Constitutional Interpretation

Author: Sotirios A. Barber
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 9780195328585
Release Date: 2007-06-07
Genre: Law

Ronald Dworkin famously argued that fidelity in interpreting the Constitution as written calls for a fusion of constitutional law and moral philosophy. Barber and Fleming take up that call, arguing for a philosophic approach to constitutional interpretation. In doing so, they systematically critique the competing approaches - textualism, consensualism, originalism, structuralism, doctrinalism, minimalism, and pragmatism - that aim and claim to avoid a philosophic approach. Constitutional Interpretation: The Basic Questions illustrates that these approaches cannot avoid philosophic reflection and choice in interpreting the Constitution. Barber and Fleming contend that fidelity in constitutional interpretation requires a fusion of philosophic and other approaches, properly understood. Within such a fusion, interpreters would begin to think of text, consensus, intentions, structures, and doctrines not as alternatives to, but as sites of philosophic reflection about the best understanding of our constitutional commitments. Constitutional Interpretation: The Basic Questions examines the fundamental inquiries that arise in interpreting constitutional law. In doing so, the authors survey the controversial and intriguing questions that have stirred constitutional debate in the United States for over two centuries, such as: how and for what ends should governmental institutions and powers be arranged; what does the Constitution mean under general circumstances and how should it be interpreted during concrete controversies; and finally how do we decide what our constitution means and who ultimately decides its meaning.

American constitutional interpretation

Author: Walter F. Murphy
Publisher: Foundation Pr
ISBN: STANFORD:36105064230282
Release Date: 2008-04-18
Genre: Law

This undergaduate text uses original essays, cases and materials to study the very enterprise by which a constitution is interpreted and a constitutional government created. It explores the American polity as both a constitutional and democratic entity. This volume is organized around a set of basic interrogatives: What is the constitution that is to be interpreted? Who are its authoritative interpreters? How do they go about their interpretive tasks?

Great Cases in Constitutional Law

Author: Robert P. George
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691049521
Release Date: 2000
Genre: Law

Slavery, segregation, abortion, workers' rights, the power of the courts. These issues have been at the heart of the greatest constitutional controversies in American history. And in this concise and thought-provoking volume, some of today's most distinguished legal scholars and commentators explain for a general audience how five landmark Supreme Court cases centered on those controversies shaped the country's destiny and continue to affect us even now. The book is a profound exploration of the Supreme Court's importance to America's social and political life. It is also, as many of the contributors show, an intriguing reflection of what some have seen as an important trend in legal scholarship away from an uncritical belief in the essentially benign nature of judicial power. Robert George opens with an illuminating survey of the themes that unite and divide the five cases. Other contributors then examine each case in detail through a lively commentary-and-response format. Mark Tushnet and Jeremy Waldron exchange views on Marbury v. Madison, the pivotal 1803 case that established the power of the courts to invalidate legislation. Cass Sunstein and James McPherson discuss Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), the notorious case that confirmed the rights of slaveowners, declared that black people could not be American citizens, and is often seen as a cause of the Civil War. Hadley Arkes and Donald Drakeman explore the legacy of Lochner v. New York (1905), a case that ushered in decades of judicial hostility to social welfare laws. Earl Maltz and Walter Murphy assess Brown v. Topeka Board of Education (1954), the famous case that ended racial segregation in public schools. Finally, Jean Bethke Elshtain and George Will tackle Roe v. Wade (1973), still a flashpoint a quarter of a century later in the debate over abortion. While some of the contributors show sympathy for strong judicial interventions on social issues, many across the ideological spectrum are sharply critical of judicial activism. A compelling introduction to the greatest cases in U.S. constitutional law, this is also an enlightening glimpse of the state of the art in American legal scholarship.

The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law

Author: Andrei Marmor
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9780415878180
Release Date: 2012
Genre: Law

The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Law provides a comprehensive, non-technical philosophical treatment of the fundamental questions about the nature of law. Its coverage includes law's relation to morality and the moral obligations to obey the law, the main philosophical debates about particular legal areas such as criminal responsibility, property, contracts, family law, law and justice in the international domain, legal paternalism and the rule of law. The entirely new content has been written specifically for newcomers to the field, making the volume particularly useful for undergraduate and graduate courses in philosophy of law and related areas. All 39 chapters, written by the world's leading researchers and edited by an internationally distinguished scholar, bring a focused, philosophical perspective to their subjects. The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Law promises to be a valuable and much consulted student resource for many years.

