Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy

Author: Nathaniel Persily
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198044054
Release Date: 2008-04-04
Genre: Law

American politics is most notably characterized by the heated debates on constitutional interpretation at the core of its ever-raging culture wars, and the coverage of these lingering disputes are often inundated with public-opinion polls. Yet for all their prominence in contemporary society, there has never been an all-inclusive, systematic study of public opinion and how it impacts the courts and electoral politics. Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy is the first book to provide a comprehensive analysis of American public opinion on the key constitutional controversies of the twentieth century, including desegregation, school prayer, abortion, the death penalty, affirmative action, gay rights, assisted suicide, and national security, to name just a few. With essays focusing on each issue in-depth, Nathaniel Persily, Jack Citrin, Patrick Egan, and an established group of scholars utilize cutting edge public-opinion data to illustrate these contemporary debates, methodically examining each one and how public attitudes have shifted over time, especially in the wake of prominent Supreme Court decisions. More than just a compilation of available data, however, these essays join the "popular constitutionalism" debate between those who advocate a dominant role for courts in constitutional adjudication and those who prefer a more pluralized constitutional discourse. Each essay also vividly details the gap between the public and the Supreme Court on these hotly contested issues and analyzes how and why this divergence of opinion has grown or shrunk over the last fifty years. Ultimately, Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy sheds light on a major yet understudied part of American politics, providing an incisive look at the crucial part played by the voice of the people on the issues that have become an indelible part of the modern-day political landscape.

Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy

Author: Nathaniel Persily
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198044054
Release Date: 2008-04-04
Genre: Law

American politics is most notably characterized by the heated debates on constitutional interpretation at the core of its ever-raging culture wars, and the coverage of these lingering disputes are often inundated with public-opinion polls. Yet for all their prominence in contemporary society, there has never been an all-inclusive, systematic study of public opinion and how it impacts the courts and electoral politics. Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy is the first book to provide a comprehensive analysis of American public opinion on the key constitutional controversies of the twentieth century, including desegregation, school prayer, abortion, the death penalty, affirmative action, gay rights, assisted suicide, and national security, to name just a few. With essays focusing on each issue in-depth, Nathaniel Persily, Jack Citrin, Patrick Egan, and an established group of scholars utilize cutting edge public-opinion data to illustrate these contemporary debates, methodically examining each one and how public attitudes have shifted over time, especially in the wake of prominent Supreme Court decisions. More than just a compilation of available data, however, these essays join the "popular constitutionalism" debate between those who advocate a dominant role for courts in constitutional adjudication and those who prefer a more pluralized constitutional discourse. Each essay also vividly details the gap between the public and the Supreme Court on these hotly contested issues and analyzes how and why this divergence of opinion has grown or shrunk over the last fifty years. Ultimately, Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy sheds light on a major yet understudied part of American politics, providing an incisive look at the crucial part played by the voice of the people on the issues that have become an indelible part of the modern-day political landscape.

Solutions to Political Polarization in America

Author: Nathaniel Persily
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781316300046
Release Date: 2015-04-27
Genre: Political Science

Political polarization dominates discussions of contemporary American politics. Despite widespread agreement that the dysfunction in the political system can be attributed to political polarization, commentators cannot come to a consensus on what that means. The coarseness of our political discourse, the ideological distance between opposing partisans, and, most of all, an inability to pass much-needed and widely supported policies all stem from the polarization in our politics. This volume assembles several top analysts of American politics to focus on solutions to polarization. The proposals range from constitutional change to good-government reforms to measures to strengthen political parties. Each tackles one or more aspects of America's polarization problem. This book begins a serious dialogue about reform proposals to address the obstacles that polarization poses for contemporary governance.

The Soul of the First Amendment

Author: Floyd Abrams
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300190885
Release Date: 2017-04-25
Genre: Law

A lively and controversial overview by the nation's most celebrated First Amendment lawyer of the unique protections for freedom of speech in America The right of Americans to voice their beliefs without government approval or oversight is protected under what may well be the most honored and least understood addendum to the US Constitution--the First Amendment. Floyd Abrams, a noted lawyer and award-winning legal scholar specializing in First Amendment issues, examines the degree to which American law protects free speech more often, more intensely, and more controversially than is the case anywhere else in the world, including democratic nations such as Canada and England. In this lively, powerful, and provocative work, the author addresses legal issues from the adoption of the Bill of Rights through recent cases such as Citizens United. He also examines the repeated conflicts between claims of free speech and those of national security occasioned by the publication of classified material such as was contained in the Pentagon Papers and was made public by WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden.

