Martha F. Davis

Martha F. Davis is a distinguished professor at the Northeastern University School of Law.


Maine High Court Upholds Centuries-Old Sunday Hunting Ban

The court rejected claims that the ban conflicted with a 2021 constitutional amendment guaranteeing a right to food. 

Massachusetts’s High Court Upholds Novel Local Restriction on Tobacco Purchases

The ruling could provide a model for cities and towns to enact rules that differ from state law — in tobacco and alcohol purchasing, and even gun sales — without running afoul of preemption principles.

Hawaii’s Midwives Challenge Law Criminalizing Traditional Birthing Practices

Many Native Hawaiians rely on lay midwives to provide culturally sensitive reproductive health care.

Massachusetts Looks to International Sources to Inform ‘Evolving Standards of Decency’

In declaring life without parole unconstitutional for people under 21, the state’s high court cited sentencing practices in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Knife Laws on the Chopping Block

Massachusetts’s highest court confronts the nuances of federalism in a Second Amendment challenge to the state’s switchblade ban.

New Mexico Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on New Anti-Abortion Tactic

GOP-controlled cities and counties in pro-choice New Mexico are relying on a long-dormant federal law to outlaw abortion — in contradiction of state law.

In Maine, a 'Second Amendment for Food'?

A case challenging a Sunday hunting ban will help define the scope of a new constitutional amendment.

How Do State Constitutions Evolve?

The Washington Supreme Court’s changing interpretation of its state “Privileges or Immunities” Clause shows how state courts can diverge from federal precedent over time.

Hawaii Supreme Court Takes on the Climate Crisis

The court decision gives teeth to the state constitution’s promise of a “clean and healthful environment.”

The Oldest State Court Makes a Case for Embracing Change

Massachusetts’s high court rejected the U.S. Supreme Court’s narrow approach to determining fundamental rights in favor of a comprehensive analysis that considers evolving equality norms.

Getting Comparative Law Right in State Courts

The Supreme Court used flawed legal comparisons in overturning Roe v. Wade. Looking forward, state judges must take context into account when engaging with other countries’ abortion laws.

What Happens When State and Local Laws Conflict

Cases involving abortion, gun control, and public health pivoted on state preemption standards.

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