Abner S. Greene Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress K240.G74 2012 | Dewey Decimal 340.112
Greene argues that citizens are not morally obligated to obey the law and that officials need not follow prior or higher authority when reading the Constitution. The sources of authority in a liberal democracy are multiple—the law must compete with other norms. Constitutional meaning is not locked in, historically or by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Courts decisions concerning the first amendment are hotly debated, and the controversy shows no signs of abating as additional cases come before the court. Adding much-needed historical and philosophical background to the discussion, Richard J. Regan reconsiders some of the most important Supreme Court cases regarding the establishment clause and the free exercise of religion.
Here in a beautifully bound cloth gift edition are the two founding documents of the United States of America: the Declaration of Independence (1776), our great revolutionary manifesto, and the Constitution (1787-88), in which "We the People" forged a new nation and built the framework for our federal republic. Together with the Bill of Rights and the Civil War amendments, these documents constitute what James Madison called our "political scriptures," and have come to define us as a people. Now a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian serves as a guide to these texts, providing historical contexts and offering interpretive commentary.
Herbert J. Storing's Complete Anti-Federalist, hailed as "a civic event of enduring importance" (Leonard W. Levy, New York Times Book Review), indisputably established the importance of the Anti-Federalists' writings for our understanding of the Constitution. As Storing wrote in his introduction, "If the foundation of the American polity was laid by the Federalists, the Anti-Federalist reservations echo through American history; and it is in the dialogue, not merely in the Federalist victory, that the country's principles are to be discovered."
This one-volume edition presents the essence of the other side of that crucial dialogue. It can be read as a genuine counterpart to the Federalist Papers; as an original source companion to Storing's brilliant essay What the Anti-Federalists Were For (volume I of The Complete Anti-Federalist, available as a separate paperback); or as a guide to exploring the full range of Anti-Federalist writing. The Anti-Federalist makes a fundamental source of our political heritage accessible to everyone.
The Bill of Rights in the Modern State
Edited by Geoffrey R. Stone, Richard A. Epstein, and Cass R. Sunstein University of Chicago Press, 1992 Library of Congress KF4749.A2B555 1992 | Dewey Decimal 342.73085
Although the Bill of Rights has existed for two hundred years, the last half century has seen dramatic changes in its meaning and scope. The essays collected in this volume represent the full range of views and interpretations of what these first ten amendments to the U. S. Constitution mean today as guarantors of individual rights.
The contributors to this volume are among the most prominent constitutional scholars in the country. Most of the essays are grouped in pairs, each of which offers conflicting positions on current constitutional controversies, including property rights, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, levels of generality in constitutional interpreation, and unemumerated rights.
The contributors are: Bruce Ackerman, Mary E. Becker, Ronald Dworkin, Frank H. Easterbrook, Richard A. Epstein, Charles Fried, Mary Ann Glendon, Philip B. Kurland, Frank J. Michaelman, Michael W. McConnell, Richard A. Posner, Kathleen M. Sullivan, John Paul Stevens, David A. Strauss, and Cass R. Sunstein.
"A thoughtful and well coordinated set of exchanges between leading modern constitutional theorists about the most significant issues related to the Bill of Rights and the Welfare State. These issues are debated through penetrating essays by opposing theorists who get to the heart of these issues and provide significant answers to their debate opponents' points."—Thomas R. Van Dervort, Southeastern Political Review
As of the latest national elections, it costs approximately $1 billion to become president, $10 million to become a Senator, and $1 million to become a Member of the House. High-priced campaigns, an elite class of donors and spenders, superPACs, and increasing corporate political power have become the new normal in American politics. In Capitalism v. Democracy, Timothy Kuhner explains how these conditions have corrupted American democracy, turning it into a system of rule that favors the wealthy and marginalizes ordinary citizens. Kuhner maintains that these conditions have corrupted capitalism as well, routing economic competition through political channels and allowing politically powerful companies to evade market forces. The Supreme Court has brought about both forms of corruption by striking down campaign finance reforms that limited the role of money in politics. Exposing the extreme economic worldview that pollutes constitutional interpretation, Kuhner shows how the Court became the architect of American plutocracy.
Capitalism v. Democracy offers the key to understanding why corporations are now citizens, money is political speech, limits on corporate spending are a form of censorship, democracy is a free market, and political equality and democratic integrity are unconstitutional constraints on money in politics. Supreme Court opinions have dictated these conditions in the name of the Constitution, as though the Constitution itself required the privatization of democracy. Kuhner explores the reasons behind these opinions, reveals that they form a blueprint for free market democracy, and demonstrates that this design corrupts both politics and markets. He argues that nothing short of a constitutional amendment can set the necessary boundaries between capitalism and democracy.
Robert C. Post Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress KF4920.P67 2014 | Dewey Decimal 342.73078
First Amendment defenders greeted the Court's Citizens United ruling with enthusiasm, while electoral reformers recoiled in disbelief. Robert Post offers a constitutional theory that seeks to reconcile these sharply divided camps, and he explains how the case might have been decided in a way that would preserve free speech and electoral integrity.
American liberals and conservatives alike take for granted a progressive view of the Constitution that took root in the early twentieth century. Richard Epstein laments this complacency which, he believes, explains America's current economic malaise and political gridlock. Steering clear of well-worn debates between defenders of originalism and proponents of a living Constitution, Epstein employs close textual reading, historical analysis, and political and economic theory to urge a return to the classical liberal theory of governance that animated the framers' original constitutional design.
Grounded in the thought of Locke, Hume, Madison, and other Enlightenment figures, classical liberalism emphasized federalism, restricted government, separation of powers, and strong protection of individual rights. New Deal progressives challenged this synthesis by embracing government as a force for social good rather than a necessary evil. The Supreme Court has unwisely ratified the progressive program by sustaining many legislative initiatives at odds with the classical liberal Constitution. Epstein addresses both the Constitution's structural safeguards against state power and its protection of individual rights. He sheds light on contemporary disputes ranging from presidential prerogatives to health care legislation, while exploring such enduring topics as judicial review, economic regulation, freedom of speech and religion, and equal protection.
H. Jefferson Powell offers a powerful new approach to one of the central issues in American constitutional thinking today: the problem of constitutional law's historicity, or the many ways in which constitutional arguments and outcomes are shaped both by historical circumstances and by the political goals and commitments of various actors, including judges. The presence of such influences is often considered highly problematic: if constitutional law is political and historical through and through, then what differentiates it from politics per se, and what gives it integrity and coherence? Powell argues that constitutional theory has as its (sometimes hidden) agenda the ambition of showing how constitutional law can escape from history and politics, while much constitutional history seeks to identify an historically true meaning of the constitutional text that, once uncovered, can serve as a corrective to subsequent deviations from that truth.
Combining history and theory, Powell analyzes a series of constitutional controversies from 1790 to 1944 to demonstrate that constitutional law from its very beginning has involved politically charged and ideologically divisive arguments. Nowhere in our past can one find the golden age of apolitical constitutional thinking that a great deal of contemporary scholarship seeks or presupposes. Viewed over time, American constitutional law is a history of political dispute couched in constitutional terms.
Powell then takes his conclusions one step further, claiming that it is precisely this historical tradition of argument that has given American constitutional law a remarkable coherence and integrity over time. No matter what the particular political disputes of the day might be, constitutional argument has provided a shared language through which our political community has been able to fight out its battles without ultimately fracturing.
A Community Built on Words will be must reading for any student of constitutional history, theory, or law.
The Complete Anti-Federalist
Edited by Herbert J. Storing University of Chicago Press, 1981 Library of Congress JK155.C65 1981 | Dewey Decimal 342.73029
The Complete Anti-Federalist, first published in 1981, contains an unprecedented collection of all the significant pamphlets, newspaper articles and letters, essays, and speeches that were written in opposition to the Constitution during the ratification debate. Storing’s work includes introductions to each entry, along with his own consideration of the Anti-Federalist thought.
This new three-volume set includes all the contents of the original seven-volume publication in a convenient, manageable format.
“A work of magnificent scholarship. Publication of these volumes is a civic event of enduring importance.”—Leonard W. Levy, New York Times Book Review
In The Confederate Constitution of 1861, Marshall DeRosa argues that the Confederate Constitution was not, as is widely believed, a document designed to perpetuate a Southern "slaveocracy," but rather an attempt by the Southern political leadership to restore the Anti-Federalist standards of limited national government. In this first systematic analysis of the Confederate Constitution, DeRosa sheds new light on the constitutional principles of the CSA within the framework of American politics and constitutionalism. He shows just how little the Confederate Constitution departed from the U.S. Constitution on which it was modeled and examines closely the innovations the delegates brought to the document.
In recent years, the United States has become increasingly polarized and divided. This fissure is evident across the nation in conflict over LGBTQ rights; in challenges to religious liberty; in clashes over abortion; in tensions between law enforcement and minority communities. With all of this physical and emotional violence enacted by our legal system and such seemingly irresolvable differences in beliefs, values, and identities across the country, we are forced to ask—how can the people of this nation ever live in peace together?
In Confident Pluralism, John D. Inazu analyzes the current state of the country, orients the contemporary United States within its broader history, and explores the ways that Americans can—and must—live together peaceably despite these deeply engrained differences. Pluralism is one of the founding creeds of the United States—yet America’s society and legal system continues to face deep, unsolved structural problems in dealing with differing cultural anxieties, and minority viewpoints. Inazu not only argues that it is possible to cohabitate peacefully in this country, but also lays out realistic guidelines for our society and legal system to achieve the new American dream through civic practices that value toleration over protest, humility over defensiveness, and persuasion over coercion.
An essential clarion call during one of the most troubled times in US history, Confident Pluralism offers a refreshing argument for how the legal system can protect peoples’ personal beliefs and differences and shows how we can build toward a healthier future of tolerance, patience, and empathy.
