Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



State constitutional law decisions, lacking the universality of application of many other fields of the law, are vital and of significance frequently only to the local bar and local public officials. There is another difference between state constitutional law decisions, and federal constitutional law decisions: state courts are inclined to deal with state constitutional issues with an emphasis on the pragmatic problem of deciding the case and getting it out of the way,rather than with an emphasis on completing the blue print-of seeking to establish the general principle which reflects the conflicting policies struggling for recognition. In most United States Supreme Court decisions, even when a unanimous opinion is forthcoming, the two beneficial and legitimate interests are likely to be clearly visible.The opinion is quite likely to make it apparent that judicial statesmanship is at work, and that broad fundamental policies, each of which have strong claims to recognition, are competing.Eighteen cases have been selected for coverage by this review of constitutional law decisions for the year 1957-58. It is believed that these eighteen cases include the significant ones of the period. Of the eighteen, one is a federal district court decision, which is included in this analysis simply because it deals so particularly with a Tennessee problem.