The Will of the People

Author: Barry Friedman
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 1429989955
Release Date: 2009-09-29
Genre: Law

In recent years, the justices of the Supreme Court have ruled definitively on such issues as abortion, school prayer, and military tribunals in the war on terror. They decided one of American history's most contested presidential elections. Yet for all their power, the justices never face election and hold their offices for life. This combination of influence and apparent unaccountability has led many to complain that there is something illegitimate—even undemocratic—about judicial authority. In The Will of the People, Barry Friedman challenges that claim by showing that the Court has always been subject to a higher power: the American public. Judicial positions have been abolished, the justices' jurisdiction has been stripped, the Court has been packed, and unpopular decisions have been defied. For at least the past sixty years, the justices have made sure that their decisions do not stray too far from public opinion. Friedman's pathbreaking account of the relationship between popular opinion and the Supreme Court—from the Declaration of Independence to the end of the Rehnquist court in 2005—details how the American people came to accept their most controversial institution and shaped the meaning of the Constitution.

The Heart of the Constitution

Author: Gerard Magliocca
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190271602
Release Date: 2018
Genre: History

"This is the untold story of the most celebrated part of the Constitution. Until the twentieth century, few Americans called the first ten amendments the Bill of Rights. When they did after 1900, the Bill of Rights was usually invoked to increase rather than limit federal authority"--

The Constitution in Conflict

Author: Robert Burt
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674165365
Release Date: 1992
Genre: Law

Lincoln was not alone in believing that the Constitution could be interpreted by any of the three branches of the government. Today, however, the Supreme Court's role as the ultimate arbiter of constitutional matters is widely accepted. But as Robert Burt shows in his provocative new book, this was not always the case, nor should it be. In a remarkably innovative reconstruction of constitutional history, Burt traces the controversy over judicial supremacy back to the founding fathers, with Madison and Hamilton as the principal antagonists. The conflicting views these founders espoused--equal interpretive powers among the federal branches on one hand and judicial supremacy on the other--remain plausible readings of "original intent" and so continue to present us with a choice. Drawing extensively on Lincoln's conception of political equality, Burt argues convincingly that judicial supremacy and majority rule are both inconsistent with the egalitarian democratic ideal. The proper task of the judiciary, he contends--as epitomized in Brown v. Board of Education--is to actively protect minorities against "enslaving" legislative defeats while, at the same time, to refrain from awarding conclusive "victory" to these minorities against their adversaries. From this premise, Burt goes on to examine key decisions such as Roe v. Wade, U.S. v. Nixon, and the death penalty cases, all of which demonstrate how the Court has fallen away from egalitarian jurisprudence and returned to an essentially authoritarian conception of its role. With an eye to the urgent issues at stake in these cases, Burt identifies the alternative results that an egalitarian conception of judicial authority would dictate. Thefirst fully articulated presentation of the Constitution as a communally interpreted document in which the Supreme Court plays an important, but not predominant, role, The Constitution in Conflict has dramatic implications for both the theory and the practice of constitutional law

The Oxford Handbook of American Public Opinion and the Media

Author: Robert Y. Shapiro
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780199673025
Release Date: 2013-05-23
Genre: Political Science

With engaging new contributions from the major figures in the fields of the media and public opinion The Oxford Handbook of American Public Opinion and the Media is a key point of reference for anyone working in American politics today.

The Politics of Judicial Independence

Author: Bruce Peabody
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 9780801897719
Release Date: 2011
Genre: Political Science

The judiciary in the United States has been subject in recent years to increasingly vocal, aggressive criticism by media members, activists, and public officials at the federal, state, and local level. This collection probes whether these attacks as well as proposals for reform represent threats to judicial independence or the normal, even healthy, operation of our political system. In addressing this central question, the volume integrates new scholarship, current events, and the perennial concerns of political science and law. The contributors—policy experts, established and emerging scholars, and attorneys—provide varied scholarly viewpoints and assess the issue of judicial independence from the diverging perspectives of Congress, the presidency, and public opinion. Through a diverse range of methodologies, the chapters explore the interactions and tensions among these three interests and the courts and discuss how these conflicts are expressed—and competing interests accommodated. In doing so, they ponder whether the U.S. courts are indeed experiencing anything new and whether anti-judicial rhetoric affords fresh insights. Case studies from Israel, the United Kingdom, and Australia provide a comparative view of judicial controversy in other democratic nations. A unique assessment of the rise of criticism aimed at the judiciary in the United States, The Politics of Judicial Independence is a well-organized and engagingly written text designed especially for students. Instructors of judicial process and judicial policymaking will find the book, along with the materials and resources on its accompanying website, readily adaptable for classroom use.