Congress and the Constitution
Neal Devins and Keith E. Whittington, eds. Duke University Press, 2005 Library of Congress KF4550.C568 2005 | Dewey Decimal 342.7302
For more than a decade, the U.S. Supreme Court has turned a skeptical eye toward Congress. Distrustful of Congress’s capacity to respect constitutional boundaries, the Court has recently overturned federal legislation at a historically unprecedented rate. This intensified judicial scrutiny highlights the need for increased attention to how Congress approaches constitutional issues. In this important collection, leading scholars in law and political science examine the role of Congress in constitutional interpretation, demonstrating how to better integrate the legislative branch into understandings of constitutional practice.
Several contributors offer wide-ranging accounts of the workings of Congress. They look at lawmakers’ attitudes toward Congress’s role as a constitutional interpreter, the offices within Congress that help lawmakers learn about constitutional issues, Congress’s willingness to use its confirmation power to shape constitutional decisions by both the executive and the courts, and the frequency with which congressional committees take constitutional questions into account. Other contributors address congressional deliberation, paying particular attention to whether Congress’s constitutional interpretations are sound. Still others examine how Congress and the courts should respond to one another’s decisions, suggesting how the courts should evaluate Congress’s work and considering how lawmakers respond to Court decisions that strike down federal legislation. While some essayists are inclined to evaluate Congress’s constitutional interpretation positively, others argue that it could be improved and suggest institutional and procedural reforms toward that end. Whatever their conclusions, all of the essays underscore the pervasive and crucial role that Congress plays in shaping the meaning of the Constitution.
Contributors. David P. Currie, Neal Devins, William N. Eskridge Jr.. John Ferejohn, Louis Fisher, Elizabeth Garrett, Michael J. Gerhardt, Michael J. Klarman, Bruce G. Peabody, J. Mitchell Pickerill, Barbara Sinclair, Mark Tushnet, Adrian Vermeule, Keith E. Whittington, John C. Yoo
In the most thorough examination to date, David P. Currie analyzes from a legal perspective the work of the first six congresses and of the executive branch during the Federalist era, with a view to its significance for constitutional interpretation. He concludes that the original understanding of the Constitution was forged not so much in the courts as in the legislative and executive branches, an argument of crucial importance for scholars in constitutional law, history, and government.
"A joy to read."—Appellate Practive Journal and Update
"[A] patient and exemplary analysis of the work of the first six Congresses."—Geoffrey Marshall, Times Literary Supplement
The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century traces the development of the Supreme Court from Chief Justice Fuller (1888-1910) to the retirement of Chief Justice Burger (1969-1986). Currie argues that the Court's work in its second century revolved around two issues: the constitutionality of the regulatory and spending programs adopted to ameliorate the hardships caused by the Industrial Revolution and the need to protect civil rights and liberties. Organizing the cases around the tenure of specific chief justices, Currie distinguishes among the different methods of constitutional exegesis, analyzes the various techniques of opinion writing, and evaluates the legal performance of different Courts.
"Elegant and readable. Whether you are in favor of judicial restraint or judicial activism, whatever your feelings about the Warren Court, or the Renquist Court, this is a book that justifies serious study."—Robert Stevens, New York Times Book Review
A leading scholar of the constitution of the United States, David Currie, in this book turns his attention to one of the most important bodies of constitutional law in the world, the Basic Law of Germany. It is a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the study of the German constitution.
Beginning with an overview of the essential features of the Basic Law of Germany, Currie then elucidates those features by analyzing a number of decisions of the German Constitutional Court. Contrasting German constitutional law with the American model, Currie further illuminates the German system and provides an invaluable comparative perspective on American institutions, judicial methods, and constitutional principles.
The German constitutional court recently has become the object of international attention as it has grappled with controversies involving abortion, ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, and the reunification of East and West. Currie examines these issues and their impact on the German constitution.
An appendix includes (in English translation) the complete Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany of May 23, 1949 as amended to December 1, 1993.
A masterly introduction to the United States Constitution, this slim book leads the reader through a concise overview of the document's individual articles and amendments. With clear and accessible language, Currie then examines each of the three branches of the federal government and explains the relation between the federal and state governments. He analyzes those constitutional provisions that are designed to protect citizens from governmental interference, such as the due process and equal protection clauses and the confusing first amendment provisions respecting the separation of church and state, and includes discussions of judicial review and freedom of speech and of the press.
A sympathetic yet critical guide, Currie's book enables students and laypersons to understand one of the cornerstones of the Western political tradition. The second edition, along with an updated chronology and bibliography, incorporates the Supreme Court decisions over the past decade that have affected constitutional interpretation.
"Superb . . . highly recommended for those seeking a reliable, understandable, and useful introduction to our constitution."—Appellate Practice Journal and Update
While many recent observers have accused American judges—especially Supreme Court justices—of being too driven by politics and ideology, others have argued that judges are justified in using their positions to advance personal views. Advocating a different approach—one that eschews ideology but still values personal perspective—H. Jefferson Powell makes a compelling case for the centrality of individual conscience in constitutional decision making.
Powell argues that almost every controversial decision has more than one constitutionally defensible resolution. In such cases, he goes on to contend, the language and ideals of the Constitution require judges to decide in good faith, exercising what Powell calls the constitutional virtues: candor, intellectual honesty, humility about the limits of constitutional adjudication, and willingness to admit that they do not have all the answers. Constitutional Conscience concludes that the need for these qualities in judges—as well as lawyers and citizens—is implicit in our constitutional practices, and that without them judicial review would forfeit both its own integrity and the credibility of the courts themselves.
Keith E. WHITTINGTON Harvard University Press, 1999 Library of Congress KF4552.W48 1999 | Dewey Decimal 342.7302
Gary Jeffrey Jacobsohn Harvard University Press, 2010 Library of Congress K3165.J333 2010 | Dewey Decimal 342.02
In Constitutional Identity, Gary Jeffrey Jacobsohn argues that a constitution acquires an identity through experience—from a mix of the political aspirations and commitments that express a nation’s past and the desire to transcend that past. It is changeable but resistant to its own destruction, and manifests itself in various ways, as Jacobsohn shows in examples as far flung as India, Ireland, Israel, and the United States. Jacobsohn argues that the presence of disharmony—both the tensions within a constitutional order and those that exist between a constitutional document and the society it seeks to regulate—is critical to understanding the theory and dynamics of constitutional identity. He explores constitutional identity’s great practical importance for some of constitutionalism’s most vexing questions: Is an unconstitutional constitution possible? Is the judicial practice of using foreign sources to resolve domestic legal disputes a threat to vital constitutional interests? How are the competing demands of transformation and preservation in constitutional evolution to be balanced?
Two in-depth essays and a selection of twenty-seven of the most important decisions present the Hungarian Constitutional Court as one of the most important actors of the transition into democracy in a post-communist country.
How was it possible that a new Court established in 1990, in a country just released from forty years of Communist rule, was able to enforce a Constitution, maintain the rule of law, and protect the freedom of its citizens in a way comparable to the U.S. Supreme Court? This new Court has issued decisions on topics ranging from the establishment of democracy and a market economy--privatization, compensation for the nationalization of property, and retroactive criminal legislation--as well as such issues as the constitutionality of capital punishment, abortion, freedom of speech and the media, and the separation of powers.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer provides the foreword and introduces the two essays that begin the book. In the first essay, Georg Brunner explains how the Court was set up and what its procedures are. In the second, Lázszló Sólyom describes systematically the emergence of the case-law of the Court and its jurisprudence on constitutional rights and on the powers and procedures of the other branches of government. The models followed by the Court are outlined, and its contribution to global constitutionalism explored.
Lázszló Sólyom is President of the Constitutional Court of Hungary and Professor of Law, ELTE University of Budapest. Georg Brunner is Professor of Law, University of Cologne, Germany.
First published in 1989, The Constitutional Jurisprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany has become an invaluable resource for scholars and practitioners of comparative, international, and constitutional law, as well as of German and European politics. The third edition of this renowned English-language reference has now been fully updated and significantly expanded to incorporate both previously omitted topics and recent decisions of the German Federal Constitutional Court. As in previous editions, Donald P. Kommers and Russell A. Miller's discussions of key developments in German constitutional law are augmented by elegantly translated excerpts from more than one hundred German judicial decisions.
Compared to previous editions of The Constitutional Jurisprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany, this third edition more closely tracks Germany's Basic Law and, therefore, the systematic approach reflected in the most-respected German constitutional law commentaries. Entirely new chapters address the relationship between German law and European and international law; social and economic rights, including the property and occupational rights cases that have emerged from Reunification; jurisprudence related to issues of equality, particularly gender equality; and the tension between Germany's counterterrorism efforts and its constitutional guarantees of liberty. Kommers and Miller have also updated existing chapters to address recent decisions involving human rights, federalism, European integration, and religious liberty.
Americans are ruled by an unwritten constitution consisting of executive orders, signing statements, and other quasi-laws designed to reform society, Bruce Frohnen and George Carey argue. Consequently, the Constitution no longer means what it says to the people it is supposed to govern and the government no longer acts according to the rule of law.
Problems of constitutional interpretation have many faces, but much of the contemporary discussion has focused on what has come to be called "originalism." The core of originalism is the belief that fidelity to the original understanding of the Constitution should constrain contemporary judges. As originalist thinking has evolved, it has become clear that there is a family of originalist theories, some emphasizing the intent of the framers, while others focus on the original public meaning of the constitutional text. This idea has enjoyed a modern resurgence, in good part in reaction to the assumption of more sweeping power by the judiciary, operating in the name of constitutional interpretation. Those arguing for a "living Constitution" that keeps up with a changing world and changing values have resisted originalism. This difference in legal philosophy and jurisprudence has, since the 1970s, spilled over into party politics and the partisan wrangling over court appointments from appellate courts to the Supreme Court.
In Constitutional Originalism, Robert W. Bennett and Lawrence B. Solum elucidate the two sides of this debate and mediate between them in order to separate differences that are real from those that are only apparent. In a thorough exploration of the range of contemporary views on originalism, the authors articulate and defend sharply contrasting positions. Solum brings learning from the philosophy of language to his argument in favor of originalism, and Bennett highlights interpretational problems in the dispute-resolution context, describing instances in which a living Constitution is a more feasible and productive position. The book explores those contrasting positions, to be sure, but also uncovers important points of agreement for the interpretational enterprise. This provocative and absorbing book ends with a bibliographic essay that points to landmark works in the field and helps lay readers and students orient themselves within the literature of the debate.
