Constitutional Ethos

Author: Alexander Tsesis
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199359844
Release Date: 2017-03-27
Genre: Constitutional law

Judges, courts, and scholars in the United States agree that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, but there is much disagreement about its meaning. So what seems to be incontestable truth is riddled with disagreements about every day questions of decision making on matter such as whether people are entitled to government created programs, what rights are fundamental, the criteria for voting, the three branches of governments' several responsibilities, and even who should have the final say in defining the Constitution's meaning. Constitutional Ethos is a groundbreaking investigation into the fundamental principles of constitutional principle, meaning, and interpretation. It explores the core purposes of American representative democracy in light of historical sources, recent precedents, and contemporary debates. Alexander Tsesis argues that a central norm of U.S. law can be derived from the Declaration of Independence and Preamble. This book develops a theory of constitutional law structured on the public duty to protect individual rights for the general welfare. The maxim of constitutional governance synthesizes the protection of individual and public rights. The ideal is neither solely theoretical nor customary but tied to a firm foundation that the people then build upon by lobbying elected officials and petitioning appointed judges. Representative government has an interlinked obligation to the individual and the general welfare. This paradigm for responsible governance sets the baseline against which citizens can hold policy makers accountable to the structural and normative commitments of the Constitution. A pluralistic system must respect human dignity and govern for the betterment of the body politic. Those mandates set the terms for exercising legitimate power at the federal, state, and local levels to protect individual rights to achieve the common good of civil society. Tsesis demonstrates that ethos is binding on the conduct of all three branches of government and their officeholders. His argument challenges the more common U.S. perspective among academics and judges, who typically discount the existence of any objective constitutional value, regarding the document as a construct of social norms. To the contrary, Tsesis shows that the people established the terms of the nation's founding documents to protect universal, unalienable rights. The structure of government provides the mechanisms of those in a pluralistic state to set reasonable limitations for the betterment of society as a whole. Understanding the Constitution's special place in American legal culture is essential for resolving a host of contemporary issues; including, those involving marital, gender, and voting equalities. The state is a means of optimizing the well-being of individuals. Human productivity can best flourish in a society of equals, where talents can be brought to bear in the betterment of self and other members of the community. The Constitution does not create rights but protects those universal ideals of representative democracy first set out in the Declaration of Independence. It further grants authority to political institutions for the enforcement of policies and concrete laws for the betterment of society or some relevant segment of it. Many scholars with leanings in legal realism and process theory believe the authority of government is a social construct created by popular majorities; Tsesis convincingly demonstrates, to the contrary, that even those laws enacted by popular majorities are not authoritative unless they accord with a central maxim of constitutionalism, which is the protection of individual rights for the common good.

Destructive Messages

Author: Alexander Tsesis
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 9780814782729
Release Date: 2002-08-19
Genre: Law

Destructive Messages argues that hate speech is dangerous not only when it poses an immediate threat of harm. It is also dangerous when it is systematically developed over time, becoming part of a culturally acceptable dialogue which can foster the persecution of minorities. Tsesis traces a causal link between racist and biased rhetoric and injustices like genocide and slavery. He shows that hate speech and propaganda, when left unregulated, can weave animosity into the social fabric to such a great extent that it can cultivate an environment supportive of the commission of hate crimes. Tsesis uses historical examples to illuminate the central role racist speech played in encouraging attitudes that led to human rights violations against German Jews, Native Americans, and African Americans, and also discusses the dangers posed by hate speech spread on the Internet today. He also offers an examination of the psychology of scapegoating. Destructive Messages argues that when hate speech is systematically developed over time it poses an even greater threat than when it creates an immediate clear and present danger. Tsesis offers concrete suggestions concerning how to reform current law in order to protect the rights of all citizens.

Lincoln s Gamble

Author: Todd Brewster
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781451693904
Release Date: 2014-09-09
Genre: History

“A masterful psychological portrait” (George Stephanopoulos) of the most critical six months in Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, when he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation and changed the course of the Civil War. On July 12, 1862, Abraham Lincoln spoke for the first time of his intention to free the slaves. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, doing precisely that. In between, however, was a tumultuous six months, an episode during which the sixteenth president fought bitterly with his generals, disappointed his cabinet, and sank into painful bouts of clinical depression. Most surprising, the man who would be remembered as “The Great Emancipator” did not hold firm to his belief in emancipation. He agonized over the decision and was wracked by private doubts almost to the moment when he inked the decree that would change a nation. It was a great gamble, with the future of the Union, of slavery, and of the presidency itself hanging in the balance. In this compelling narrative, Todd Brewster focuses on this crucial time period to ask: was it through will or by accident, intention or coincidence, personal achievement or historical determinism that he freed the slaves? “Brewster brings elegant clarity to the tangle of conflicting ideologies, loyalties, and practicalities that pushed the proclamation forward” (Publishers Weekly), portraying the president as an imperfect man with an unshakable determination to save a country he believed in, even as the course of the Civil War remained unknown.

