Arizona v. Evans, 514 U.S. 1, 8 (1995)

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Opinion of the Court

ion in Long describes the 60-year history of the Court's differing approaches to the determination whether the judgment of the highest court of a State rested on federal or nonfederal grounds. 463 U. S., at 1038-1040. When we were in doubt, on some occasions we dismissed the writ of certiorari; on other occasions we vacated the judgment of the state court and remanded so that it might clarify the basis for its decision. See ibid. The latter approach did not always achieve the desired result and burdened the state courts with additional work. Ibid.

We believe that Michigan v. Long properly serves its purpose and should not be disturbed. Under it, state courts are absolutely free to interpret state constitutional provisions to accord greater protection to individual rights than do similar provisions of the United States Constitution. They also are free to serve as experimental laboratories, in the sense that Justice Brandeis used that term in his dissenting opinion in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U. S. 262, 311 (1932) (urging that the Court not impose federal constitutional restraints on the efforts of a State to "serve as a laboratory"). Under our decision today, the State of Arizona remains free to seek whatever solutions it chooses to problems of law enforcement posed by the advent of computerization.3 Indeed, it is freer to do so because it is disabused of its erroneous view of what the United States Constitution requires.

State courts, in appropriate cases, are not merely free to— they are bound to—interpret the United States Constitution. In doing so, they are not free from the final authority of this

v. Thompson, 501 U. S. 722, 740 (1991) (opinion of O'Connor, J.) (declining to expand the Long and Harris presumption to instances "where the relevant state court decision does not fairly appear to rest primarily on federal law or to be interwoven with such law").

3 Justice Ginsburg acknowledges as much when she states that since Long, "state courts, on remand, have reinstated their prior judgments after clarifying their reliance on state grounds." Post, at 32 (citing statistics).

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