Jack M. Balkin Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress KF4550.B256 2011 | Dewey Decimal 342.73
Political constitutions are compromises with injustice. What makes the U.S. Constitution legitimate is Americans’ faith that the constitutional system can be made “a more perfect union.” Balkin argues that the American constitutional project is based in hope and a narrative of shared redemption, and its destiny is still over the horizon.
In Constitutional Revolutions Robert Justin Lipkin radically rethinks modern constitutional jurisprudence, challenging the traditional view of constitutional change as solely an extension or transformation of prior law. He instead argues for the idea of “constitutional revolutions”—landmark decisions that are revolutionary because they are not generated from legal precedent and because they occur when the Constitution fails to provide effective procedures for accommodating a needed change. According to Lipkin, U.S. constitutional law is driven by these revolutionary judgments that translate political and cultural attitudes into formal judicial decisions. Drawing on ethical theory, philosophy of science, and constitutional theory, Lipkin provides a progressive, postmodern, and pragmatic theory of constitutional law that justifies the critical role played by the judiciary in American democracy. Judicial review, he claims, operates as a mechanism to allow “second thought,” or principled reflection, on the values of the wider culture. Without this revolutionary function, American democracy would be left without an effective institutional means to formulate the community’s considered judgments about good government and individual rights. Although judicial review is not the only forum for protecting this dimension of constitutional democracy, Lipkin maintains that we would be wise not to abandon judicial review unless a viable alternative emerges. Judges, lawyers, law professors, and constitutional scholars will find this book a valuable resource.
Ran Hirschl Harvard University Press, 2010 Library of Congress K3280.H57 2010 | Dewey Decimal 342
In this ground-breaking book, renowned constitutional scholar Ran Hirschl describes “constitutional theocracy,” a new, hybrid form of government that has emerged from an overlapping of two parallel trends during the 20th century: the rise in political religion on the one hand and the spread of constitutional forms of government to most countries in the world on the other. Hirschl delivers two blockbuster theses: That in most constitutional theocracies, 1) courts are the primary secular agents of government, and 2) the electorate usually has a choice between a secular party that is against redistribution of wealth and a more theological party that supports redistribution. This last thesis, especially, will be news to many of the book’s American readers, who are accustomed to a theological politics stridently opposed to redistribution.
Carl Schmitt Duke University Press, 2008 Library of Congress KK4450.S3613 2008 | Dewey Decimal 342.43
Carl Schmitt’s magnum opus, Constitutional Theory, was originally published in 1928 and has been in print in German ever since. This volume makes Schmitt’s masterpiece of comparative constitutionalism available to English-language readers for the first time. Schmitt is considered by many to be one of the most original—and, because of his collaboration with the Nazi party, controversial—political thinkers of the twentieth century. In Constitutional Theory, Schmitt provides a highly distinctive and provocative interpretation of the Weimar Constitution. At the center of this interpretation lies his famous argument that the legitimacy of a constitution depends on a sovereign decision of the people. In addition to being subject to long-standing debate among legal and political theorists in Western Europe and the United States, this theory of constitution-making as decision has profoundly influenced constitutional theorists and designers in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.
Constitutional Theory is a significant departure from Schmitt’s more polemical Weimar-era works not just in terms of its moderate tone. Through a comparative history of constitutional government in Europe and the United States, Schmitt develops an understanding of liberal constitutionalism that makes room for a strong, independent state. This edition includes an introduction by Jeffrey Seitzer and Christopher Thornhill outlining the cultural, intellectual, and political contexts in which Schmitt wrote Constitutional Theory; they point out what is distinctive about the work, examine its reception in the postwar era, and consider its larger theoretical ramifications. This volume also contains extensive editorial notes and a translation of the Weimar Constitution.
Interest in constitutionalism and in the relationship among constitutions, national identity, and ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity has soared since the collapse of socialist regimes in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Since World War II there has also been a proliferation of new constitutions that differ in several essential respects from the American constitution. These two developments raise many important questions concerning the nature and scope of constitutionalism. The essays in this volume—written by an international group of prominent legal scholars, philosophers, political scientists, and social theorists—investigate the theoretical implications of recent constitutional developments and bring useful new perspectives to bear on some of the longest enduring questions confronting constitutionalism and constitutional theory. Sharing a common focus on the interplay between constitutional identity and individual or group diversity, these essays offer challenging new insights on subjects ranging from universal constitutional norms and whether constitutional norms can be successfully transplanted between cultures to a consideration of whether constitutionalism affords the means to reconcile a diverse society’s quest for identity with its need to properly account for its differences; from the relation between constitution-making and revolution to that between collective interests and constitutional liberty and equality. This collection’s broad scope and nontechnical style will engage scholars from the fields of political theory, social theory, international studies, and law.
Contributors. Andrew Arato, Aharon Barak, Jon Elster, George P. Fletcher, Louis Henkin, Arthur J. Jacobson, Carlos Santiago Nino, Ulrich K. Preuss, David A. J. Richards, Michel Rosenfeld, Dominique Rousseau, András Sajó, Frederick Schauer, Bernhard Schlink, M. M. Slaughter, Cass R. Sunstein, Ruti G. Teitel, Robin West
This comparative study of American state constitutions offers insightful overviews of the general and specific problems that have confronted America’s constitution writers since the founding. Each chapter reflects the constitutional history and theory of a single state, encompassing each document’s structure, content, and evolution.
The text is grounded in the model presented by constitutional scholar Donald S. Lutz in The Origins of American Constitutionalism so that even when a state has a relatively stable constitutional history, Lutz’s framework can be used to measure the evolving meaning of the document. With contributors drawn from state governments as well as academia, this is the first work to offer a framework by which state constitutions can be analyzed in relation to one another and to the federal Constitution.
The volume begins with chapters on the New England, Mid-Atlantic, Border, and Southern states. While regional similarities within and between the New England and Mid-Atlantic states are noteworthy, the colonial aspect of their history laid the foundation for national constitution-making. And while North and South moved in distinct directions, the Border states wrestled with conflicting constitutional traditions in the same way that they wrestled with their place in the Union.
Southern states that seceded are shown to have had a common set of problems in their constitutions, and the post–Civil War South emerged from that conflict with a constitutionalism that was defined for it by the war’s victors. These chapters reveal that constitutional self-definition, while not evident in all of the former Confederate states, has redeveloped in the South in the intervening 140 years.
Sections devoted to the Midwest, the Plains, the Mountain West, the Southwest, and the West reflect the special circumstances of states that arose from American expansion. Chapters describe how states of the Midwest, united by common roots in the Northwest Ordinance, wrote constitutions that were defined by that act’s parameters while reflecting the unique cultural and political realities of each state. Meanwhile, the Plains states developed a constitutionalism that was historically rooted in progressivism and populism, sometimes in the clash between these two ideologies.
Perhaps more than any other region, the Mountain West was defined by the physical landscape, and these chapters relate how those states were able to define their individual constitutional identities in spite of geography rather than because of it. And although western states borrowed heavily from those with much older constitutional traditions, the contributors reveal that they borrowed differently—and in different proportions—in order to craft constitutions that were uniquely adapted to their historical situation and peoples.
This work demonstrates the diversity of our governmental arrangements and provides a virtual introduction to the political culture of each—many offering stories of constitutional foundings that are rich with meaning. Although these fifty documents are defined in a federal context, state constitutions are necessary to complete the constitutionalism of the United States.
With the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, newly formed governments throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet states have created constitutions that provide legal frameworks for the transition to free markets and democracy. In Constitution-Making in the Region of Former Soviet Dominance, Rett R. Ludwikowski offers a comparative study of constitution-making in progress and provides insight into the complex political and social circumstances that are shaping its present and future. The first study of these recent constitutional developments, this book also provides an appendix of all newly ratified constitutions in the region, an essential new reference source for scholars, students, and professionals. Beginning with a review of the constitutional traditions of Eastern and Central Europe, Ludwikowski goes on to offer analysis of the recent process of political change in the region. A second section focuses specifically on the the new constitutions and such issues as the selection of the form of government, concepts of divisions of power, unicameralism vs. bicameralism, the flexibility or rigidity of constitutions as working documents, and the process of reviewing the constitutionality of laws. Individual states as framed in these documents are analyzed in economic, political, and cultural terms. Although it is too soon to fully consider the implementation of these constitutions, special attention is devoted to the effect of reform on human rights protection, a notorious problem of continuing concern in the region. A final section offers an insightful comparative study of constitutional law by reviewing the post-Soviet process of constitution-making against the backdrop of Western constitutional traditions. Constitution-Making in the Region of Former Soviet Dominance is both a comprehensive study of constitutional developments in the former Soviet bloc and a primary reference tool for scholars of constitutional law, and Eastern European and post-Soviet studies.
Because the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court tell us what the Constitution means, they can create constitutional change. For quite some time, general readers who have been interested in understanding those changes have not had a concise volume that explores major decisions in which those changes occur. Traditional casebooks used in law schools typically pay scant attention to the historical and political context in which cases are decided, as well as the motives of litigants, the involvement of interest groups, and the justices' concerns with policy outcomes, even though all these factors are critical to understanding the Court's decisions. Other books do address these concerns, but they almost always focus on a single policy issue rather than on a broader range of constitutional conflicts that populate the Court's docket.
In order to make a wide range of decisions more accessible, Gregg Ivers and Kevin T. McGuire commissioned twenty-two outstanding scholars to write essays on a selected series of Supreme Court cases. Chosen for their contemporary relevance, most of the cases addressed in this informative reader are from the last half-century, extending right up through Bush v. Gore and the 2003 Michigan affirmative action cases.
In each of these roughly two dozen cases, the authors address a number of questions that provide readers with a deeper understanding of the Court and its policies: How did the conflict originate? What role did organized interests have in the case? What did the litigants, personally and professionally, have at stake? What was the practical result of the Court's decision? Did the Court respond to lobbying or public opinion? These detailed historical and personal accounts in this all-new collection of essays offer engaging and illuminating perspectives on law and politics.
