- Online Edition
- Print Edition
- Donahue Lecture Series
- Archived Mastheads
This issue of the Suffolk University Law Review acknowledges, and celebrates, the 230th anniversary of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. It is appropriate to do so.
Not so long ago, state constitutions were considered static documents, principally intended to structure the branches of state government and define their authority. Where the constitutions provided guarantees for basic citizens’ rights, the guarantees were considered to be limitations on the power of government. Many other rights afforded citizens in state constitutions were taken to be aspirational, subject to implementation as matter of policy by the executive and the legislature, but not as independent sources of duties that were enforceable against the executive and the legislature in the courts.
It was also thought that, when the United States Supreme Court established the federal rule on basic guarantees set forth in the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution, particularly in the areas of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, state supreme courts should adopt the federal rule under cognate provisions of their state constitutions. This analysis could be colloquially styled the “lock-step” school of interpretation. . . .
DEAN ALFRED C. AMAN: Good afternoon and welcome to part two of our Donahue Lecture Series. We are honored to have a very distinguished panel who will be commenting on Justice Kirby’s talk that you have just heard. I want to introduce all the members of the panel all at once and then they will speak in an order that goes across the table. When they finish I am hoping that Justice Kirby will have some comments, responses, or resonances. At that point, we want to open it up to questions and discussion from the audience. We have with us four commentators today, beginning with Professor Eric Blumenson, who needs no introduction at Suffolk Law School. He came here from criminal law practice in Seattle and later in Boston and has been teaching Criminal Law at this law school as well as Moral and Legal Philosophy, Human Rights, and Jurisprudence. He has been a Fulbright scholar in Lahore, Pakistan, and a visiting professor at the University of Witswatersrand in South Africa. He was a reporter to the Supreme Judicial Court’s Criminal Rules Advisory Committee. He was responsible for drafting the first major revision to the Massachusetts Criminal Rules. His scholarly work includes a two-volume criminal law treatise, numerous articles on criminal law, human rights, and philosophy. . .
For more information about Justice Kirby’s Donahue Lecture (which served as the basis for this discussion) please click here.