On its face, New York State's constitution is an elaborate and impressive aggregation of processes, powers, mandates, and limits. But many of these are "inoperative," and New Yorkers who read the document and believe what it says will come away with a massive misunderstanding of the realities of state government. The essays in New York's Broken Constitution seek to clarify the realities by bringing attention to the gaps between what the constitution says and how the state is actually governed, and they provide a disquieting picture of the state of the state's constitution. Among the topics addressed are state debt and budgeting practices, legislative redistricting, local government, gambling, conservation, and the process of amending the constitution. Written by knowledgeable professionals, the chapters explain the constitutional provisions in question, including the reasons for their constitutional status; how they have been used and interpreted; and the extent of the gaps between the constitutional provisions and practice. Various proposals for reform are also examined.
Peter J. Galie is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Canisius College. Christopher Bopst is Chief Legal and Financial Officer at Sam-Son Logistics. They are the coauthors of The New York State Constitution, Second Edition. Gerald Benjamin is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of the Benjamin Center at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He is coauthor (with Daniel L. Feldman) of Tales from the Sausage Factory: Making Laws in New York State, also published by SUNY Press, and coeditor (with Henrik N. Dullea) of Decision 1997: Constitutional Change in New York.