Gregg Ivers, Professor of Government at American University, is the author of American Constitutional Law: Power and Politics and To Build a Wall: American Jews and the Separation of Church and State (Virginia). Kevin T. McGuire, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is the author of Understanding the U.S. Supreme Court and The Supreme Court Bar: Legal Elites in the Washington Community (Virginia).
Irreverent, provocative, and engaging, Desperately Seeking Certainty attacks the current legal vogue for grand unified theories of constitutional interpretation. On both the Right and the Left, prominent legal scholars are attempting to build all of constitutional law from a single foundational idea. Dan Farber and Suzanna Sherry find that in the end no single, all-encompassing theory can successfully guide judges or provide definitive or even sensible answers to every constitutional question. Their book brilliantly reveals how problematic foundationalism is and shows how the pragmatic, multifaceted common law methods already used by the Court provide a far better means of reaching sound decisions and controlling judicial discretion than do any of the grand theories.
Federalism—the division of power between national and state governments—has been a divisive issue throughout American history. Conservatives argued in support of federalism and states' rights to oppose the end of slavery, the New Deal, and desegregation. In the 1990s, the Rehnquist Court used federalism to strike down numerous laws of public good, including federal statutes requiring the clean up of nuclear waste and background checks for gun ownership. Now the Roberts Court appears poised to use federalism and states' rights to limit federal power even further.
In this book, Erwin Chemerinsky passionately argues for a different vision: federalism as empowerment. He analyzes and criticizes the Supreme Court's recent conservative trend, and lays out his own challenge to the Court to approach their decisions with the aim of advancing liberty and enhancing effective governance. While the traditional approach has been about limiting federal power, an alternative conception would empower every level of government to deal with social problems. In Chemerinsky's view, federal power should address national problems like environmental protection and violations of civil rights, while state power can be strengthened in areas such as consumer privacy and employee protection.
The challenge for the 21st century is to reinvent American government so that it can effectively deal with enduring social ills and growing threats to personal freedom and civil liberties. Increasing the chains on government—as the Court and Congress are now doing in the name of federalism—is exactly the wrong way to enter the new century. But, an empowered federalism, as Chemerinsky shows, will profoundly alter the capabilities and promise of U.S. government and society.
John Compton shows how evangelicals, not New Deal reformers, paved the way for the most important constitutional developments of the twentieth century. Their early-1800s crusade to destroy property that made immorality possible challenged founding-era legal protections of slavery, lotteries, and liquor sales and opened the door to progressivism.
Originalism is an enormously popular—and equally criticized—theory of constitutional interpretation. As Elena Kagan stated at her confirmation hearing, "We are all originalists." Scores of articles have been written on whether the Court should use originalism, and some have examined how the Court employed originalism in particular cases, but no one has studied the overall practice of originalism.
The primary point of this book is an examination of the degree to which originalism influences the Court's decisions. Frank B. Cross tests this by examining whether originalism appears to constrain the ideological preferences of the justices, which are a demonstrable predictor of their decisions. Ultimately, he finds that however theoretically appealing originalism may seem, the changed circumstances over time and lack of reliable evidence means that its use is indeterminate and meaningless. Originalism can be selectively deployed or manipulated to support and legitimize any decision desired by a justice.
The Federalist Concordance
Edited by Thomas Engeman, Edward J. Erler, and Thomas B. Hofeller University of Chicago Press, 1988 Library of Congress KF4515.E53 1988 | Dewey Decimal 342.73029
The "Federalist" Concordance is an alphabetical index of all but the most common words contained in the Federalist Papers, locating each occurrence of a word by paper number, author, page, and line in the definitive Cooke edition. It also indicates whether each word appears in the text or in a footnote, in italic or boldface type, or within a quotation or parentheses, and it provides information on the number of occurrences of each word and the relative frequency of those occurrences. This edition carries a new table correlating the pages in Cooke with those in other, often used editions of the Federalist—the Rossiter, Wills, Kramnick, Earle, and Great Books editions.
In this groundbreaking study of American imperialism, leading legal scholars address the problem of the U.S. territories. Foreign in a Domestic Sense will redefine the boundaries of constitutional scholarship. More than four million U.S. citizens currently live in five “unincorporated” U.S. territories. The inhabitants of these vestiges of an American empire are denied full representation in Congress and cannot vote in presidential elections. Focusing on Puerto Rico, the largest and most populous of the territories, Foreign in a Domestic Sense sheds much-needed light on the United States’ unfinished colonial experiment and its legacy of racially rooted imperialism, while insisting on the centrality of these “marginal” regions in any serious treatment of American constitutional history. For one hundred years, Puerto Ricans have struggled to define their place in a nation that neither wants them nor wants to let them go. They are caught in a debate too politicized to yield meaningful answers. Meanwhile, doubts concerning the constitutionality of keeping colonies have languished on the margins of mainstream scholarship, overlooked by scholars outside the island and ignored by the nation at large. This book does more than simply fill a glaring omission in the study of race, cultural identity, and the Constitution; it also makes a crucial contribution to the study of American federalism, serves as a foundation for substantive debate on Puerto Rico’s status, and meets an urgent need for dialogue on territorial status between the mainlandd and the territories.
Contributors. José Julián Álvarez González, Roberto Aponte Toro, Christina Duffy Burnett, José A. Cabranes, Sanford Levinson, Burke Marshall, Gerald L. Neuman, Angel R. Oquendo, Juan Perea, Efrén Rivera Ramos, Rogers M. Smith, E. Robert Statham Jr., Brook Thomas, Richard Thornburgh, Juan R. Torruella, José Trías Monge, Mark Tushnet, Mark Weiner
The Great Tradition traces the way in which English constitutional history became a major factor in the development of a national identity that took for granted the superiority of the English as a governing race. In the United States, constitutional history also became an aspect of the United States's self-definition as a nation governed by law. The book's importance lies in the way constitutional history interpreted the past to create a favorable self-image for each country. It deals with constitutional history as a justification for empire, a model for the emergent academic history of the 1870s, a surrogate for political argument in the guise of scholarship, and an element that contributed to the Anglo-American rapprochement before World War I. The book also traces the rise and decline of constitutional history as a fashionable sub-discipline within the academy.
A modern revolutionary's fresh approach to radical thought.
At a time when political paradigms are collapsing, and the death of Marxism and the Left is proclaimed, Insurgencies offers an intellectually invigorating and historically wide-ranging appraisal of the real legacy and promise of revolutionary thought and practice.
At the center of this book is the conflict between "constituent power," the democratic force of revolutionary innovation, and "constituted power," the fixed power of formal constitutions and central authority. This conflict, Antonio Negri argues, defines the drama of modern rebellions, from Machiavelli's Florence and Harrington's England to the American, French, and Russian revolutions. Insurgencies leads to a new notion of how power and action must be understood if we are to achieve a radically democratic future.
After living in exile in France for nearly fourteen years, Antonio Negri is currently serving a jail sentence in Italy, his home country, for his political activism in the 1970s. His conviction, which was based on the substance of his writings, led Michel Foucault to ask, "Isn't he in prison simply for being an intellectual?" Negri's works in English include The Savage Anomaly (1991) and, with Michael Hardt, Labor of Dionysus (1994).
Maurizia Boscagli is associate professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
"Contemporary theory has usefully analyzed how alternative modes of interpretation produce different meanings, how reading itself is constituted by the variable perspectives of readers, and how these perspectives are in turn defined by prejudices, ideologies, interests, and so forth. Some theorists gave argued persuasively that textual meaning, in literature and in literary interpretation, is structured by repression and forgetting, by what the literary or critical text does not say as much as by what it does. All these claims are directly relevant to legal hermeneutics, and thus it is no surprise that legal theorists have recently been turning to literary theory for potential insight into the interpretation of law. This collection of essays is designed to represent the especially rich interactive that has taken place between legal and literary hermeneutics during the past ten years."
Interpreting State Constitutions examines and proposes a solution to a problem central to contemporary debates over the enforcement of civil liberties: how courts, government officials, and lawyers should go about interpreting the constitutions of the American states.
With the Supreme Court's retreat from the aggressive protection of individual rights, state courts have begun to interpret state constitutions to provide broader protection of liberties. This development has reversed the polarity of constitutional politics, as liberals advocate unimpeded state power while conservatives lobby for state subordination to a constitutional law controlled centrally by the Supreme Court.
James A. Gardner here lays out the first fully developed theory of subnational constitutional interpretation. He argues that states are integral components of a national system of overlapping and mutually checking authority and that the purpose of this system is to protect liberty and defend against federal domination. The resulting account provides valuable prescriptive advice to state courts, showing them how to fulfill their responsibilities to the federal system in a way that strengthens American constitutional discourse.
Law and Judicial Duty
Philip HAMBURGER Harvard University Press, 2008 Library of Congress KF4575.H36 2008 | Dewey Decimal 347.7312
Philip Hamburger’s Law and Judicial Duty traces the early history of what is today called "judicial review." The book sheds new light on a host of misunderstood problems, including intent, the status of foreign and international law, the cases and controversies requirement, and the authority of judicial precedent. The book is essential reading for anyone concerned about the proper role of the judiciary.
What was the intended purpose and function of the Bill of Rights? Is the modern understanding of the Bill of Rights the same as that which prevailed when the document was ratified? In Limited Government and the Bill of Rights, Patrick Garry addresses these questions. Under the popular modern view, the Bill of Rights focuses primarily on protecting individual autonomy interests, making it all about the individual. But in Garry’s novel approach, one that tries to address the criticisms of judicial activism that have resulted from the Supreme Court’s contemporary individual rights jurisprudence, the Bill of Rights is all about government—about limiting the power of government. In this respect, the Bill of Rights is consistent with the overall scheme of the original Constitution, insofar as it sought to define and limit the power of the newly created federal government.
