Author: Leonard W. Levy
Publisher: Ivan R. Dee
Release Date: 2000-08-15
For more than two hundred years a debate has raged between those who believe that jurists should follow the original intentions of the Founding Fathers and those who argue that the Constitution is a living document subject to interpretation by each succeeding generation. The controversy has flared anew in our own time as a facet of the battle between conservatives and liberals. In Original Intent and the Framers' Constitution, the distinguished constitutional scholar Leonard Levy cuts through the Gordian Knot of claim and counterclaim with an argument that is clear, logical, and compelling. Rejecting the views of both left and right, he evaluates the doctrine of "original intent" by examining the sources of constitutional law and landmark cases. Finally, he finds no evidence for grounding the law in original intent. Judicial activism—the constant reinterpretation of the Constitution—he sees as inevitable.
Author: Keith E Whittington
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2009-06-01
This book argues that the Constitution has a dual nature. The first aspect, on which legal scholars have focused, is the degree to which the Constitution acts as a binding set of rules that can be neutrally interpreted and externally enforced by the courts against government actors. This is the process of constitutional interpretation. But according to Keith Whittington, the Constitution also permeates politics itself, to guide and constrain political actors in the very process of making public policy. In so doing, it is also dependent on political actors, both to formulate authoritative constitutional requirements and to enforce those fundamental settlements in the future. Whittington characterizes this process, by which constitutional meaning is shaped within politics at the same time that politics is shaped by the Constitution, as one of construction as opposed to interpretation. Whittington goes on to argue that ambiguities in the constitutional text and changes in the political situation push political actors to construct their own constitutional understanding. The construction of constitutional meaning is a necessary part of the political process and a regular part of our nation's history, how a democracy lives with a written constitution. The Constitution both binds and empowers government officials. Whittington develops his argument through intensive analysis of four important cases: the impeachments of Justice Samuel Chase and President Andrew Johnson, the nullification crisis, and reforms of presidential-congressional relations during the Nixon presidency.
Author: Robert W. Bennett
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Release Date: 2011-06-06
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.
Author: Randy E. Barnett
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2013-11-24
The U.S. Constitution found in school textbooks and under glass in Washington is not the one enforced today by the Supreme Court. In Restoring the Lost Constitution, Randy Barnett argues that since the nation's founding, but especially since the 1930s, the courts have been cutting holes in the original Constitution and its amendments to eliminate the parts that protect liberty from the power of government. From the Commerce Clause, to the Necessary and Proper Clause, to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, to the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court has rendered each of these provisions toothless. In the process, the written Constitution has been lost. Barnett establishes the original meaning of these lost clauses and offers a practical way to restore them to their central role in constraining government: adopting a "presumption of liberty" to give the benefit of the doubt to citizens when laws restrict their rightful exercises of liberty. He also provides a new, realistic and philosophically rigorous theory of constitutional legitimacy that justifies both interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning and, where that meaning is vague or open-ended, construing it so as to better protect the rights retained by the people. As clearly argued as it is insightful and provocative, Restoring the Lost Constitution forcefully disputes the conventional wisdom, posing a powerful challenge to which others must now respond. This updated edition features an afterword with further reflections on individual popular sovereignty, originalist interpretation, judicial engagement, and the gravitational force that original meaning has exerted on the Supreme Court in several recent cases.
Author: Glenn P. Hastedt
Publisher: Nova Publishers
Release Date: 2007-01-01
Genre: Political Science
The American Presidency has become one of the most powerful offices in the world with the ascendency of American power in the 20th century.'White House Studies Compendium' brings together piercing analyses of the American presidency -- dealing with both currect issues and historical events.The compendia are the bound issues of 'White House Studies' with the addition of a comprehensive subject index.
Author: Jack N. Rakove
Release Date: 2010-04-21
Genre: Political Science
From abortion to same-sex marriage, today's most urgent political debates will hinge on this two-part question: What did the United States Constitution originally mean and who now understands its meaning best? Rakove chronicles the Constitution from inception to ratification and, in doing so, traces its complex weave of ideology and interest, showing how this document has meant different things at different times to different groups of Americans. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Donald L. Drakeman
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2010
This provocative book shows how the justices of the United States Supreme Court have used constitutional history, portraying the Framers' actions in a light favoring their own views about how church and state should be separated. Drakeman examines church-state constitutional controversies from the Founding Era to the present, arguing that the Framers originally intended the establishment clause only as a prohibition against a single national church.
Author: Stephen Breyer
Release Date: 2007-12-18
Genre: Political Science
A brilliant new approach to the Constitution and courts of the United States by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.For Justice Breyer, the Constitution’s primary role is to preserve and encourage what he calls “active liberty”: citizen participation in shaping government and its laws. As this book argues, promoting active liberty requires judicial modesty and deference to Congress; it also means recognizing the changing needs and demands of the populace. Indeed, the Constitution’s lasting brilliance is that its principles may be adapted to cope with unanticipated situations, and Breyer makes a powerful case against treating it as a static guide intended for a world that is dead and gone. Using contemporary examples from federalism to privacy to affirmative action, this is a vital contribution to the ongoing debate over the role and power of our courts. From the Trade Paperback edition.
