a short explanation
When in interpreting constitutional amendments, New York courts consider what voters had in mind when they went to the polls and contemporary events that provide context to understand the cause or necessity for the amendment’s adoption. This page compiles materials to memorialize the context in which New York’s environmental right was adopted and provide insight into voter understanding.
Sections of Public Context
- Then there should be links to different “pots” of public context, each with its own separate page and content, including: Environmental concerns in New York; Op-eds; Advocacy materials and white papers; Public presentations.
- Environmental concerns in New York: This should include newspaper articles appearing in New York periodicals, including the NY Times, discussing environmental challenges, such as groundwater contamination, climate change, and environmental injustice. It should also include significant environmental reports or white papers prepared by advocacy groups to the extent that they are specific to New York. Finally, it should include links to all environmental legislation adopted during this period.
- The page should initially cover the period beginning the year that the legislature first passed the legislation giving rise to the right 2019 up to the adoption of the right in November 2021. We may consider expanding it to start in 2017 as that is when the measure first passed the Assembly, although that bill failed in the Senate.
- With respect to newspaper articles, it might be useful to separate out a separate section for groundwater contamination (Hoosick Falls, 1,4 dioxane), a separate section for climate change, and a separate section for environmental justice.
- This will be the most time-consuming and difficult page to research and populate. We should focus first on completing the Legislative History and Cases pages.
- If PDFs of articles cannot be included for reasons of copyright, the full citation, a parenthetical or short description of the content of the article, and a functioning link to the article should be provided.
GOALS and Purpose
In addition to the floor debates and materials already included in the legislative history compilation it should include the ballot summary and an image of the ballot. It should also include any available demographic breakdown of those voting in favor.
The page should include only documents filed in legal proceedings in New York. To the extent possible, it should include state and federal court cases that state a claim under the right; state and federal; administrative decisions, permit proceedings, etc. that reference the right; amicus briefs that raise the environmental right.
When in interpreting constitutional amendments, New York courts consider what voters had in mind when they went to the polls and contemporary events that provide context to understand the cause or necessity for the amendment’s adoption.
Once the New York-specific content is added, the page can then be expanded to include literature discussion state constitutional environmental rights generally, including in Montana, Pennsylvania, and Hawaii.