Garry recognizes the desire of the constitutional framers to protect individual liberties and natural rights, indeed, a recognition of such rights had formed the basis of the American campaign for independence from Britain. However, because the constitutional framers did not have a clear idea of how to define natural rights, much less incorporate them into a written constitution for enforcement, they framed the Bill of Rights as limited government provisions rather than as individual autonomy provisions. To the framers, limited government was the constitutional path to the maintenance of liberty. Moreover, crafting the Bill of Rights as limited government provisions would not give the judiciary the kind of wide-ranging power needed to define and enforce individual autonomy.
With respect to the application of this limited government model, Garry focuses specifically on the First Amendment and examines how the courts in many respects have already used a limited government model in their First Amendment decision-making. As he discusses, this approach to the First Amendment may allow for a more objective and restrained judicial role than is often applied under contemporary First Amendment jurisprudence.
Limited Government and the Bill of Rights will appeal to anyone interested in the historical background of the Bill of Rights and how its provisions should be applied to contemporary cases, particularly First Amendment cases. It presents an innovativetheory about the constitutional connection between the principle of limited government and the provisions in the Bill of Rights.
From his early years as a small-town lawyer through his rise to the presidency, Abraham Lincoln respected the rule of law. Secession and the Civil War, however, led him to expand presidential power in ways that, over time, transformed American society. In this incisive essay collection, recognized scholars from a variety of academic disciplines—including history, political science, legal studies, and journalism—explore Lincoln’s actions as president and identify within his decision-making process his commitment to law and the principles of the Constitution. In so doing, they demonstrate how wartime pressures and problems required that Lincoln confront the constitutional limitations imposed on the chief executive, and they expose the difficulty and ambiguity associated with the protection of civil rights during the Civil War.
The volume’s contributors not only address specific situations and issues that assisted in Lincoln’s development of a new understanding of law and its application but also show Lincoln’s remarkable presidential leadership. Among the topics covered are civil liberties during wartime; presidential pardons; the law and Lincoln’s decision-making process; Lincoln’s political ideology and its influence on his approach to citizenship; Lincoln’s defense of the Constitution, the Union, and popular government; constitutional restraints on Lincoln as he dealt with slavery and emancipation; the Lieber codes, which set forth how the military should deal with civilians and with prisoners of war; the loyalty (or treason) of government employees, including Lincoln’s domestic staff; and how Lincoln’s image has been used in presidential rhetoric. Although varied in their strategies and methodologies, these essays expand the understanding of Lincoln’s vision for a united nation grounded in the Constitution.
Lincoln, the Law, and Presidential Leadership shows how the sixteenth president’s handling of complicated legal issues during the Civil War, which often put him at odds with the Supreme Court and Congress, brought the nation through the war intact and led to a transformation of the executive branch and American society.
Jack M. Balkin Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress KF4552.B35 2011 | Dewey Decimal 342.73001
Originalism and living constitutionalism, often seen as opposing views, are not in conflict. So argues Jack Balkin, a leading constitutional scholar, in this long-awaited book. Step by step, Balkin shows how both liberals and conservatives play important roles in constitutional construction, and offers a way past the angry polemics of our era.
The Japanese constitution as revised by General MacArthur in 1946, while generally regarded to be an outstanding basis for a liberal democracy, is at the same time widely considered to be—in its Japanese form—an document which is alien and incompatible with Japanese culture. Using both linguistics and historical data, Kyoto Inoue argues that despite the inclusion of alien concepts and ideas, this constitution is nonetheless fundamentally a Japanese document that can stand on its own.
"This is an important book. . . . This is the most significant work on postwar Japanese constitutional history to appear in the West. It is highly instructive about the century-long process of cultural conflict in the evolution of government and society in modern Japan."—Thomas W. Burkman, Monumenta Nipponica
In Making Sense of the Constitution: A Primer on the Supreme Court and Its Struggle to Apply Our Fundamental Law, Walter Frank tackles in a comprehensive but lively manner subjects rarely treated in one volume.
Aiming at both the general reader and students of political science, law, or history, Frank begins with a brief discussion of the nature of constitutional law and why the Court divides so closely on many issues. He then proceeds to an analysis of the Constitution and subsequent amendments, placing them in their historical context. Next, Frank shifts to the Supreme Court and its decisions, examining, among other things, doctrinal developments, the Court’s decision making processes, how justices interact with each other, and the debate over how the Constitution should be interpreted.
The work concludes with a close analysis of Court decisions in six major areas of continuing controversy, including abortion, affirmative action, and campaign finance.
Outstanding by the University Press Books for Public and Secondary Schools
Debate over the relationship between morality and the law characterizes the contemporary discussion of American constitutionalism. Many theorists equate constitutionalism with the social morality of the American community; others deny the existence of such a community and identify constitutionalism simply as the positive law of the state. In this thoughtful and innovative book, H. Jefferson Powell presents a theological interpretation of the connection between constitutionalism and morality. Powell locates the origins of constitutional law in the Enlightenment attempt to control the violence of the state by subjecting power to reason. He then traces constitutionalism's rapid evolution into a tradition of rational inquiry centered in the practice of adjudication and embodied in a community of lawyers and judges. Finally, Powell shows how the tradition's nineteenth-century presuppositions about the autonomy and rationality of constitutional argument have been undermined in the twentieth century, within the constitutional community itself, by the acceptance of a positivist and "democratic" understanding of law. Powell shows how the continued willingness of the courts to resolve moral questions by invoking "the Constitution" has thrown the constitutional tradition into an epistemological crisis. He critiques the work of many major theorists—John Hart Ely, Bruce Ackerman, Frank Michaelman, Rogers Smith, Michael Perry, Mark Tushnet, Robert Bork, Sanford Levinson—who, he claims, persist in attempting to resolve the crisis by redefining constitutionalism as American social morality. With reference to Alasdair MacIntyre's concepts of moral tradition and social practice and John Howard Yoder's theological account of the state, Powell places his analysis of current constitutionalism within a contemporary Christian theological critique of Western liberalism. With certain exceptions, Powell concludes, there are theological grounds in the United States to prefer decision making by elected officials to decision by constitutional courts. Despite the controversial implications for judicial practice and legal argument, Powell ultimately argues that the liberal tradition of rational inquiry--American constitutionalism--be renounced by the Christian community in favor of the majoritarian political process.
In Neglected Policies, Ira L. Strauber challenges scholars and critics of constitutional jurisprudence to think differently about the Constitution and its interpretation. He argues that important aspects of law, policies, and politics are neglected because legal formalisms, philosophical theories, the reasoning of litigators and judges, and even the role of the courts are too often taken for granted. Strauber advocates an alternative approach to thinking about the legal and moral abstractions ordinarily used in constitutional decision making. His approach, which he calls “agnostic skepticism,” interrogates all received jurisprudential notions, abandoning the search for “right answers” to legal questions. It demands that attention be paid to the context-specific, circumstantial social facts relevant to given controversies and requires a habit of mind at home with relativism.
Strauber situates agnostic skepticism within contemporary legal thought, explaining how it draws upon sociological jurisprudence, legal realism, and critical legal studies. Through studies of cases involving pornography, adoption custody battles, flag burning, federalism, and environmental politics, he demonstrates how agnostic skepticism applies to constitutional issues. Strauber contends that training in skeptical critique will enable a new kind of civic education and culture—one in which citizens are increasingly tolerant of the ambiguities and contradictions inherent in the law and politics of a pluralistic society.
Using insights from the social sciences to examine the ways constitutional cases are studied and taught, Neglected Policies will interest scholars of jurisprudence, political science, and the sociology of law.
In 2005, Iraq drafted its first constitution and held the country’s first democratic election in more than fifty years. Even under ideal conditions, drafting a constitution can be a prolonged process marked by contentious debate, and conditions in Iraq are far from ideal: Iraq has long been racked by ethnic and sectarian conflict, which intensified following the American invasion and continues today. This severe division, which often erupted into violence, would not seem to bode well for the fate of democracy. So how is it that Iraq was able to surmount its sectarianism to draft a constitution that speaks to the conflicting and largely incompatible ideological view of the Sunnis, Shi’ah, and Kurds?
Haider Ala Hamoudi served in 2009 as an adviser to Iraq’s Constitutional Review Committee, and he argues here that the terms of the Iraqi Constitution are sufficiently capacious to be interpreted in a variety of ways, allowing it to appeal to the country’s three main sects despite their deep disagreements. While some say that this ambiguity avoids the challenging compromises that ultimately must be made if the state is to survive, Hamoudi maintains that to force these compromises on issues of central importance to ethnic and sectarian identity would almost certainly result in the imposition of one group’s views on the others. Drawing on the original negotiating documents, he shows that this feature of the Constitution was not an act of evasion, as is sometimes thought, but a mark of its drafters’ awareness in recognizing the need to permit the groups the time necessary to develop their own methods of working with one another over time.
In The New Constitutionalism, seven distinguished scholars develop an innovative perspective on the power of institutions to shape politics and political life.
Believing that constitutionalism needs to go beyond the classical goal of limiting the arbitrary exercise of political power, the contributors argue that it should—and can—be designed to achieve economic efficiency, informed democratic control, and other valued political ends. More broadly, they believe that political and social theory needs to turn away from the negativism of critical theory to consider how a good society should be "constituted" and to direct the work of designing institutions that can constitute a "good polity," in both the economic and civic senses.
Stephen L. Elkin and Karol Edward Soltan begin with an overview of constitutionalist theory and a discussion of the new constitutionalism within the broader intellectual and historical context of political and social thought. Charles Anderson, James Ceaser, and the editors then offer different interpretations of the central issues regarding institutional design in a constitutionalist social science, consider various ways of performing the task, and discuss the inadequacy of recent political science to the job it ought to be doing. The book concludes with essays by Ted Lowi, Cass Sunstein and Edwin Haefele which apply these themes to the American regime.
This volume of seven essays on the 1987 Nicaraguan constitution does not accept a priori the judgment that Latin American constitutions are as fragile as egg shells, easily broken and discarded if found to be inconvenient to the interests of the rulers. Rather, they are viewed as being central to understanding political life in contemporary Nicaragua.
