Designing Democracy

Author: Cass R. Sunstein
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 9780195158403
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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A fresh examination of constitutionalism is presented by one of the nation's most respected legal scholars.

The Democratic Constitution

Author: Brian E. Butler
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022647450X
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The Supreme Court is seen today as the ultimate arbiter of the Constitution. Once the Court has spoken, it is the duty of the citizens and their elected officials to abide by its decisions. But the conception of the Supreme Court as the final interpreter of constitutional law took hold only relatively recently. Drawing on the pragmatic ideals characterized by Charles Sanders Peirce, John Dewey, Charles Sabel, and Richard Posner. Brian E. Butler shows how this conception is inherently problematic for a healthy democracy. Butler offers an alternative democratic conception of constitutional law, “democratic experimentalism,” and applies it in a thorough reconstruction of Supreme Court cases across the centuries, such as Brown v. Board of Education, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, and Lochner v. New York. In contrast to the traditional tools and conceptions of legal analysis that see the law as a formally unique and separate type of practice, democratic experimentalism combines democratic aims and experimental practice. Butler also suggests other directions jurisprudential roles could take: for example, adjudication could be performed by primary stakeholders with better information. Ultimately, Butler argues persuasively for a move away from the current absolute centrality of courts toward a system of justice that emphasizes local rule and democratic choice.

The Constitution of the United Kingdom

Author: Peter Leyland
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1847318940
Format: PDF
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This acclaimed book provides a topical and contextual outline of the principles, doctrines and institutions that underpin the United Kingdom constitution. The second edition of The Constitution of the United Kingdom has been extensively rewritten to take account of recent constitutional developments, particularly changes made following the 2010 general election. The chapters are written in sufficient detail for anyone coming to the subject for the first time to develop a clear and informed view of how the constitution is arranged and how it operates. The main themes include: discussion of the history, sources and conventions of the constitution; later chapters deal with: constitutional principles, the role of the Crown, Parliament and the electoral system, government and the executive, the constitutional role of courts including the protection of human rights, the territorial distribution of power between central, devolved and local government, and the European Union dimension. In addition, the book offers an analytical discussion of the development of the constitution, its strengths and perceived weaknesses, and of reforms aimed at its modernisation.

Infotopia

Author: Cass R. Sunstein
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199740970
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The rise of the "information society" offers not only considerable peril but also great promise. Beset from all sides by a never-ending barrage of media, how can we ensure that the most accurate information emerges and is heeded? In this book, Cass R. Sunstein develops a deeply optimistic understanding of the human potential to pool information, and to use that knowledge to improve our lives. In an age of information overload, it is easy to fall back on our own prejudices and insulate ourselves with comforting opinions that reaffirm our core beliefs. Crowds quickly become mobs. The justification for the Iraq war, the collapse of Enron, the explosion of the space shuttle Columbia--all of these resulted from decisions made by leaders and groups trapped in "information cocoons," shielded from information at odds with their preconceptions. How can leaders and ordinary people challenge insular decision making and gain access to the sum of human knowledge? Stunning new ways to share and aggregate information, many Internet-based, are helping companies, schools, governments, and individuals not only to acquire, but also to create, ever-growing bodies of accurate knowledge. Through a ceaseless flurry of self-correcting exchanges, wikis, covering everything from politics and business plans to sports and science fiction subcultures, amass--and refine--information. Open-source software enables large numbers of people to participate in technological development. Prediction markets aggregate information in a way that allows companies, ranging from computer manufacturers to Hollywood studios, to make better decisions about product launches and office openings. Sunstein shows how people can assimilate aggregated information without succumbing to the dangers of the herd mentality--and when and why the new aggregation techniques are so astoundingly accurate. In a world where opinion and anecdote increasingly compete on equal footing with hard evidence, the on-line effort of many minds coming together might well provide the best path to infotopia.

Constitution Writing Religion and Democracy

Author: Aslı Ü. Bâli
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107070511
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This book explores the challenge of crafting a democratic constitution under conditions of deep disagreement over a state's religious or secular identity.

Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict

Author: Cass R. Sunstein
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190864443
Format: PDF, Docs
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In Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict, Cass R. Sunstein, one of America's best known commentators on our legal system, offers a bold, new thesis about how the law should work in America, arguing that the courts best enable people to live together, despite their diversity, by resolving particular cases without taking sides in broader, more abstract conflicts. Professor Sunstein closely analyzes the way the law can mediate disputes in a diverse society, examining how the law works in practical terms, and showing that, to arrive at workable, practical solutions, judges must avoid broad, abstract reasoning. He states that judges purposely limit the scope of their decisions to avoid reopening large-scale controversies, calling such actions incompletely theorized agreements. In identifying them as the core feature of legal reasoning, he takes issue with advocates of comprehensive theories and systemization, from Robert Bork to Jeremy Bentham, and Ronald Dworkin. Equally important, Sunstein goes on to argue that it is the living practice of the nation's citizens that truly makes law. Legal reasoning can seem impenetrable, mysterious, baroque. Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict helps dissolve the mystery. Whether discussing abortion, homosexuality, or free speech, the meaning of the Constitution, or the spell cast by the Warren Court, Cass Sunstein writes with grace and power, offering a striking and original vision of the role of the law in a diverse society. In his flexible, practical approach to legal reasoning, he moves the debate over fundamental values and principles out of the courts and back to its rightful place in a democratic state: to the legislatures elected by the people. In this Second Edition, the author updates the previous edition bringing the book into the current mainstream of twenty-first century legal reasoning and judicial decision-making focusing on the many relevant contemporary issues and developments that occurred since its initial 1996 publication.

What Should Constitutions Do

Author: Ellen Frankel Paul
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139495941
Format: PDF
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The essays in this volume - written by prominent philosophers, political scientists and legal scholars - address the basic purposes of constitutions and their status as fundamental law. Some deal with specific constitutional provisions: they ask, for example, which branches of government should have the authority to conduct foreign policy, or how the judiciary should be organized, or what role a preamble should play in a nation's founding document. Other essays explore questions of constitutional design: they consider the advantages of a federal system of government, or the challenges of designing a constitution for a pluralistic society - or they ask what form of constitution best promotes personal liberty and economic prosperity.

Truth in Virtue of Meaning

Author: Gillian Russell
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199232673
Format: PDF, ePub
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The analytic/synthetic distinction looks simple. It is a distinction between two different kinds of sentence. Synthetic sentences are true in part because of the way the world is, and in part because of what they mean. Analytic sentences - like all bachelors are unmarried and triangles have three sides - are different. They are true in virtue of meaning, so no matter what the world is like, as long as the sentence means what it does, it will be true. This distinction seems powerful because analytic sentences seem to be knowable in a special way. One can know that all bachelors are unmarried, for example, just by thinking about what it means. But many twentieth-century philosophers, with Quine in the lead, argued that there were no analytic sentences, that the idea of analyticity didn't even make sense, and that the analytic/synthetic distinction was therefore an illusion. Others couldn't see how there could fail to be a distinction, however ingenious the arguments of Quine and his supporters. But since the heyday of the debate, things have changed in the philosophy of language. Tools have been refined, confusions cleared up, and most significantly, many philosophers now accept a view of language - semantic externalism - on which it is possible to see how the distinction could fail. One might be tempted to think that ultimately the distinction has fallen for reasons other than those proposed in the original debate. In Truth in Virtue of Meaning, Gillian Russell argues that it hasn't. Using the tools of contemporary philosophy of language, she outlines a view of analytic sentences which is compatible with semantic externalism and defends that view against the old Quinean arguments. She then goes on to draw out the surprising epistemological consequences of her approach.

Choosing Not to Choose

Author: Cass R. Sunstein
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0190231696
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This is among the most significant ways in which they effect social change, yet we are just beginning to understand the power and impact of default rules. Many central questions remain unanswered: When should governments set such defaults, and when should they insist on active choices? How should such defaults be made? What makes some defaults successful while others fail? Cass R. Sunstein has long been at the forefront of developing public policy and regulation to use government power to encourage people to make better decisions. In this major new book, Choosing Not to Choose, he presents his most complete argument yet for how we should understand the value of choice, and when and how we should enable people to choose not to choose. The onset of big data gives corporations and governments the power to make ever more sophisticated decisions on our behalf, defaulting us to buy the goods we predictably want, or vote for the parties and policies we predictably support.