cases and no more than […]

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Broadening the “Ministerial Exception”: What Limits on Judicial Entanglement in Religion?

The Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year excepting a teacher of secular subjects in a religious school from the reach of the ADA calls into question how far the courts will go in shielding religious institutions from the reach of federal employment laws. When the United States Supreme Court earlier this year ruled in Hosanna-Tabor […]

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Marriage, Equality, and the Minnesota Constitution

A proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage as “between one man and one woman” would not address problems facing Minnesota families and would be bad for the state’s business climate, argue the authors.  Moreover, the proposed amendment erodes the ideal that a constitution exists to protect the rights of all. In November 2012, Minnesota […]

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Amending Minnesota’s Constitution: Here We Go, Again … and Again

The proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot this fall may add to a rich lore of litigation over changes to the Minnesota Constitution. The pair of constitutional amendments to be voted upon this fall by the Minnesota electorate provides an opportune time to review the legal history of revisions to the Minnesota Constitution. Minnesota voters this November […]

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Excessive Force Claims: Disentangling Constitutional Standards

Excessive force claims are subject to a number of different constitutional standards and sorting out which standards should apply can be confusing.  Errors in jury instructions may result in officers erroneously being found liable. Excessive force claims seem to be reported in the news constantly.1 There is a powerful reason why: the claims pique the […]

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Looking Back: A Century Without Executions

This spring marks the 100th anniversary of the abolition of capital punishment in Minnesota, a practice that has had a controversial and colorful history. The late comedian Pat Paulsen, who occasionally ran for president as a gag, was once asked whether he was in favor of capital punishment: “No,” the comic deadpanned, “Washington, D.C. has […]

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Padilla Motions

Effective Assistance of Counsel Where Pleas Mandate Deportation Effective Assistance of Counsel Where Pleas Mandate Deportation Padilla v. Kentucky expands the 6th Amendment right to counsel for noncitizens while clarifying that where a conviction would automatically lead to deportation the attorney is obliged so to advise the client. The authors explain that current practice and existing constraints on defense counsel […]

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Minnesota’s Constitution: An Essential Tool in Search and Seizure Cases

The state Constitution provides protection independent of the federal Constitution.  But its effectiveness as an independent source depends on lawyers remembering to use it and to articulate the basis for applying it. Minnesota Constitution article I, section 10 varies from the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment only in the following ways: The right of the people […]

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From Tinker to Bong: The School Bell Tolls for Student Rights

The Supreme Court’s decision this year in Morse v. Frederick marks but the latest in a series of cases balancing the 1st Amendment rights of students with the educational prerogatives of school authorities and other vital concerns. Experience suggests that this volatile area of law will not soon be settled. Nearly 40 years ago, during […]

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