The perspectives of the analysts and their conclusions are not consensual. They prohibit glib and facile general conclusions. Some find the constitution to be nothing more than a façade for arbitrary and capricious rule; others that the document reflects clear commitments to the democratic rule of law. Thus far the implementation of the constitution has resulted in the peaceful transition of power from the Sandinistas to the National Opposition Union.
James E. Fleming Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress KF4749.F55 2012 | Dewey Decimal 320.011
Fleming and McClain defend a civic liberalism that takes seriously not just rights but responsibilities and virtues. Issues taken up include same-sex marriage, reproductive freedom, regulation of civil society and the family, education of children, and clashes between First Amendment freedoms of association and religion and antidiscrimination law.
Originalism holds that the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted according to its meaning at the time it was enacted. In their innovative defense of originalism, John McGinnis and Michael Rappaport maintain that the text of the Constitution should be adhered to by the Supreme Court because it was enacted by supermajorities--both its original enactment under Article VII and subsequent Amendments under Article V. A text approved by supermajoritieshas special value in a democracy because it has unusually wide support and thus tends to maximize the welfare of the greatest number.
The authors recognize and respond to many possible objections. Does originalism perpetuate the dead hand of the past? How can originalism be justified, given the exclusion of African Americans and women from the Constitution and many of its subsequent Amendments? What is originalism's place in interpretation, after two hundred years of non-originalist precedent? A fascinating counterfactual they pose is this: had the Supreme Court not interpreted the Constitution so freely, perhaps the nation would have resorted to the Article V amendment process more often and with greater effect. Their book will be an important contribution to the literature on originalism, now the most prominent theory of constitutional interpretation.
The Partial Constitution
Cass R. Sunstein Harvard University Press, 1993 Library of Congress KF4549.S86 1993 | Dewey Decimal 342.7302
Political Political Theory
Jeremy Waldron Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress JA71.W243 2016 | Dewey Decimal 320.01
Political theorists focus on the nature of justice, liberty, and equality while ignoring the institutions through which these ideals are achieved. Political scientists keep institutions in view but deploy a meager set of value-conceptions in analyzing them. A more political political theory is needed to address this gap, Jeremy Waldron argues.
Popular Sovereignty and the Crisis of German Constitutional Law is a historical analysis of competing doctrines of constitutional law during the Weimar Republic. It chronicles the creation of a new constitutional jurisprudence both adequate to the needs of a modern welfare state and based on the principle of popular sovereignty. Peter C. Caldwell explores the legal nature of democracy as debated by Weimar’s political theorists and constitutional lawyers. Laying the groundwork for questions about constitutional law in today’s Federal Republic, this book draws clear and insightful distinctions between strands of positivist and anti-positivist legal thought, and examines their implications for legal and political theory. Caldwell makes accessible the rich literature in German constitutional thought of the Weimar period, most of which has been unavailable in English until now. On the liberal left, Hugo Preuss and Hans Kelsen defended a concept of democracy that made the constitution sovereign and, in a way, created the "Volk" through constitutional procedure. On the right, Carl Schmitt argued for a substantial notion of the "Volk" that could overrule constitutional procedure in a state of emergency. Rudolf Smend and Heinrich Triepel located in the constitution a set of inviolable values of the political community, while Hermann Heller saw in it a guarantee of substantial social equality. Drawing on the work of these major players from the 1920s, Caldwell reveals the various facets of the impassioned constitutional struggles that permeated German legal and political culture during the Weimar Republic.
Reasoning from Race
Serena Mayeri Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress KF4758.M39 2011 | Dewey Decimal 342.730878
In the 1960s and 1970s, analogies between sex discrimination and racial injustice became potent weapons in the battle for women’s rights, as feminists borrowed rhetoric and legal arguments from the civil rights movement. Serena Mayeri’s Reasoning from Race is the first history of this key strategy and its consequences for American law.
Americans tend to believe in government that is transparent and accountable. Those who govern us work for us, and therefore they must also answer to us. But how do we reconcile calls for greater accountability with the competing need for secrecy, especially in matters of national security? Those two imperatives are usually taken to be antithetical, but Heidi Kitrosser argues convincingly that this is not the case—and that our concern ought to lie not with secrecy, but with the sort of unchecked secrecy that can result from “presidentialism,” or constitutional arguments for broad executive control of information.
In Reclaiming Accountability, Kitrosser traces presidentialism from its start as part of a decades-old legal movement through its appearance during the Bush and Obama administrations, demonstrating its effects on secrecy throughout. Taking readers through the key presidentialist arguments—including “supremacy” and “unitary executive theory”—she explains how these arguments misread the Constitution in a way that is profoundly at odds with democratic principles. Kitrosser’s own reading offers a powerful corrective, showing how the Constitution provides myriad tools, including the power of Congress and the courts to enforce checks on presidential power, through which we could reclaim government accountability.
We often hear—with particular frequency during recent Supreme Court nomination hearings—that justices should not create constitutional rights, but should instead enforce the rights that the Constitution enshrines. In Regulatory Rights, Larry Yackle sets out to convince readers that such arguments fundamentally misconceive both the work that justices do and the character of the American Constitution in whose name they do it. It matters who sits on the Supreme Court, he argues, precisely because justices do create individual constitutional rights.
Traversing a wide range of Supreme Court decisions that established crucial precedents about racial discrimination, the death penalty, and sexual freedom, Yackle contends that the rights we enjoy are neither more nor less than what the justices choose to make of them. Regulatory Rights is a bracing read that will be heatedly debated by all those interested in constitutional law and the judiciary.
Not so long ago, being aggressively "pro–free speech" was as closely associated with American political liberalism as being pro-choice, pro–affirmative action, or pro–gun control. With little notice, this political dynamic has been shaken to the core. The Right's First Amendment examines how conservatives came to adopt and co-opt constitutional free speech rights.
In the 1960s, free speech on college campuses was seen as a guarantee for social agitators, hippies, and peaceniks. Today, for many conservatives, it represents instead a crucial shield that protects traditionalists from a perceived scourge of political correctness and liberal oversensitivity. Over a similar period, free market conservatives have risen up to embrace a once unknown, but now cherished, liberty: freedom of commercial expression. What do these changes mean for the future of First Amendment interpretation?
Wayne Batchis offers a fresh entry point into these issues by grounding his study in both political and legal scholarship. Surveying six decades of writings from the preeminent conservative publication National Review alongside the evolving constitutional law and ideological predispositions of Supreme Court justices deciding these issues, Batchis asks the conservative political movement to answer to its judicial logic, revealing how this keystone of our civic American beliefs now carries a much more complex and nuanced political identity.
Saying What the Law Is
Charles Fried Harvard University Press, 2004 Library of Congress KF4550.F728 2004 | Dewey Decimal 342.73
In a few thousand words the Constitution sets up the government of the United States and proclaims the basic human and political rights of its people. From the interpretation and elaboration of those words in over 500 volumes of Supreme Court cases comes the constitutional law that structures our government and defines our individual relationship to that government. This book fills the need for an account of that law free from legal jargon and clear enough to inform the educated layperson, yet which does not condescend or slight critical nuance, so that its judgments and analyses will engage students, practitioners, judges, and scholars.
Taking the reader up to and through such controversial recent Supreme Court decisions as the Texas sodomy case and the University of Michigan affirmative action case, Charles Fried sets out to make sense of the main topics of constitutional law: the nature of doctrine, federalism, separation of powers, freedom of expression, religion, liberty, and equality.
Fried draws on his knowledge as a teacher and scholar, and on his unique experience as a practitioner before the Supreme Court, a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, and Solicitor General of the United States to offer an evenhanded account not only of the substance of constitutional law, but of its texture and underlying themes. His book firmly draws the reader into the heart of today's constitutional battles. He understands what moves today's Court and that understanding illuminates his analyses.
Table of Contents:
1. Doctrine 2. Federalism 3. Separation of Powers 4. Speech 5. Religion 6. Liberty and Property 7. Equality
Notes Table of Cases Index
Reviews of this book: One-time prosecutor, judge, and now Constitutional theorist Fried creates a framework for understanding the role of Constitutional doctrine in dictating and guiding the intricate relationships between government and the political and social structures it purports to control. Fried addresses one of the toughest challenges facing the student of federalism: aside from the powers specifically granted by the Constitution to Congress and the President, what becomes of the rest of the balance of powers that a government might enjoy?...Fried strongly advances the theory that the Constitution was the creation of the states, which transferred some part of their sovereignty to the new national government, rather than an original creation of the sovereign people of the nation as a whole. --Philip Y. Blue, Library Journal
Reviews of this book: Saying What the Law Is offers moderation in almost every sense. Fried dispassionately discusses recent controversies in constitutional law while also spelling out a theory about how the Supreme Court should go about its work. By giving paramount importance to modest and principled judicial decision making, Fried's theory simply continues a distinguished tradition of searching for a principled approach to constitutional law...Saying What the Law Is is important not only for the renewed case it makes for the process tradition, but for its accessibility to the educated layperson. --Andrew J. Morris, Legal Times
Reviews of this book: Saying What the Law Is is an excellent primer on constitutional adjudication...The book is a nuanced presentation of law not just as a set of concepts, but also as a discipline practiced by courts that must translate concepts into doctrine, and apply that doctrine to decide cases. Professor Fried's goal is not simply to lay out the current black letter law, though he does this very well. Rather, it is to convey an understanding of the doctrine...The result is a sophisticated review of the Court's jurisprudence, coupled with insightful proposals for restoring principle to the law in areas where it falls short...In this time of polarizing debate, Fried's book represents a mature reflection on principles, rather than just another salvo in partisan wars. As such, it is a valuable and refreshing contribution. --Kevin J. Doyle, FindLaw
Charles Fried has been, by turns, advocate, judge and scholar in the field of constitutional law. He has now given us a wonderful book on the subject, a work of sparkling intelligence and moral maturity. Fried believes in the possibility of constitutional doctrine, in the careful and reasoned elaboration of constitutional principles over time. For those who think that the work of the Supreme Court is just politics in disguise, Fried's defense of the rule of reason in doctrinal development is a compelling riposte. Never giving up on reason's ambition while remaining clear-eyed about its limits, Fried offers a guide and model for those who hope to understand the work of the Supreme Court as it strives patiently to say what the law is. --Anthony T. Kronman, Dean, Yale Law School
Charles Fried is the ideal guide for the nonspecialist who wants to understand the decisions of the Supreme Court. The book's brilliant exposition ranges from the fundamental principles of constitutional law to the Court's most recent landmark cases. Fried's experience as a professor, a judge, and a frequent practitioner before the Supreme Court makes this an authoritative as well as a very personal volume. It should be read by anyone who wants a deep understanding of how the Supreme Court influences the law and our daily lives. --Martin Feldstein, Professor of Economics, Harvard University and President, National Bureau of Economic Research
To read this book is to enter into a fascinating conversation about the most important constitutional puzzles with a legal thinker of uncommon wisdom, unique experience, and a most unusual immersion in the real world. In Saying What the Law Is, Charles Fried draws brilliantly and elegantly on the unparalleled mix of perspectives that his remarkable life in the law has made possible--a mix that gives rich texture and broadly illuminating power to his understanding both of the basic architecture and of the fascinating oddities of the legal rules and principles through which our Constitution's generalities assume concrete meaning. I find myself no less enlightened by Fried's prose when he is pursuing a line of thought with which I disagree than when he is echoing my own views perfectly. At the same time, he portrays and illustrates the sweeping landscape of constitutional law in a way that should prove accessible as well as intriguing to intelligent non-specialists. This is a book that no one who cares about the United States Constitution should fail to read. --Laurence H. Tribe, Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School
Famously described by Louis Brandeis as "the most comprehensive of rights" and 'the right most valued by civilized men," the right of privacy or autonomy is more embattled during modern times than any other. Debate over its meaning, scope, and constitutional status is so widespread that it all but defines the post-1960s era of constitutional interpretation. Conservative Robert Bork called it "a loose canon in the law," while feminist Catharine MacKinnon attacked it as the “right of men to be left alone to oppress women.” Can a right with such prominent critics from across the political spectrum be grounded in constitutional law?
