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Do some U.S. states' constitutions interpret the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment differently? If so, what do they say?

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    I'm not going to answer but there most definitely is a difference between states. For instance, Texas considers alcohol sobriety checkpoints to be contrary to the US Constitution and will not do them without probable cause. Other states will do it. – mark b Feb 27 at 16:59
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    @markb sobriety checkpoints mostly implicate the fourth amendment, not the first. – phoog Feb 27 at 23:35
  • @phoog Ah yes. I read the OP hastily and interpreted it as if it were referring to the entire Bill of Rights. – mark b Feb 28 at 16:40
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A US state's constitution cannot "put restrictions on" the Federal constitution, or any of the rights guaranteed by it, if by that is meant limiting the rights Federally guaranteed. The so called "Supremacy clause" of Article VI says:

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

(The above was more relevant before the question was edited to remove the 'put restrictions on" language. But it is still accurate and somewhat relevant.)

Similarly, and because of the Supremacy clause, the content of a US State's constitution cannot change the interpretation of the federal constitution, in either state or federal courts, including the presence or absence of rights similar to those protected by the Federal Constitution.

However, a number of state constitutions have guarantees which parallel the federal First Amendment, particularly its freedom of speech and freedom of religion aspects. This is particularly true of state constitutions written prior to the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment. At that time, the Federal Bill of Rights only restricted the federal government, and so when similar restrictions were wanted against a state government, they had to be in the state constitutions. See Barron vs Baltimore for the limitation of the bill of rights to restricting the federal government at this time.

Such provisions did not usually reference the Federal First Amendment explicitly, they simply had more or less similar language.

Since the passage of the 14th, and the incorporation of the various provisions of the Federal bill of rights against the states (largely starting in the 1920s) most court cases have refereed to the Federal provision rather than any similar state provision, unless, as is sometimes the case, the state provision offers greater rights or wider scope than the federal one does.

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    As an example, the Oregon constitution gives an arguably broader guarantee of free speech: "No law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion...", which is indirectly why there's so many strip clubs in the state. – Ask About Monica Feb 27 at 17:38
  • If I understand correctly, state courts can interpret the federal constitution more restrictively (on the state government) than the federal courts do. For example, a state court could hold that some particular speech is protected by the federal first amendment even though the federal court has not so ruled. – phoog Feb 27 at 23:38
  • @phoog My understanding, which may be mistaken, is that if SCOTUS has ruled, or a Federal appeals court for the circuit that the state is in, the state is bound and may not expand or contract the rights granted by the Federal Constitution beyond the federal ruling. Of course if the facts can be distinguished (as they often can) the ruling may change, and if thre has been no binding federal decision, a state court may rule as it sees fit. And rights granted by a state const. are a different matter. – David Siegel Feb 28 at 1:55
  • Yes, I see. Looking more closely at the case I had in mind, I see that I had in fact misunderstood it somewhat. The state judge had found that something violated the federal constitution based on a finding of fact, as you suggest, not on a different interpretation of the federal constitution as I had thought. – phoog Feb 28 at 7:28

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