Date of Defense



Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Neil Pinney

Second Advisor

Dr. Peter Renstrom

Third Advisor

Dr. David Houghton


The new judicial federalism, a trend whereby states and their constitutions have become important for those seeking new-to-be-recognized individual rights, may be signaling the beginning of a shift in American judicial history. This could in turn be creating fresh breeding grounds for rights activists to gain support for new policies granting and enforcing greater rights protections. One way of gaining policy consensus for new individual rights at the federal level could be their existence as rights in various individual states. The experience of an individual right at a state level could provide the example of its effects needed by policy innovators and interest groups to achieve its federal enactment. In this way, then, the new judicial federalism could be raising the "rights ceiling" with the influx of "extra" rights being afforded in individual states, above and beyond what is being provided by the federal government.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only