In this book, James Fleming responds to these controversies by arguing that the right to privacy or autonomy should be grounded in a theory of securing constitutional democracy. His framework seeks to secure the basic liberties that are preconditions for deliberative democracy—to allow citizens to deliberate about the institutions and policies of their government—as well as deliberative autonomy—to enable citizens to deliberate about the conduct of their own lives. Together, Fleming shows, these two preconditions can afford everyone the status of free and equal citizenship in our morally pluralistic constitutional democracy.
Semblances of Sovereignty
Thomas Alexander ALEINIKOFF Harvard University Press, 2002 Library of Congress KF4552.A43 2002 | Dewey Decimal 342.7302
In a set of cases decided at the end of the nineteenth century, the Supreme Court declared that Congress had "plenary power" to regulate immigration, Indian tribes, and newly acquired territories. Not coincidentally, the groups subject to Congress' plenary power were primarily nonwhite and generally perceived as "uncivilized." The Court left Congress free to craft policies of assimilation, exclusion, paternalism, and domination.
Despite dramatic shifts in constitutional law in the twentieth century, the plenary power case decisions remain largely the controlling law. The Warren Court, widely recognized for its dedication to individual rights, focused on ensuring "full and equal citizenship"--an agenda that utterly neglected immigrants, tribes, and residents of the territories. The Rehnquist Court has appropriated the Warren Court's rhetoric of citizenship, but has used it to strike down policies that support diversity and the sovereignty of Indian tribes.
Attuned to the demands of a new century, the author argues for abandonment of the plenary power cases, and for more flexible conceptions of sovereignty and citizenship. The federal government ought to negotiate compacts with Indian tribes and the territories that affirm more durable forms of self-government. Citizenship should be "decentered," understood as a commitment to an intergenerational national project, not a basis for denying rights to immigrants.
Table of Contents:
1. Introduction 2. The Sovereignty Cases and the Pursuit of an American Nation-State 3. The Citizen-State: From the Warren Court to the Rehnqnist Court 4. Commonwealth and the Constitution: The Case of Puerto Rico 5. The Erosion of American Indian Sovereignty 6. Indian Tribal Sovereignty beyond Plenary Power 7. Plenary Power, Immigration Regulation, and Decentered Citizenship 8. Reconceptualizing Sovereignty: Toward a New American Narrative
Reviews of this book: This book not only provides careful analysis of U.S. Supreme Court and congressional relationships but also could lead to novel studies of rights and obligations in American society. Highly recommended. --Steven Puro, Library Journal
Reviews of this book: Aleinikoff examines sovereignty, citizenship, and the broader concept of membership (aliens as well as citizens) in the American nation-state and suggests that American constitutional law needs "understandings of sovereignty and membership that are supple and flexible, open to new arrangements"...Sure to generate heated debate over the extent to which the rules governing immigration, Indian tribes, and American territories should be altered, this book is required reading for constitutional scholars. --R. J. Steamer, Choice
Amid the overflowing scholarship on American constitutional law, little has been written on this cluster of topics, which go to the core of what sovereignty under the Constitution means. Aleinikoff asks not only how we define "ourselves," but exactly who is authorized to place themselves in the category of insiders empowered to set limits excluding others. The book stands out as a novel, intriguing, and interesting analysis against the sea of sameness found in the constitutional literature. --Philip P. Frickey, Law School, University of California, Berkeley
What lends Aleinikoff's work originality and importance is its synthetic range and the new insights that flow from bringing immigration, Indian, and territorial issues together, and taking on such much criticized anomalies as the plenary power doctrine in their full ambit. In my view, he may well make good on his hope of helping to inspire a new field of sovereignty studies. Certainly, the idea of "problematizing" national citizenship and national sovereignty is afoot in the law schools and, far more so, in sociology, political science, and in various interdisciplinary fields like American Studies, regional studies, and global political economiy and cultural studies. To my knowledge, no one has written a synthetic treatment of these issues that compares with Aleinikoff's in its mastery of constitutional law, its working knowledge or adjacent normative, historical and policy studies, and its intellectual clarity, stylistic grace, and morally sensitive but pragmatic political judgments. --William Forbath, University of Texas at Austin Law School
Ruth A. Miller excavates a centuries-old history of nonhuman and nonbiological constitutional engagement and outlines a robust mechanical democracy that challenges existing theories of liberal and human political participation. Drawing on an eclectic set of legal, political, and automotive texts from France, Turkey, and the United States, she proposes a radical mechanical re-articulation of three of the most basic principles of democracy: vitality, mobility, and liberty.
Rather than defending a grand theory of materialist or posthumanist politics, or addressing abstract concepts or “things” writ large, Miller invites readers into a self-contained history of constitutionalism situated in a focused discussion of automobile traffic congestion in Paris, Istanbul, and Boston. Within the mechanical public sphere created by automotive space, Snarl finds a model of democratic politics that transforms our most fundamental assumptions about the nature, and constitutional potential, of life, movement, and freedom.
The founding of the United States after the American Revolution was so deliberate, so inspired, and so monumental in scope that the key actors considered this new government to be a work of art framed from natural rights. Recognizing the artificial nature of the state, these early politicians believed the culture of a people should inform the development of their governing rules and bodies. Eric Slauter explores these central ideas in this extensive and novel account of the origins and meanings of the Constitution of the United States. Slauter uncovers the hidden cultural histories upon which the document rests, highlights the voices of ordinary people, and considers how the artifice of the state was challenged in its effort to sustain inalienable natural rights alongside slavery and to achieve political secularization at a moment of growing religious expression.
A complement to classic studies of the Constitution’s economic, ideological, and political origins, The State as a Work of Art sheds new light on the origins of the Constitution and on ongoing debates over its interpretation.
The Supreme Court Review, 2013
Edited by Dennis J. Hutchinson, David A. Strauss, and Geoffrey E. Stone University of Chicago Journals, 2014 Library of Congress KF8741.S874 2013
For fifty years, The Supreme Court Review has been lauded for providing authoritative discussion of the Court's most significant decisions. The Review is an in-depth annual critique of the Supreme Court and its work, keeping up on the forefront of the origins, reforms, and interpretations of American law. Recent volumes have considered such issues as post-9/11 security, the 2000 presidential election, cross burning, federalism and state sovereignty, failed Supreme Court nominations, the battles concerning same-sex marriage, and numerous First and Fourth amendment cases.
The U.S. Constitution provides a framework for our laws, but what does it have to say about morality? Paul DeHart ferrets out that document’s implicit moral assumptions as he revisits the notion that constitutions are more than merely practical institutional arrangements. In Uncovering the Constitution’s Moral Design, he seeks to reveal, elaborate, and then evaluate the Constitution’s normative framework to determine whether it is philosophically sound—and whether it makes moral assumptions that correspond to reality.
Rejecting the standard approach of the intellectual historian, DeHart for the first time in constitutional theory applies the method of inference to the best explanation to ascertaining our Constitution’s moral meaning. He distinguishes the Constitution’s intention from the subjective intentions of the framers, teasing out presuppositions that the document makes about the nature of sovereignty, the common good, natural law, and natural rights. He then argues that the Constitution constrains popular sovereignty in a way that entails a real common good, transcendent of human willing and promotive of human well-being, but he points out that while the Constitution presupposes a real common good, it also implies a natural law that prescribes the common good.
In critiquing previous attempts at describing and evaluating the Constitution’s normative framework, DeHart demonstrates that the Constitution’s moral framework corresponds largely to classical moral theory. He challenges the logical coherency of modern moral philosophy, normative positivism, and other theories that the Constitution has been argued to embody and offers a groundbreaking methodology that can be applied to uncovering the normative framework of other constitutions as well.
This cogently argued study shows that the Constitution presupposes a natural law to which human law must conform, and it takes a major step in resolving current debates over the Constitution’s normative framework while remaining detached from the social issues that divide today’s political arena. Uncovering the Constitution’s Moral Design is an original approach to the Constitution that marks a significant contribution to understanding the moral underpinnings of our form of government.