Constitutional Construction

Author: Keith E Whittington
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674045157
Release Date: 2009-06-01
Genre: Law

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.

A Matter of Interpretation Federal Courts and the Law

Author: Antonin Scalia
Publisher:
ISBN: 0691174040
Release Date: 2016-12-06
Genre:

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.

Interpreting Statutes

Author: Stephen Bottomley
Publisher: Federation Press
ISBN: 1862875561
Release Date: 2005-01
Genre: Law

Interpreting Statutes was cited 4 times by the High Court in Momcilovic v The Queen [2011] HCA 34 (8 September 2011)Interpreting Statutes has been written for lawyers and judges who must interpret statutes on a daily basis, as well as for students and scholars who have their own responsibility for the future. This book takes a new approach to statutory interpretation. The authors consider the fundamental importance of context in statutory interpretation across various fields of regulation and explore the problems, which arise from the frequent disjunction between regulatory design and subsequent statutory interpretation. As a result, they bring to the fore fundamental theoretical questions underlying interpretive choice and expand our appreciation of how critical interpretive issues are to the proper functioning of our legal system. The book is divided into two parts. The first covers several areas dealing with fundamental theoretical issues. The second deals with particular areas of the law, such as criminal law or corporate law, addressing the utility and functionality of the general theories from different legal perspectives and illustrating the fact that different interpretive principles may take precedence in different areas of the law. It reveals the complexity of statutory interpretation when applied to actual practice in a particular area of law. Despite this complexity and the unique problems of statutory interpretation within each area of law, some major themes emerge including: the strong influence of constitutional interpretation; tension between common law rights and statutory innovation; questions about the interaction of domestic law with international law; tension between settled judicial principles of interpretation and principles embedded in legislation; issues concerning the interpretation of delegated legislation; and questions about gap filling and discretion in the interpretation of statutes and codes.

Interpreting the Constitution

Author: Kent Greenawalt
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780199756155
Release Date: 2015
Genre: Constitutional law

This title addresses various approaches to interpreting a constitution. It is the third and final volume on legal interpretation, following 'Legal Interpretation: Perspectives from Other Disciplines and Private Texts' and 'Statutory and Common Law Interpretation'. The overall theme is that techniques of constitutional interpretation are multiple and far from simple. They are not reducible to any standard priority or even any non-vague written or verbal systematic account. A great deal depends on the context, most notably the nature of the constitutional provision being interpreted.

Freedom s Law

Author: Ronald Dworkin
Publisher:
ISBN: 0198265573
Release Date: 1999
Genre: Constitutional law

Written by the world's best-known political and legal theorist, Freedom's Law: The Moral Reading of the American Constitution is a collection of essays that discuss almost all of the great constitutional issues of the last two decades, including abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, homosexuality, pornography, and free speech. Professor Dworkin offers a consistently liberal view of the Constitution and argues that fidelity to it and to law demands that judges make moral judgments.He proposes that we all interpret the abstract language of the Constitution by reference to moral principles about political decency and justice. His `moral reading therefore brings political morality into the heart of constitutional law. The various chapters of this book were originally published separately and are now drawn together to provide the reader with a rich, full-length treatment of Dworkin's general theory of law.

Making Our Democracy Work

Author: Stephen G. Breyer
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307390837
Release Date: 2011
Genre: Law

A Supreme Court justice outlines an accessible profile of the legislative branch's duties that explains its responsibility to safeguard the public while ensuring the cooperation of other government branches, sharing the stories behind key historical decisions. By the author of Active Liberty. Reprint. A best-selling book.

Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy

Author: Keith E. Whittington
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400827756
Release Date: 2009-03-09
Genre: Law

Should the Supreme Court have the last word when it comes to interpreting the Constitution? The justices on the Supreme Court certainly seem to think so--and their critics say that this position threatens democracy. But Keith Whittington argues that the Court's justices have not simply seized power and circumvented politics. The justices have had power thrust upon them--by politicians, for the benefit of politicians. In this sweeping political history of judicial supremacy in America, Whittington shows that presidents and political leaders of all stripes have worked to put the Court on a pedestal and have encouraged its justices to accept the role of ultimate interpreters of the Constitution. Whittington examines why presidents have often found judicial supremacy to be in their best interest, why they have rarely assumed responsibility for interpreting the Constitution, and why constitutional leadership has often been passed to the courts. The unprecedented assertiveness of the Rehnquist Court in striking down acts of Congress is only the most recent example of a development that began with the founding generation itself. Presidential bids for constitutional leadership have been rare, but reflect the temporary political advantage in doing so. Far more often, presidents have cooperated in increasing the Court's power and encouraging its activism. Challenging the conventional wisdom that judges have usurped democracy, Whittington shows that judicial supremacy is the product of democratic politics.

Constitutional Interpretation

Author: Craig Ducat
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781111832988
Release Date: 2012-02-16
Genre: Political Science

One of the best-known, most comprehensive, and widely read Constitutional Law textbooks published today, CONSTITUTIONAL INTERPRETATION, Tenth Edition, is updated to reflect current issues and cases relevant to students. CONSTITUTIONAL INTERPRETATION is known for offering a good balance between textual explanation and edited court cases but is written in clear, concise language. The text is popular with instructors because it explains difficult concepts extensively and clearly. In addition, each chapter possesses a stand-alone quality which gives the instructor freedom to use whatever he or she wishes, by chapter and within chapters. Major cases, notes, and charts support the text so students can clearly see how one concept relates to another. Important Notice: Media content referenced within the product description or the product text may not be available in the ebook version.

Fidelity to Our Imperfect Constitution

Author: James E. Fleming
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780199793372
Release Date: 2015-08-14
Genre: Constitutional law

In recent years, some have asked "Are we all originalists now?" and many have assumed that originalists have a monopoly on concern for fidelity in constitutional interpretation. In Fidelity to Our Imperfect Constitution, James Fleming rejects originalisms-whether old or new, concrete or abstract, living or dead. Instead, he defends what Ronald Dworkin called a "moral reading" of the United States Constitution, or a "philosophic approach" to constitutional interpretation. He refers to conceptions of the Constitution as embodying abstract moral and political principles-not codifying concrete historical rules or practices-and of interpretation of those principles as requiring normative judgments about how they are best understood-not merely historical research to discover relatively specific original meanings. Through examining the spectacular concessions that originalists have made to their critics, he shows the extent to which even they acknowledge the need to make normative judgments in constitutional interpretation. Fleming argues that fidelity in interpreting the Constitution as written requires a moral reading or philosophic approach. Fidelity commits us to honoring our aspirational principles, not following the relatively specific original meanings (or original expected applications) of the founders. Originalists would enshrine an imperfect Constitution that does not deserve our fidelity. Only a moral reading or philosophic approach, which aspires to interpret our imperfect Constitution so as to make it the best it can be, gives us hope of interpreting it in a manner that may deserve our fidelity.

Interpretation and Legal Theory

Author: Andrei Marmor
Publisher: Hart Publishing
ISBN: 9781841134246
Release Date: 2005
Genre: Law

This is a revised and extensively rewritten edition of one of the most influential monographs on legal philosophy published in recent years. Writing in the introduction to the first edition the author characterized Anglophone philosophers as being â??â?¦divided, and often waver[ing] between two main philosophical objectives: the moral evaluation of law and legal institutions, and an account of its actual nature.â? Questions of methodology have therefore tended to be sidelined, but were bound to surface sooner or later, as they have in the later work of Ronald Dworkin. The main purpose of this book is to provide a critical assessment of Dworkinâ??s methodological turn, away from analytical jurisprudence towards a theory of interpretation, and the issues it gives rise to. The author argues that the importance of Dworkinâ??s interpretative turn is not that it provides a substitute for â??semantic theories of lawâ? (a dubious concept), but that it provides a new conception of jurisprudence, aiming to present itself as a comprehensive rival to the conventionalism manifest in legal positivism. Furthermore, once the interpretative turn is regarded as an overall challenge to conventionalism, it is easier to see why it does not confine itself to a critique of method. Law as interpretation calls into question the main tenets of its positivist rival, in substance as well as method. The book re-examines conventionalism in the light of this interpretative challenge.