Published: Nov. 6, 2023 By

On October 12, 2023, the Byron R. White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law welcomed Professor Alicia Bannon to discuss the increasing importance of state constitutions in our current legal climate. She is the Director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Judiciary Program at New York University School of Law and an expert in Constitutional Law. As Editor in Chief of the State Court Report, she shared this new timely resource that tracks developments in state constitutional law across all 50 states. 

Over 100 students, professors, and staff joined Professor Bannon for the lunch talk to learn about the State Court Report and state constitutional trends across the country. Professor Suzette Malveaux, Director of the Byron White Center, opened the lunch talk, providing context for why lawyers, scholars and advocates were turning to local and state law. Bannon emphasized how state constitutions can provide opportunities for affirmative rights and extra protections. Byron White Fellow Sarah Sorenson moderated the Q&A, fielding questions about climate justice, LGBTQ protections and voting rights in our states’ highest courts. 

attendees at Alicia Bannon event

That evening, the Byron White Center co-hosted a discussion with the State Court Report and others as part of the Herrick Roth Lecture Series at the University of Colorado School of Public Affairs in Denver. There, Bannon joined Colorado Supreme Court Justice Melissa Hart and Sturm College of Law Professor Tom Romero in discussing the Colorado state constitution in particular. Colorado Public Radio’s Chandra Thomas Whitfield moderated the panel, which provided varied perspectives and an inside look into some of the challenges and advantages of the Colorado state constitution. Environmental protection, amendments to the Colorado constitution, and TABOR effects on Colorado public schools were topics of interest.

To stay updated about what is currently happening in the state courts, you may want to visit the State Court Report and check out the State Case Database, a searchable engine for recent, significant state constitutional law decisions.

View the full recording here.