In the study of American government, analysis of state governments is often neglected in favor of concentration on the national system. Certainly in-depth knowledge of our country’s constitutional structure is critical to an understanding of American government, but this continuing inattention to the complexities of state governments has left a hole in the literature available to help us understand the role state governments play in the federal system. State constitutions served as guides for the construction of the U.S. Constitution, but they have their own character and significance. As such, it is imperative that teachers, students, and historians fully understand the creation, administration, and adjudication of state governments.
Understanding Missouri’s Constitutional Government presents a case study in the foundations of state governments. The book provides a sweeping look at the constitutional foundations of the processes of Missouri government. Authors Richard Fulton and Jerry Brekke place Missouri within the context of our larger federal system while using the state’s constitution as a touchstone for the discussion of each element of state government.
Understanding Missouri’s Constitutional Government has a dual framework specifically designed to enhance the reader’s learning experience. First, the essential elements of government outlined in the constitution are introduced, and then analysis and interpretation of each of the document’s articles is covered. This organization permits readers to build an understanding of a particular element—for example, the legislature—by learning its fundamental organization, processes, and purposes in a straightforward manner. After gaining that primary perspective, the reader can use the formal analysis in the second section to explore interpretations of each article. Not only helpful to the general reader, this two-part structure makes the text especially useful in courses on American government, state and local governments, and particularly Missouri government and constitution.
In short, Understanding Missouri’s Constitutional Government is an approachable, valuable exposition on Missouri government as reflected in the day-to-day operations outlined in the Missouri constitution. It fills a significant gap in the literature on the interpretation, use, and operation of state constitutions. Since Missouri law dictates that all levels of education should teach government and constitution at the national and state levels, this book will be an indispensible resource for educators while serving as a valuable reference for journalists and public officials in the state.
Arizona became the nation’s 48th state in 1912 and since that time the Arizona constitution has served as the template by which the state is governed. Toni McClory’s Understanding the Arizona Constitution has offered insight into the inner workings and interpretations of the document—and the government that it established—for almost a decade.
Since the book’s first publication, significant constitutional changes have occurred, some even altering the very structure of state government itself. There have been dramatic veto battles, protracted budget wars, and other interbranch conflicts that have generated landmark constitutional rulings from the state courts. The new edition of this handy reference addresses many of the latest issues, including legislative term limits, Arizona’s new redistricting system, educational issues, like the controversial school voucher program, and the influence of special-interest money in the legislature. A total of 63 propositions have reached the ballot, spawning heated controversies over same-sex marriage, immigration, and other hot-button social issues.
This book is the definitive guide to Arizona government and serves as a solid introductory text for classes on the Arizona Constitution. Extensive endnotes make it a useful reference for professionals within the government. Finally, it serves as a tool for any engaged citizen looking for information about online government resources, administrative rules, and voter rights. Comprehensive and clearly written, this book belongs on every Arizonan’s bookshelf.
An authoritative guide to Arizona government— written in plain language! How do laws make their way through the state legislature?
What are the specific powers of the governor?
How do the courts make public policy?
Can citizens change the constitution? A leading lawyer and college educator who was an assistant attorney general through six governors, Toni McClory has written a definitive guide to Arizona government that is as comprehensive as it is easy to understand. It provides a thorough explanation of the state's constitution and shows the impact that its unique features have had on the everyday operation of the state's political system. Thoroughly up to date and clearly written, this book belongs on every Arizonan's shelf. Much of the information it contains is based on original research compiled by the author from primary sources and draws on her direct experience with government processes, officials, and events. - For concerned citizens, it offers topics of special interest to voters—including facts about initiatives and referenda and a chapter on local government—and contains references to online government resources.
- For lawyers and business people, it makes available a brief yet sophisticated synopsis of state government along with a wealth of citations and supporting detail.
- For students and teachers, it offers an exceptionally readable introductory text that relies heavily on primary sources and features "pro and con" passages-examining both sides of important issues-that are designed to stimulate critical thinking. From administrative rules to water law, Understanding the Arizona Constitution is your complete guide to the inner workings of the state. It is an essential reference for today's citizens and tomorrow's leaders.
Bruce Ackerman offers a sweeping reinterpretation of our nation’s constitutional experience and its promise for the future. Integrating themes from American history, political science, and philosophy, We the People confronts the past, present, and future of popular sovereignty in America. Only this distinguished scholar could present such an insightful view of the role of the Supreme Court. Rejecting arguments of judicial activists, proceduralists, and neoconservatives, Ackerman proposes a new model of judicial interpretation that would synthesize the constitutional contributions of many generations into a coherent whole. The author ranges from examining the origins of the dualist tradition in the Federalist Papers to reflecting upon recent, historic constitutional decisions. The latest revolutions in civil rights, and the right to privacy, are integrated into the fabric of constitutionalism. Today’s Constitution can best be seen as the product of three great exercises in popular sovereignty, led by the Founding Federalists in the 1780s, the Reconstruction Republicans in the 1860s, and the New Deal Democrats in the 1930s.
Ackerman examines the roles played during each of these periods by the Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court. He shows that Americans have built a distinctive type of constitutional democracy, unlike any prevailing in Europe. It is a dualist democracy, characterized by its continuing effort to distinguish between two kinds of politics: normal politics, in which organized interest groups try to influence democratically elected representatives; and constitutional politics, in which the mass of citizens mobilize to debate matters of fundamental principle. Although American history is dominated by normal politics, our tradition places a higher value on mobilized efforts to gain the consent of the people to new governing principles. In a dualist democracy, the rare triumphs of constitutional politics determine the course of normal politics.
More than a decade in the making, and the first of three volumes, this compelling book speaks to all who seek to renew and redefine our civic commitments in the decades ahead.
Constitutional change, seemingly so orderly, formal, and refined, has in fact been a revolutionary process from the first, as Bruce Ackerman makes clear in We the People, Volume 2: Transformations. The Founding Fathers, hardly the genteel conservatives of myth, set America on a remarkable course of revolutionary disruption and constitutional creativity that endures to this day. After the bloody sacrifices of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party revolutionized the traditional system of constitutional amendment as they put principles of liberty and equality into higher law. Another wrenching transformation occurred during the Great Depression, when Franklin Roosevelt and his New Dealers vindicated a new vision of activist government against an assault by the Supreme Court.
These are the crucial episodes in American constitutional history that Ackerman takes up in this second volume of a trilogy hailed as “one of the most important contributions to American constitutional thought in the last half-century” (Cass Sunstein, The New Republic). In each case he shows how the American people—whether led by the Founding Federalists or the Lincoln Republicans or the Roosevelt Democrats—have confronted the Constitution in its moments of great crisis with dramatic acts of upheaval, always in the name of popular sovereignty. A thoroughly new way of understanding constitutional development, We the People, Volume 2: Transformations reveals how America’s “dualist democracy” provides for these populist upheavals that amend the Constitution, often without formalities.
The book also sets contemporary events, such as the Reagan Revolution and Roe v. Wade, in deeper constitutional perspective. In this context Ackerman exposes basic constitutional problems inherited from the New Deal Revolution and exacerbated by the Reagan Revolution, then considers the fundamental reforms that might resolve them. A bold challenge to formalist and fundamentalist views, this volume demonstrates that ongoing struggle over America’s national identity, rather than consensus, marks its constitutional history.
The Civil Rights Revolution carries Bruce Ackerman's sweeping reinterpretation of constitutional history into the era beginning with Brown v Board of Education. Laws that ended Jim Crow and ensured equal rights at work, in schools, and in the voting booth gained congressional approval only after the American people mobilized their support.
In recent years, much political and legal debate has centered on the class action lawsuit. Many lawyers and judges have noted the intense pressure to settle caused by the very filing of a suit. Some contend that the procedure amounts to a form of judicial blackmail. Others counter that it is an effective means of policing corporate behavior and assuring injured victims' fair compensation.
This book represents the first scholarly effort to view the modern class action comprehensively through the lenses of American political and constitutional theory. Redish argues that the modern class action undermines foundational constitutional principles, including procedural due process and separation of powers, and has been improperly transformed from its origins as a complex procedural device into a means for altering controlling substantive law in highly undemocratic ways. Redish proposes an alternative vision of the class action lawsuit, one that is designed to enable the device to serve its valuable procedural purposes without simultaneously contravening core precepts of American constitutional democracy.
Despite its importance to the life of the nation and all its citizens, the Supreme Court remains a mystery to most Americans, its workings widely felt but rarely seen firsthand. In this book, journalists who cover the Court—acting as the eyes and ears of not just the American people, but the Constitution itself—give us a rare close look into its proceedings, the people behind them, and the complex, often fascinating ways in which justice is ultimately served. Their narratives form an intimate account of a year in the life of the Supreme Court. The cases heard by the Surpreme Court are, first and foremost, disputes involving real people with actual stories. The accidents and twists of circumstance that have brought these people to the last resort of litigation can make for compelling drama. The contributors to this volume bring these dramatic stories to life, using them as a backdrop for the larger issues of law and social policy that constitute the Court’s business: abortion, separation of church and state, freedom of speech, the right of privacy, crime, violence, discrimination, and the death penalty. In the course of these narratives, the authors describe the personalities and jurisprudential leanings of the various Justices, explaining how the interplay of these characters and theories about the Constitution interact to influence the Court’s decisions. Highly readable and richly informative, this book offers an unusually clear and comprehensive portrait of one of the most influential institutions in modern American life.
Your Rugged Constitution
Bruce Findlay Stanford University Press, 2014 Library of Congress KF4550.Z9F49 2014 | Dewey Decimal 342.7302
Your Rugged Constitution was first published sixty-four years ago. It quickly became a go-to resource for generations of young Americans (and some older ones too) who wanted to understand the guiding principles of our nation. Now in reissue, this truly rugged and much-admired classic is sure to inform, and also delight readers with its retro 1950s ethos. Your Rugged Constitution proceeds through the text of the Constitution with descriptions that are put in clear, easy-to-understand language, accompanied by commentary and lively drawings so you can easily grasp all the ideas and concepts. Under each section and clause, you (yes, you, fellow American!) learn which powers you give to the federal government, and what you get in return. Your Rugged Constitution helps readers understand that the Constitution is no mere historical document, but an important contract between you and your government.