Cosmic Constitutional Theory

Author: J. Harvie Wilkinson III
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199930074
Format: PDF, ePub
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American constitutional law has undergone a transformation. Issues once left to the people have increasingly become the province of the courts. Subjects as diverse as abortion rights and firearms regulations, health care reform and counterterrorism efforts, not to mention a millennial presidential election, are more and more the domain of judges. What sparked this development? In this engaging volume, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson argues that America's most brilliant legal minds have launched a set of cosmic constitutional theories that, for all their value, are undermining self-governance. Thinkers as diverse as Justices William Brennan and Antonin Scalia, Professor John Hart Ely, Judges Robert Bork and Richard Posner, have all produced seminal interpretations of our Founding document, but ones that promise to imbue courts with unprecedented powers. While crediting the theorists for the sparkling quality of their thoughts, Judge Wilkinson argues they will slowly erode the role of representative institutions in America and leave our children bereft of democratic liberty. The loser in all the theoretical fireworks is the old and honorable tradition of judicial restraint. The judicial modesty once practiced by Learned Hand, John Harlan, and Oliver Wendell Holmes has given way to competing schools of liberal and conservative activism seeking sanctuary in Living Constitutionalism, Originalism, Process Theory, or the supposedly anti-theoretical creed of Pragmatism. Each of these seemingly disparate theories promises their followers an intellectually respectable route to congenial political outcomes from the bench. Judge Wilkinson calls for a plainer, simpler, self-disciplined commitment to judicial restraint and democratic governance, a course that alas may be impossible so long as the cosmic constitutionalists so dominate contemporary legal thought.

Cosmic Constitutional Theory

Author: J. Harvie Wilkinson
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 0199846014
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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What underlies this development? In this concise and highly engaging work, Federal Appeals Court Judge and noted author (From Brown to Bakke) J. Harvie Wilkinson argues that America's most brilliant legal minds have launched a set of cosmic constitutional theories that, for all their value, are undermining self-governance.

All Falling Faiths

Author: J. Harvie Wilkinson III
Publisher: Encounter Books
ISBN: 1594038929
Format: PDF, Docs
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In this warm and intimate memoir Judge Wilkinson delivers a chilling message. The 1960s inflicted enormous damage on our country; even at this very hour we see the decade’s imprint in so much of what we say and do. The chapters reveal the harm done to the true meaning of education, to our capacity for lasting personal commitments, to our respect for the rule of law, to our sense of rootedness and home, to our desire for service, to our capacity for national unity, to our need for the sustenance of faith. Judge Wilkinson does not seek to lecture but to share in the most personal sense what life was like in the 1960s, and to describe the influence of those frighteningly eventful years upon the present day. Judge Wilkinson acknowledges the good things accomplished by the Sixties and nourishes the belief that we can learn from that decade ways to build a better future. But he asks his own generation to recognize its youthful mistakes and pleads with future generations not to repeat them. The author’s voice is one of love and hope for America. But our national prospects depend on facing honestly the full magnitude of all we lost during one momentous decade and of all we must now recover.

On Constitutional Disobedience

Author: Louis Michael Seidman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199969698
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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What would the Framers of the Constitution make of multinational corporations? Nuclear weapons? Gay marriage? They led a preindustrial country, much of it dependent on slave labor, huddled on the Atlantic seaboard. The Founders saw society as essentially hierarchical, led naturally by landed gentry like themselves. Yet we still obey their commands, two centuries and one civil war later. According to Louis Michael Seidman, it's time to stop. In On Constitutional Disobedience, Seidman argues that, in order to bring our basic law up to date, it needs benign neglect. This is a highly controversial assertion. The doctrine of "original intent" may be found on the far right, but the entire political spectrum--left and right--shares a deep reverence for the Constitution. And yet, Seidman reminds us, disobedience is the original intent of the Constitution. The Philadelphia convention had gathered to amend the Articles of Confederation, not toss them out and start afresh. The "living Constitution" school tries to bridge the gap between the framers and ourselves by reinterpreting the text in light of modern society's demands. But this attempt is doomed, Seidman argues. One might stretch "due process of law" to protect an act of same-sex sodomy, yet a loyal-but-contemporary reading cannot erase the fact that the Constitution allows a candidate who lost the popular election to be seated as president. And that is only one of the gross violations of popular will enshrined in the document. Seidman systematically addresses and refutes the arguments in favor of Constitutional fealty, proposing instead that it be treated as inspiration, not a set of commands. The Constitution is, at its best, a piece of poetry to liberty and self-government. If we treat it as such, the author argues, we will make better progress in achieving both.