Fortune s Fool

Author: Terry Alford
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780195054125
Release Date: 2015

With a single shot from a pistol small enough to conceal in his hand, John Wilkes Booth catapulted into history on the night of April 14, 1865. The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln stunned a nation that was just emerging from the chaos and calamity of the Civil War, and the president's untimely death altered the trajectory of postwar history. But to those who knew Booth, the event was even more shocking-for no one could have imagined that this fantastically gifted actor and well-liked man could commit such an atrocity. In Fortune's Fool, Terry Alford provides the first comprehensive look at the life of an enigmatic figure whose life has been overshadowed by his final, infamous act. Tracing Booth's story from his uncertain childhood in Maryland, characterized by a difficult relationship with his famous actor father, to his successful acting career on stages across the country, Alford offers a nuanced picture of Booth as a public figure, performer, and deeply troubled man. Despite the fame and success that attended Booth's career--he was billed at one point as "the youngest star in the world"--he found himself consumed by the Confederate cause and the desire to help the South win its independence. Alford reveals the tormented path that led Booth to conclude, as the Confederacy collapsed in April 1865, that the only way to revive the South and punish the North for the war would be to murder Lincoln--whatever the cost to himself or others. The textured and compelling narrative gives new depth to the familiar events at Ford's Theatre and the aftermath that followed, culminating in Booth's capture and death at the hands of Union soldiers 150 years ago. Based on original research into government archives, historical libraries, and family records, Fortune's Fool offers the definitive portrait of John Wilkes Booth.

Rather Outspoken

Author: Dan Rather
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 9781455502424
Release Date: 2012-05-01
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

This memoir by Dan Rather is told in a straightforward and conversational voice, and covers all the important moments of his journalistic career, including a frank accounting of his dismissal from CBS, the Abu Ghraib story, the George W. Bush Air National Guard controversy, new insights on the JFK assassination, the origin of "Hurricane Dan" as well as inside stories about all the U.S. Presidents he covered and all the top personalities Dan has either interviewed or worked with over his distinguished career. The book will also include Dan's thoughts on the state of journalism today and what he sees for its future, as well as never-before-revealed personal observations and commentary.

American Character

Author: Colin Woodard
Publisher: Viking
ISBN: 9780525427896
Release Date: 2016-03-15

The struggle between individualism and the good of the community as a whole has been the basis of every major disagreement in America's history, from the debates at the Constitutional Convention to the civil rights movement to the Tea Party. In American Character, Colin Woodard traces these two key strands in American politics through the four centuries of the nation's existence, from the first colonies through the Gilded Age and Great Depression to the present day, and how different regions of the country have successfully or disastrously accommodated them.

Political Liberalism

Author: John Rawls
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231527535
Release Date: 2011-02-10
Genre: Philosophy

This book continues and revises the ideas of justice as fairness that John Rawls presented in A Theory of Justice but changes its philosophical interpretation in a fundamental way. That previous work assumed what Rawls calls a "well-ordered society," one that is stable and relatively homogenous in its basic moral beliefs and in which there is broad agreement about what constitutes the good life. Yet in modern democratic society a plurality of incompatible and irreconcilable doctrines—religious, philosophical, and moral—coexist within the framework of democratic institutions. Recognizing this as a permanent condition of democracy, Rawls asks how a stable and just society of free and equal citizens can live in concord when divided by reasonable but incompatible doctrines? This edition includes the essay "The Idea of Public Reason Revisited," which outlines Rawls' plans to revise Political Liberalism, which were cut short by his death. "An extraordinary well-reasoned commentary on A Theory of Justice...a decisive turn towards political philosophy." —Times Literary Supplement

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Publisher: USCCB Publishing
ISBN: 1574556924
Release Date: 2004
Genre: Religion

The "Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church," a unique, unprecedented document in the history of the Church, serves as a tool to inspire and guide the faithful, who are faced with moral and pastoral challenges daily. It is divided into five sections: an introduction, three parts, and a conclusion entitled "For a Civilization of Love." "The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church" is a must-have resource for leaders of social ministry at the diocesan and parish level as well as those in religious education, schools, and youth and young adult ministry.

Liberal Fascism

Author: Jonah Goldberg
Publisher: Crown Forum
ISBN: 0385517696
Release Date: 2008-01-08
Genre: Political Science

