State Adoption of Federal Law: Exploring the Limits of Florida's "Forced Linkage" Amendment
Slobogin, Christopher, 1951-
This article examines the "forced linkage" between state and federal provisions that the 1983 amendment establishes in Florida. It concludes that forced linkage is ill-conceived, because it is inimical to state court independence. Accordingly, this article argues, the 1983 amendment to article I, section 12 of the Florida Constitution should be repealed. If not repealed, it should be interpreted to permit Florida courts broad discretion in developing their own stance on search and seizure law. So construed, the amendment would only require Florida courts to abide by those United States Supreme Court opinions that provide (1) an authoritative holding that is (2) based solely on the fourth amendment to the federal Constitution, (3) consistent with rights available to Florida citizens through other sources of law, and that (4) preceded the vote on the amendment. Furthermore, even when a Supreme Court ruling meets these four requirements, Florida courts would be entitled to conform their opinions to the ruling in the manner least repugnant to the notion of state court independence. Parts II and III of this article analyze the jurisprudence of state court reliance on state law as a means of providing greater protection of lights than that afforded under the federal constitution. This jurisprudence provides the theoretical justification for repealing the 1983 amendment or, alternatively, construing it as narrowly as possible. Assuming the 1983 amendment will not be repealed, part IV of this article explores how Florida courts can develop their own approach to search and seizure law despite the amendment.