This book explains how the debate over originalism emerged from the interaction of constitutional theory, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and American political development. Refuting the contention that originalism is a recent concoction of political conservatives like Robert Bork, Johnathan O'Neill asserts that recent appeals to the origin of the Constitution in Supreme Court decisions and commentary, especially by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, continue an established pattern in American history. Originalism in American Law and Politics is distinguished by its historical approach to the topic. Drawing on constitutional commentary and treatises, Supreme Court and lower federal court opinions, congressional hearings, and scholarly monographs, O'Neill's work will be valuable to historians, academic lawyers, and political scientists.
Author: Antonin Scalia
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2018-01-30
We are all familiar with the image of the immensely clever judge who discerns the best rule of common law for the case at hand. According to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a judge like this can maneuver through earlier cases to achieve the desired aim—"distinguishing one prior case on his left, straight-arming another one on his right, high-stepping away from another precedent about to tackle him from the rear, until (bravo!) he reaches the goal—good law." But is this common-law mindset, which is appropriate in its place, suitable also in statutory and constitutional interpretation? In a witty and trenchant essay, Justice Scalia answers this question with a resounding negative. In exploring the neglected art of statutory interpretation, Scalia urges that judges resist the temptation to use legislative intention and legislative history. In his view, it is incompatible with democratic government to allow the meaning of a statute to be determined by what the judges think the lawgivers meant rather than by what the legislature actually promulgated. Eschewing the judicial lawmaking that is the essence of common law, judges should interpret statutes and regulations by focusing on the text itself. Scalia then extends this principle to constitutional law. He proposes that we abandon the notion of an everchanging Constitution and pay attention to the Constitution's original meaning. Although not subscribing to the “strict constructionism” that would prevent applying the Constitution to modern circumstances, Scalia emphatically rejects the idea that judges can properly “smuggle” in new rights or deny old rights by using the Due Process Clause, for instance. In fact, such judicial discretion might lead to the destruction of the Bill of Rights if a majority of the judges ever wished to reach that most undesirable of goals. This essay is followed by four commentaries by Professors Gordon Wood, Laurence Tribe, Mary Ann Glendon, and Ronald Dworkin, who engage Justice Scalia’s ideas about judicial interpretation from varying standpoints. In the spirit of debate, Justice Scalia responds to these critics. Featuring a new foreword that discusses Scalia’s impact, jurisprudence, and legacy, this witty and trenchant exchange illuminates the brilliance of one of the most influential legal minds of our time.
Author: Keith E. Whittington
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2018-04-10
Genre: Political Science
Why free speech is the lifeblood of colleges and universities Free speech is under attack at colleges and universities today, with critics on and off campus challenging the value of open inquiry and freewheeling intellectual debate. Too often speakers are shouted down, professors are threatened, and classes are disrupted. In Speak Freely, Keith Whittington argues that universities must protect and encourage free speech because vigorous free speech is the lifeblood of the university. Without free speech, a university cannot fulfill its most basic, fundamental, and essential purposes, including fostering freedom of thought, ideological diversity, and tolerance. Examining such hot-button issues as trigger warnings, safe spaces, hate speech, disruptive protests, speaker disinvitations, the use of social media by faculty, and academic politics, Speak Freely describes the dangers of empowering campus censors to limit speech and enforce orthodoxy. It explains why free speech and civil discourse are at the heart of the university’s mission of creating and nurturing an open and diverse community dedicated to learning. It shows why universities must make space for voices from both the left and right. And it points out how better understanding why the university lives or dies by free speech can help guide everyone—including students, faculty, administrators, and alumni—when faced with difficult challenges such as unpopular, hateful, or dangerous speech. Timely and vitally important, Speak Freely demonstrates why universities can succeed only by fostering more free speech, more free thought—and a greater tolerance for both.
Author: Alexander Somek
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Release Date: 2014-07-31
Originally the constitution was expected to express and channel popular sovereignty. It was the work of freedom, springing from and facilitating collective self-determination. After the Second World War this perspective changed: the modern constitution owes its authority not only to collective authorship, it also must commit itself credibly to human rights. Thus people recede into the background, and the national constitution becomes embedded into one or other system of 'peer review' among nations. This is what Alexander Somek argues is the creation of the cosmopolitan constitution. Reconstructing what he considers to be the three stages in the development of constitutionalism, he argues that the cosmopolitan constitution is not a blueprint for the constitution beyond the nation state, let alone a constitution of the international community; rather, it stands for constitutional law reaching out beyond its national bounds. This cosmopolitan constitution has two faces: the first, political, face reflects the changed circumstances of constitutional authority. It conceives itself as constrained by international human rights protection, firmly committed to combating discrimination on the grounds of nationality, and to embracing strategies for managing its interaction with other sites of authority, such as the United Nations. The second, administrative, face of the cosmopolitan constitution reveals the demise of political authority, which has been traditionally vested in representative bodies. Political processes yield to various, and often informal, strategies of policy co-ordination so long as there are no reasons to fear that the elementary civil rights might be severely interfered with. It represents constitutional authority for an administered world.