Bar News - December 21, 2016
Morning Mail: Election Outcome Concerns
I am addressing this letter to those of the members of the bar who may have concerns regarding the impact of the latest election, cabinet appointments, and likely court appointments in the future. This is not the first time, and nor will it be the last time, that an election may seem turn the world upside down, and we have wondered what protections will be afforded to our citizens.
It was 36 years ago that President Regan was elected with concerns about the impact of his administration on the rights of individuals. At that point, the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued its opinion in State v. Ball (NH, 1983). The Court noted:
“While the role of the Federal Constitution is to provide the minimum level of national protection of fundamental rights, our court has stated that it has the power to interpret the New Hampshire Constitution as more protective of individual rights than the parallel provisions of the United States Constitution... Even if it appears that the Federal Constitution is more protective than the State Constitution, the right of our citizens to the full protection of the New Hampshire Constitution requires that we consider State constitutional guarantees. This is because any decision we reach based upon federal law is subject to review by the United States Supreme Court, whereas we have unreviewable authority to reach a decision based on articulated adequate and independent State grounds.”
If we think that the rights of any of our clients are in jeopardy, don’t forget about the NH Constitution, and our State’s independent bill of rights. While sometimes our Court needs to be prodded, I have no doubt, that when push comes to shove our Court will not let us down.
Randall F. Cooper
North Conway, NH