Cosmic Constitutional Theory

Author: J. Harvie Wilkinson III
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199930074
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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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
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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, Kindle
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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.

More Essential Than Ever

Author: Stephen J. Schulhofer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0195392124
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In this book, Stephen Shulhofer explores the changes wrought by the new surveillance regime through the lens of the Fourth Amendment's meaning and history. companies and the state use to scrutinize us, this book makes a powerful case for the importance of the Fourth Amendment in protecting both privacy rights and civil liberties in our surveillance age.

Constitutional Conscience

Author: H. Jefferson Powell
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226677303
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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While many recent observers have accused American judges—especially Supreme Court justices—of being too driven by politics and ideology, others have argued that judges are justified in using their positions to advance personal views. Advocating a different approach—one that eschews ideology but still values personal perspective—H. Jefferson Powell makes a compelling case for the centrality of individual conscience in constitutional decision making. Powell argues that almost every controversial decision has more than one constitutionally defensible resolution. In such cases, he goes on to contend, the language and ideals of the Constitution require judges to decide in good faith, exercising what Powell calls the constitutional virtues: candor, intellectual honesty, humility about the limits of constitutional adjudication, and willingness to admit that they do not have all the answers. Constitutional Conscience concludes that the need for these qualities in judges—as well as lawyers and citizens—is implicit in our constitutional practices, and that without them judicial review would forfeit both its own integrity and the credibility of the courts themselves.

Keeping Faith with the Constitution

Author: Goodwin Liu
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199752836
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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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.

Radicals in Robes

Author: Cass R. Sunstein
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780786734894
Format: PDF, Mobi
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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.

Constitutional Law and American Democracy

Author: Corey Brettschneider
Publisher: Wolters Kluwer Law and Business
ISBN: 9780735579828
Format: PDF, Kindle
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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

Constitutional Personae

Author: Cass R. Sunstein
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0190222670
Format: PDF, Docs
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"Since America's founding, hundreds of U.S. Supreme Court Justices have issued a vast number of decisions on a staggeringly wide variety of subjects. Yet as the eminent legal scholar, Cass R. Sunstein shows, constitutional law is dominated by a mere quartet of character types, regardless of ideology: the hero, the soldier, the minimalist, and the mute."--

Why Tolerate Religion

Author: Brian Leiter
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 140085234X
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This provocative book addresses one of the most enduring puzzles in political philosophy and constitutional theory—why is religion singled out for preferential treatment in both law and public discourse? Why are religious obligations that conflict with the law accorded special toleration while other obligations of conscience are not? In Why Tolerate Religion?, Brian Leiter shows why our reasons for tolerating religion are not specific to religion but apply to all claims of conscience, and why a government committed to liberty of conscience is not required by the principle of toleration to grant exemptions to laws that promote the general welfare.