What rights does the Arizona Constitution confer?
The Arizona Constitution was written before the state’s entry to statehood in 1912. Read the entire Arizona Constitution here. The Constitution grants individual rights, separates and distributes powers of government, among other things (fun fact: it expressly reserves the right for the Arizona Legislature to regulate ambulances, Ariz. Const. art. 27, § 1).
The federal system creates a hierarchy of powers. There are both state and federal constitutions, but the federal constitution reigns supreme. The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land and cannot be overridden by any state. Ariz. Const. art. 2, § 3; see Large v. Superior Court, In & For Maricopa Cnty.,714 P.2d 399, 405 (1986) (stating United States Constitution is a “benchmark” for minimum constitutional protection). Arizona’s Constitution can only expand upon its federal counter-part. Thinking of it another way, the United States Constitution provides a minimum amount of liberty and the states are free to add more, if they so choose.
The amendments to the U.S. Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, confers fundamental rights and liberties. Arizona does not follow the same format as its federal counterpart. Article 2 of the Arizona Constitution lists the rights conferred by the state and has thirty-eight sections (I am counting the Victim Bill of Rights Ariz. Const. art. 2, § 2.1 as a whole section). Some of the sections are far more in-depth and provide more protection than its federal counter-part.
The interesting part is the text of the rights differ, in some cases dramatically, from the federal to the State version. For example federally, the freedom of religion is generally protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Arizona on the other hand, has two completely different sections protecting different aspects of religious freedoms (with a bunch of other sections protecting other rights in between the religious sections). It appears, at least in the case of Arizona, that courts have considered some of the Arizona protections to be more broad (offering more protections) than its federal counterpart. But what those extra protections are largely remain to be seen.
This page will compare and contrast the liberties conferred by the United States Constitution and the Arizona Constitution.
**** This page is a work in progress.