Gunfight The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America

Author: Adam Winkler
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393082296
Release Date: 2011-09-19
Genre: History

A provocative history that reveals how guns—not abortion, race, or religion—are at the heart of America's cultural divide. Gunfight is a timely work examining America’s four-centuries-long political battle over gun control and the right to bear arms. In this definitive and provocative history, Adam Winkler reveals how guns—not abortion, race, or religion—are at the heart of America’s cultural divide. Using the landmark 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller—which invalidated a law banning handguns in the nation’s capital—as a springboard, Winkler brilliantly weaves together the dramatic stories of gun-rights advocates and gun-control lobbyists, providing often unexpected insights into the venomous debate that now cleaves our nation.

The Case for Contention

Author: Jonathan Zimmerman
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226456348
Release Date: 2017-04-24
Genre: Education

From the fights about the teaching of evolution to the details of sex education, it may seem like American schools are hotbeds of controversy. But as Jonathan Zimmerman and Emily Robertson show in this insightful book, it is precisely because such topics are so inflammatory outside school walls that they are so commonly avoided within them. And this, they argue, is a tremendous disservice to our students. Armed with a detailed history of the development of American educational policy and norms and a clear philosophical analysis of the value of contention in public discourse, they show that one of the best things American schools should do is face controversial topics dead on, right in their classrooms. Zimmerman and Robertson highlight an aspect of American politics that we know all too well: We are terrible at having informed, reasonable debates. We opt instead to hurl insults and accusations at one another or, worse, sit in silence and privately ridicule the other side. Wouldn’t an educational system that focuses on how to have such debates in civil and mutually respectful ways improve our public culture and help us overcome the political impasses that plague us today? To realize such a system, the authors argue that we need to not only better prepare our educators for the teaching of hot-button issues, but also provide them the professional autonomy and legal protection to do so. And we need to know exactly what constitutes a controversy, which is itself a controversial issue. The existence of climate change, for instance, should not be subject to discussion in schools: scientists overwhelmingly agree that it exists. How we prioritize it against other needs, such as economic growth, however—that is worth a debate. With clarity and common-sense wisdom, Zimmerman and Robertson show that our squeamishness over controversy in the classroom has left our students woefully underserved as future citizens. But they also show that we can fix it: if we all just agree to disagree, in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

Constitutional Rights and Powers of the People

Author: Wayne D. Moore
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400887453
Release Date: 2017-03-14
Genre: Law

American constitutionalism rests on premises of popular sovereignty, but serious questions remain about how the "people" and their rights and powers fit into the constitutional design. In a book that will radically reorient thinking about the Constitution and its place in the polity, Wayne Moore moves away from an exclusive focus on courts and judges and considers the following queries: Who is included among the people? How are the people politically configured? How may the people act? And how do the people relate to government and other representative structures? Going beyond though not excluding relevant discussions of specific constitutional texts (such as the preamble, articles V and VII, and the ninth, tenth, and fourteenth amendments), Moore examines historical material from the antebellum period, such as the opinions of U.S. Supreme Court justices in the notorious Dred Scott case and significantly different perspectives from the writings and speeches of Frederick Douglass. He also looks at influential thinking from the founding period and examines precedents set during prominent controversies involving the establishment of a national bank, regulations of the economy, and efforts to limit sexual and reproductive choices. The penultimate chapter explores issues raised by claims of state interpretive autonomy, and the conclusion models various dimensions of the constitutional order as a whole. The book offers fresh insights into central problems of constitutional history, theory, and law. Originally published in 1998. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

The Federalist Papers

Author: Alexander Hamilton
Publisher: The Floating Press
ISBN: 9781775454991
Release Date: 2011-09-01
Genre: Political Science

Perhaps the most essential distillation of the Founders' vision of America, The Federalist Papers consist of a series of 85 essays in favor of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Attributed to Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, the essays tackle an array of topics that are just as relevant today as they were more than 200 years ago, including human rights, republican governance, the proper scope and jurisdiction of a federal government, and much more.

Studies in Law Politics and Society

Author: Austin Sarat
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing
ISBN: 9781848559301
Release Date: 2009-09-17
Genre: Law

Rights and rights talk have a long and storied history and have occupied a crucial place in the ideology of liberal legalism. With the development of Critical Legal Studies in the 1970s and 80s, rights were subject to extensive critique. This work takes stock of the field, charts its progress and points the way for its future development.