“Fascists,” “Brownshirts,” “jackbooted stormtroopers”—such are the insults typically hurled at conservatives by their liberal opponents. Calling someone a fascist is the fastest way to shut them up, defining their views as beyond the political pale. But who are the real fascists in our midst? Liberal Fascism offers a startling new perspective on the theories and practices that define fascist politics. Replacing conveniently manufactured myths with surprising and enlightening research, Jonah Goldberg reminds us that the original fascists were really on the left, and that liberals from Woodrow Wilson to FDR to Hillary Clinton have advocated policies and principles remarkably similar to those of Hitler's National Socialism and Mussolini's Fascism. Contrary to what most people think, the Nazis were ardent socialists (hence the term “National socialism”). They believed in free health care and guaranteed jobs. They confiscated inherited wealth and spent vast sums on public education. They purged the church from public policy, promoted a new form of pagan spirituality, and inserted the authority of the state into every nook and cranny of daily life. The Nazis declared war on smoking, supported abortion, euthanasia, and gun control. They loathed the free market, provided generous pensions for the elderly, and maintained a strict racial quota system in their universities—where campus speech codes were all the rage. The Nazis led the world in organic farming and alternative medicine. Hitler was a strict vegetarian, and Himmler was an animal rights activist. Do these striking parallels mean that today’s liberals are genocidal maniacs, intent on conquering the world and imposing a new racial order? Not at all. Yet it is hard to deny that modern progressivism and classical fascism shared the same intellectual roots. We often forget, for example, that Mussolini and Hitler had many admirers in the United States. W.E.B. Du Bois was inspired by Hitler's Germany, and Irving Berlin praised Mussolini in song. Many fascist tenets were espoused by American progressives like John Dewey and Woodrow Wilson, and FDR incorporated fascist policies in the New Deal. Fascism was an international movement that appeared in different forms in different countries, depending on the vagaries of national culture and temperament. In Germany, fascism appeared as genocidal racist nationalism. In America, it took a “friendlier,” more liberal form. The modern heirs of this “friendly fascist” tradition include the New York Times, the Democratic Party, the Ivy League professoriate, and the liberals of Hollywood. The quintessential Liberal Fascist isn't an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore. These assertions may sound strange to modern ears, but that is because we have forgotten what fascism is. In this angry, funny, smart, contentious book, Jonah Goldberg turns our preconceptions inside out and shows us the true meaning of Liberal Fascism.

Liberalism or How to Turn Good Men into Whiners Weenies and Wimps

Author: Burgess Owens
Publisher: Post Hill Press
ISBN: 9781682612064
Release Date: 2016-07-19
Genre: History

The black middle class—saviors of the American way. Liberalism or How to Turn Good Men into Whiners, Weenies and Wimps documents the role of the 21 white, self-avowed socialist, atheist and Marxist founders of the NAACP and their impact on the Black community’s present status at the top of our nations misery index. It highlights the decades of anti-Black legislation supported by liberal black leaders who prioritized class over race in their zeal for the promises of socialism. Their anti-Black legislation, dating back with the 1932 Davis-Bacon Act, continues today to suppress inter-community Black capitalism, federal construction related Black employment, work and job experience for Black teenagers, quality education access for urban black children, and the role of black men as leaders within the family unit. Liberalism or How to Turn Good Men into Whiners, Weenies and Wimps highlights the strategy, used in 1910, to inject the atheist ideology of socialism into a once enterprising, self-sufficient, competitive and proud Christian black community. A portion of that community, the conservative Black middle class, is positioned to pull our nation back from this abyss. Americans can ensure that the century-long sacrifice of lost hopes, dreams and lives made by the proud, courageous, patriotic, capitalist, Christian based, self-sufficient, education-seeking Black community of the early 1900s was not in vain—but only if we choose to learn lessons from those past Black generations.


Author: Sanford Levinson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199890750
Release Date: 2012-04-03
Genre: History

In Framed, Levinson challenges our belief that the most important features of our constitutions concern what rights they protect. Instead, he focuses on the fundamental procedures of governance such as congressional bicameralism; the selection of the President by the electoral college, or the dimensions of the President's veto power--not to mention the near impossibility of amending the United States Constitution. These seemingly "settled" and "hardwired" structures contribute to the now almost universally recognized "dysfunctionality" of American politics. Levinson argues that we should stop treating the United States Constitution as uniquely exemplifying the American constitutional tradition. We should be aware of the 50 state constitutions, often interestingly different--and perhaps better--than the national model. Many states have updated their constitutions by frequent amendment or by complete replacement via state constitutional conventions. California's ungovernable condition has prompted serious calls for a constitutional convention. This constant churn indicates that basic law often reaches the point where it fails and becomes obsolete. Given the experience of so many states, he writes, surely it is reasonable to believe that the U.S. Constitution merits its own updating.

Achieving Social Justice

Author: Larissa Behrendt
Publisher: Federation Press
ISBN: 1862874506
Release Date: 2003-01
Genre: Law

Cover artwork: Women Within by Bronwyn Bancroft - Courtesy Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative Shortlisted for the Stanner Award 2004. Larissa Behrendt attacks the chasm which has grown between Indigenous lives and aspirations in Australia, and the psychological terra nullius which continues, despite Mabo, to pervade so much of Australia's mythology and policy. She proposes longer term, aspirational initiatives leading to institutional change that will facilitate greater rights protection and the exercise of self-determination, including: a preamble to the Constitution a treaty the national self-image economic redistribution alternative institutional forms regional framework agreements a more energised politics Constitutional protection.

The Thoughtful Leader

Author: Jim Fisher
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
ISBN: 9781442647985
Release Date: 2016-06-20
Genre: Business & Economics

In The Thoughtful Leader, Jim Fisher provides an invigorating, inclusive and positive framework for teaching current and aspiring leaders in all walks of life.