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FRL 4013 Government Regulation of Business

Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution hands over various powers to the states. Read the Tenth Amendment here.

The Purpose of a State Constitution

Quotation from John J. Parker, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (1925-58), which provides a succinct overview of why states have their own constitutions:

"The purpose of a state Constitution is two-fold: (1) to protect the rights of the individual from encroachment by the State; and (2) to provide a framework of government for the State and its subdivisions. It is not the function of a Constitution to deal with temporary conditions, but to lay down general principles of government which must be observed amid changing conditions. It follows, then, that a Constitution should not contain elaborate legislative provisions, but should lay down briefly and clearly fundamental principles upon which government shall proceed, leaving it to the people's representatives to apply these principles through legislation to conditions as they arise."

Structure and Purpose of State Constitutions

An article from the Academic Search Premier database has a useful section called "Structure and Purpose of State Constitutions," divided into four sections:

a. Blueprint for Government

b. Guarantors of Individual Rights

c. Different Framers, Different Ideas

d. Flexibility and Responsiveness: A Dual-Edged Sword

You can access the article here (use your Bronco ID/password if off campus). Click on the PDF Full Text Link to open up the article. The section mentioned above is located on PDF pages 41-48, or pages 1037-1044 as numbered within the article.

If the link does not function properly, use this citation to retrieve the article in the library's Academic Search Premier database:


Case Western Reserve Law Review; Summer 2010, Vol. 60 Issue 4, p997-1072.


The State Constitution

A textbook used in Cal Poly Pomona classes has a chapter called "The State Constitution" in Professor John L. Korey's book California Government, Fourth Edition, located here. You will find earlier editions on the shelf as well. The book can also be found on Course Reserves at the Circulation/Reserve Desk.

State Constitutions, and, Bill of Rights in State Constitutions

Here are two useful online articles from the Dictionary of American History that explain state constitutions and bill of rights in state constitutions.

State Constitutions

Bill of Rights in State Constitutions

California Constitutional Convention

Professor Karl Manheim and Adjunct Professors John Caragozian and Don Warner from the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles discuss the history of the California state constitution, how the constitution is amended (including the initiative process, also known as propositions), all within the context of the state's current economic difficulties.

Propositions, Initiatives and Referendums: What's the Difference?

Note that ballot initiatives (also known as propositions) are one way that the California constitution can be amended. This website discusses the three terms that are often used interchangeably, but they each have distinctive meanings.

See: What are ballot propositions, initiatives, and referendums?