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We have editorialized several times recently on constitutional cases in our Supreme Court raising both state and federal rights claims. In a few of those instances (impairment of contract, double jeopardy, taking) we noted that the court had decided in earlier cases to interpret the state and federal provisions “coextensively.”

We have no criticism of those decisions if they intend, and must be read to mean, that this conclusion is only for that particular case. In other words, under these facts and the existing federal constitutional doctrines, knowing full well that it was not required to adhere to federal precedents, our court concluded that there is no persuasive reason to interpret our Constitution to be more protective of rights than those available under the U.S. Constitution. A political scientist referred to this as “reflective adoptionism” of federal precedent, or deciding claims under the state constitution the same way they were decided by the U.S. Supreme Court under the federal constitution.

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