Jim Layton Presents “Five Things Every Judge Should Know About the Missouri Constitution”

Jun 22, 2017

Jim Layton, head of Tueth Keeney’s appellate practice group, was on the faculty of the 2017 “Appellate Forum,” an annual training program for all Missouri appellate judges, held at the University of Missouri Law School on June 22.   Jim’s topic was “Five Things Every Judge Should Know About the Missouri Constitution.”

Jim often taught State Constitutional Law during his 20 years as a adjunct professor at the Law School.   At the Appellate Forum, Jim spoke of five aspects of the Missouri Constitution.   Four distinguish Missouri’s constitution from the U.S. constitution:

  1. The Missouri Constitution is not very old.   It was adopted in 1945; the U.S. constitution in 1788.
  2. While under the U.S. Constitution Congress has only the powers affirmatively given to it, the Missouri Constitution consists largely of limitations on legislative power that would otherwise be limited only by federal law.
  3. While the U.S. Constitution leaves legislative procedural issues to Congress to decide for itself, the Missouri Constitution includes important procedural requirements.
  4. Although both the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions have bills of rights, Missouri’s document addresses some subjects not included in the U.S. constitution””and deals with others quite differently.

Jim’s fifth point was that although the Missouri Constitution reserves some constitutional questions exclusively for the Missouri Supreme Court, that Constitution is often construed and applied by the Missouri Court of Appeals.   The June 22 audience consisted mostly of judges on that Court.

James Layton leads the firm’s Appellate practice group and is a member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation, Employment & Labor , and Education groups.   He assists clients with analysis and presentation of complex legal issues in Missouri and federal courts, both trial and appellate.   In addition to handling cases himself and with other attorneys at Tueth Keeney, Jim consults with clients on appellate strategy and assists other counsel in high-stakes, complex appeals.

Jim has briefed and argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and before all Missouri appellate courts””including more than 90 cases before the Missouri Supreme Court.   He has represented clients in U.S. district courts and in Missouri circuit courts from Jackson County to the City of St. Louis.   He has extensive experience with government-related litigation and state taxation disputes.   Jim is a fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a past president of the Bar Association of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and a past chair of the American Bar Association’s Council of Appellate Lawyers.   He is a frequent speaker in the areas of appellate practice and constitutional law, both state and federal.