Recently, our friends at the Goldwater Institute — our sister think tank which is based in Arizona — did a 50 state analysis of state constitutions. The idea behind the analysis is to figure out which state constitutions are the strongest in protecting individual liberties and to analyze which states have done the best job in preserve those liberties.
New Mexico’s constitution does a reasonably good job of laying out the case for individual rights, unfortunately, the New Mexico courts have done a pretty lousy job of interpreting the document in ways that preserve those individual rights and liberties. The full text of the study which includes tables outlining the relative pro/anti-liberty nature of each state constitution can be found here.
The state constitutions may not seem relevant in a nation in which the national constitution is largely ignored. However, as the Legislature considers ways to close a massive budget deficit, the left will undoubtedly use the vague term found in the New Mexico Constitution: “A uniform system of free public schools sufficient for the education of, and open to, all the children of school age in the state shall be established and maintained” to argue that any cuts to education will make New Mexico’s educational system “insufficient” whatever that means. Where possible, advocates of individual liberty should use the New Mexico constitution to their ends as well.