A new resource from the State Democracy Research Initiative makes the current text of all 50 state constitutions available and searchable on one site.
Beginning in the 1970s, several states added environmental rights amendments, also known as “Green Amendments,” to their constitutions. The wording of the amendments can be as broad as the right to a “clean and healthful environment,” or it can enumerate specific rights such as clean air, clean water, or aesthetic environmental values.
Some constitutions allow citizens to enforce environmental quality rights against the government and private parties. This is an active field of state constitutional litigation, especially as citizens sue state governments to force action against climate change.
The founder of Green Amendments For The Generations, Maya van Rossum, discusses the impact of enshrining environmental rights in state constitutions.
The decision could help influence how other U.S. courts approach similar environmental rights claims.
A recent Montana state court decision reveals the interpretative clarity afforded by state constitutions that undergo regular and transparent revision.
The trial will show the obstacles to enforcing environmental provisions in state constitutions.