Samford University will establish a State Constitutional Law Project in its Cumberland School of Law to study issues related to the Constitution of Alabama and other states.
Samford President Thomas E. Corts announced the Project - to be funded with a gift from the Unus Foundation - during a Wednesday, Feb. 9, speech at the Rotary Club of Birmingham.
"We have realized there is a much neglected area in state government and our folks are going to work, studying state constitutions, building a database, hiring outside experts, and focusing on issues that must be considered by states," said Dr. Corts. "WHEN (it is not a matter of 'if') our Constitution is renewed, this Project should be a great help.
"Ours is not an effort to draft a model, but a systematic attempt to identify the issues, gather up the best practices already utilized in other states, the best thinking world-wide, and offer it to a constitutional convention when it comes together, and to other states, as well."
Corts said the Project "meets a great need because state constitutions have received too little study over the years, though major issues will require attention in the future." He noted that the project "is not limited to Alabama but will include all 50 states."
One major goal of the Project, said Corts, will be to analyze the impact which state constitutions have on economic development.
Other goals include:
* Establishing a searchable database of state constitutions to facilitate comparison and study of best practices.
* Synthesizing research and reporting on key current constitutional issues at the state level.
* Convening policymakers, academicians and other experts to discuss components of modern state constitutions.
* Developing an agenda of issues appropriately addressed in state constitutions.
"This grant evidences the tremendous civic responsibility of Alabamians," Corts added. "We will be able to serve many states and institutions in a vital way. We are grateful for the confidence shown by the Unus Foundation in involving Cumberland School of Law and Samford in this important project."
"The State Constitutional Law Project will serve as an outstanding resource for state constitutional study," said Cumberland Dean Barry A. Currier.
He pointed out that the Project would be able to draw on the resources of Cumberland faculty, with its expertise in a variety of state constitutional law issues; the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, located on the Samford campus; Samford scholars in history, political science and other areas at Samford, and Samford's Davis Library, which is the Birmingham area's Government Documents Depository.
"The Project also will involve law students, who come from 20 states and whose participation will enhance their legal education while facilitating the Project's goals," said Dean Currier.