Keeping Faith with the Constitution

Author: Goodwin Liu
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199752836
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Chief Justice John Marshall argued that a constitution "requires that only its great outlines should be marked [and] its important objects designated." Ours is "intended to endure for ages to come, and consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs." In recent years, Marshall's great truths have been challenged by proponents of originalism and strict construction. Such legal thinkers as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argue that the Constitution must be construed and applied as it was when the Framers wrote it. In Keeping Faith with the Constitution, three legal authorities make the case for Marshall's vision. They describe their approach as "constitutional fidelity"--not to how the Framers would have applied the Constitution, but to the text and principles of the Constitution itself. The original understanding of the text is one source of interpretation, but not the only one; to preserve the meaning and authority of the document, to keep it vital, applications of the Constitution must be shaped by precedent, historical experience, practical consequence, and societal change. The authors range across the history of constitutional interpretation to show how this approach has been the source of our greatest advances, from Brown v. Board of Education to the New Deal, from the Miranda decision to the expansion of women's rights. They delve into the complexities of voting rights, the malapportionment of legislative districts, speech freedoms, civil liberties and the War on Terror, and the evolution of checks and balances. The Constitution's framers could never have imagined DNA, global warming, or even women's equality. Yet these and many more realities shape our lives and outlook. Our Constitution will remain vital into our changing future, the authors write, if judges remain true to this rich tradition of adaptation and fidelity.

Constitutional Law and American Democracy

Author: Corey Brettschneider
Publisher: Wolters Kluwer Law and Business
ISBN: 9780735579828
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In what promises to become a foundational undergraduate and law school text, Constitutional Law and American Democracy: Cases and Readings goes beyond parsing cases, providing ample

Radicals in Robes

Author: Cass R. Sunstein
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780786734894
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Praised as a must-have primer during the Roberts and Alito hearings, Radicals in Robes offers a rigorous yet accessible analysis of what’s at stake in the judiciary choices made during these warring days of the Warren/Rehnquist legacy. Radicals in Robes pulls away the veil of rhetoric from a dangerous and radical movement and issues a strong and passionate warning about what conservatives really intend.

