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Human Rights in State Courts

An Overview and Recommendations for Legal Advocacy

By The Opportunity Agenda

U.S. state courts are often more willing to entertain human rights arguments than their federal counterparts. Because of their comparative independence, state-court judges are more receptive to using international treaties and conventions as persuasive authority. Poverty lawyers who litigate in state courts should consider using international human rights instruments as interpretive guides for state constitutional and statutory rights; the results may be a pleasant surprise.

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