Sean Beienburg teaches American constitutionalism in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University. He is the author of Prohibition, the Constitution, and States’ Rights and directs the Living Repository of the Arizona Constitution initiative. After growing up in Phoenix, he attended Pomona College and completed his doctorate at Princeton University.
His teaching and research interests include the U.S. Constitution and constitutional law, Arizona constitutionalism, federalism and state constitutionalism/politics, American political thought and development, executive power (both presidential and gubernatorial), parties and interest groups, 19th and early 20th century political and constitutional history, and Prohibition.
Constitutional Resistance in the States, 1880-2010
His dissertation, “Constitutional Resistance in the States, 1880-2010,” examined how states’ rights claims and efforts to evade, ignore, and resist federal constitutional development played an increasingly central role in the political climate. He questioned whether such state activity was a normal part of American political development or a dangerous aberration recalling the divisions before the Civil War. He analyzed whether such efforts were primarily the seeds of Southern resistance to racial integration or had a more honorable, broader legacy. Beienburg sought to understand such developments by providing an account of state constitutional resistance since 1880. In short, his project aimed to better understand the historical legacy of state participation in constitutional politics in order to make sense of its current manifestations.