State Constitutional Law

Author: Randy J. Holland
Publisher: West Academic Publishing
ISBN: 9781634596824
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In this, the second edition of State Constitutional Law: The Modern Experience, the authors present cases, scholarly writings, and other materials about our ever-evolving, ever-more-relevant state charters of government. The casebook starts by placing state constitutions in context--in the context of a federal system that leaves some powers exclusively with the States, delegates some powers exclusively to the Federal Government, and permits overlapping authority by both sovereigns in many areas. The resulting combination of state and federal charters--what might be called American Constitutional Law--presents fruitful opportunities for give and take, for exporting and importing constitutional tools and insights between and among the different sovereigns. The casebook often addresses the point by explaining how the U.S. Constitution deals with an issue before discussing how the state constitutions handle an identical or similar issue. At other times, the casebook explains and illustrates how the state constitutions contain provisions that have no parallel in the U.S. Constitution. A central theme of the book, explored in the context of a variety of constitutional guarantees, is that state constitutions provide a rich source of rights independent of the federal constitution. Considerable space is devoted to the reasons why a state court might construe the liberty and property rights found in their constitutions, to use two prominent examples, more broadly than comparable rights found in the U.S. Constitution. Among the reasons considered are: differences in the text between the state and federal constitutional provisions, the smaller scope of the state courts' jurisdiction, state constitutional history, unique state traditions and customs, and disagreement with the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of similar language. State constitutional law, like its federal counterpart, is not confined to individual rights. The casebook also explores the organization and structure of state and local governments, the method of choosing state judges, the many executive-branch powers found in state constitutions but not in their federal counterpart, the ease with which most state constitutions can be amended, and other topics, such as taxation, public finance and school funding. The casebook is not parochial. It looks at these issues through the lens of important state court decisions from nearly every one of our 50 States. In that sense, it is designed for a survey course, one that does not purport to cover any one State's constitution in detail but that considers the kinds of provisions found in many state charters. Like a traditional contracts, real property or torts textbook, the casebook uses the most interesting state court decisions from around the country to illustrate the astonishing array of state constitutional issues at play in American Constitutional Law. It is difficult to overstate the growing significance of state constitutional law. Many of the ground-breaking constitutional debates of the day are being aired in the state courts under their own constitutions--often as a prelude to debates about whether to nationalize this or that right under the National Constitution. To use the most salient example, it is doubtful that there would have been a national right to marriage equality in 2015, see Obergefell v. Hodges, without the establishment of a Massachusetts right to marry in 2003, see Goodridge v. Department of Public Health. In other areas of constitutional litigation--gun rights, capital punishment, property rights, school funding, free exercise claims, to name but a few--state courts often are the key innovators as well, relying on their own constitutions to address individual rights and structural debates of the twenty-first century. The mission of the casebook is to introduce students to this increasingly significant body of American law and to prepare them to practic

America s Constitution

Author: Akhil Reed Amar
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1588364879
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In America’s Constitution, one of this era’s most accomplished constitutional law scholars, Akhil Reed Amar, gives the first comprehensive account of one of the world’s great political texts. Incisive, entertaining, and occasionally controversial, this “biography” of America’s framing document explains not only what the Constitution says but also why the Constitution says it. We all know this much: the Constitution is neither immutable nor perfect. Amar shows us how the story of this one relatively compact document reflects the story of America more generally. (For example, much of the Constitution, including the glorious-sounding “We the People,” was lifted from existing American legal texts, including early state constitutions.) In short, the Constitution was as much a product of its environment as it was a product of its individual creators’ inspired genius. Despite the Constitution’s flaws, its role in guiding our republic has been nothing short of amazing. Skillfully placing the document in the context of late-eighteenth-century American politics, America’s Constitution explains, for instance, whether there is anything in the Constitution that is unamendable; the reason America adopted an electoral college; why a president must be at least thirty-five years old; and why–for now, at least–only those citizens who were born under the American flag can become president. From his unique perspective, Amar also gives us unconventional wisdom about the Constitution and its significance throughout the nation’s history. For one thing, we see that the Constitution has been far more democratic than is conventionally understood. Even though the document was drafted by white landholders, a remarkably large number of citizens (by the standards of 1787) were allowed to vote up or down on it, and the document’s later amendments eventually extended the vote to virtually all Americans. We also learn that the Founders’ Constitution was far more slavocratic than many would acknowledge: the “three fifths” clause gave the South extra political clout for every slave it owned or acquired. As a result, slaveholding Virginians held the presidency all but four of the Republic’s first thirty-six years, and proslavery forces eventually came to dominate much of the federal government prior to Lincoln’s election. Ambitious, even-handed, eminently accessible, and often surprising, America’s Constitution is an indispensable work, bound to become a standard reference for any student of history and all citizens of the United States.

The Story of American Freedom

Author: Eric Foner
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393319620
Format: PDF, ePub
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Chronicles the history of America's pursuit of liberty, tracing the struggles among freed slaves, union organizers, women rights advocates, and other groups to widen freedom's promise