State power is the ability of a state to coordinate and regulate behaviors and enforce order within its borders. This essay will explore the New Jersey state power compared to the federal power of the Bill of Rights of the United States of America (USA). The comparison will focus on determining the differences and similarities in three equivalent sections covering religious freedom, the freedom of rights and power organization, and election processes.
In terms of religious freedom, the New Jersey state recognizes Almighty God as the supreme entity and the giver of life and all human liberties. The authority of God over humans is also captured in the federal government constitution (N.J. Const. pmbl; U.S. Const. pmbl). However, according to Mataic and Finke (2018), the constitutional promises of religious freedom are often violated by social restrictions and state actions. The Bill of Rights, on the other hand, guarantees freedom of worship and the right to speech, association, opinion, fair trial, and privacy.
The sovereign freedom of the people is enshrined in the constitution to ensure that their rights as ordinary citizens are protected and guaranteed. The state constitution protects the population’s rights to life, independence, owning property, and security. As it was mentioned earlier, the Bill of Rights also covers the aspects of free speech and freedom of opinion. Further, these privileges cannot impair any other rights retained by the people (N. J. Const. art. I, § 1, 3, 4, 6, 10, 18). The federal government constitution also stresses that the citizens of the USA should be treated equally and enjoy full rights and privileges in all states (U.S. Const. art. IV, § 2). For example, when a citizen of New York visits New Jersey, they are entitled to rights and privileges in New Jersey just like those who are living in New Jersey.
In exploring the differences in the power organization and election processes in the state constitution and the Bill of Rights, several similarities were found. The New Jersey state constitution states that the power of a government is sourced in people, who may express their opinions directly or indirectly through delegation of elected representatives or constitutional bodies. The government utilizes the constitution as a legal framework with the purpose of serving the people through three horizontal governmental organizational branches – the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary (Claus, 2020). Even though the different kinds separate the power, the governmental activities also support the intersections between the branches, as they all involve law-making and law-executing processes.
Through the election mechanism, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and members of the legislature are directly elected by the people of New Jersey through their right of suffrage in a general election (N. J. Const. art. II, § 2). A similar principle is implemented in the federal government election processes where the people from all states participate in a general election to elect the President, Vice President, and members of congress once in four years (U.S. Const. art. I, § 2, 3; art. II, § 1). However, the federal government constitutionally mandates states to determine and enact laws on processes of the election of Governor, representatives, members of Congress, President, and Vice President conducted in each state (U.S. Const. art. I, § 4). Thus, citizens in each state manifest the power to elect leaders in the USA based on both laws enacted by state and federal power.
In conclusion, it is fair to say that the New Jersey state constitution shares similarities with the federal government constitution based on the three analyzed sections. Its design outlines the executive, legislature, and judiciary powers. Similar measures are described in the bill of rights as well as in the federal constitution. However, the main difference between the New Jersey constitution and the federal government constitution is that the state constitution covers a wider scope in many sections than the constitution of the USA.
Bill of Rights: United States Constitution. (2021). Britannica. Web.
Claus, L. (2020). Separation, enumeration, and the implied Bill of Rights. Journal of Law and Politics, Forthcoming, 1-33.
Mataic, D. R., & Finke, R. (2018). Compliance gaps and the failed promises of religious freedoms. Religion, State and Society, 47(1), 124–150. Web.
The New Jersey State Bar Foundation. (2021). The Bill of Rights Up Close. NJSBF Latest Newsletter Dives into the Bill of Rights, 1-28. [email protected]
N.J. Const. pmbl.
N. J. Const. art. II, § 2.
N. J. Const. art. I, § 1, 3, 4, 6, 10, 18.
U.S. Const. pmbl.
U.S. Const. art. I, § 2, 3; art. II, § 1.
U.S. Const. art. I, § 4.
U.S. Const. art. IV, § 2.