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In civics education, generally the U.S. Constitution gets all the attention, but every state has its own constitution too and some of them pre-date the federal constitution.

An often-quoted dissenting opinion, written in 1932 by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis states: “It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” This quote from the dissenting opinion in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann has been cited in more than 3,000 legal articles and academic papers, perpetuating the notion that states are “labs of democracy.”

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