The People Themselves

Author: Larry Kramer
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780195306453
Format: PDF, ePub
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Examines the distinct difference between how the people and the founding fathers viewed the new Constitution and how it is interpreted over two hundred years later and maintains that originally the people were the ones responsible for seeing that its concepts were properly implemented.

The people themselves

Author: Larry Kramer
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780195169188
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The United States Constitution is the foundation of the longest and most successful democratic experiment in modern human history. It serves not only as legal bedrock for the world's most powerful nation-state, but also, more broadly, it reflects that nation's fundamental aspirations and commitments as a society. Who then has the authority to interpret a blueprint of such extraordinary influence? Americans have come to treat the Constitution as something beyond their competence, something whose meaning should be decided by judges, assisted by a cadre of trained lawyers and academics. Yet this submission to a lawyerly elite is a radical and troublesome departure from what was originally the case. For America's founding generation celebrated the central role of "the people" in supplying government with its energy and direction. In this groundbreaking interpretation of America's founding and its concept of constitutionalism, Larry Kramer reveals how the first generations of Americans fought for and gave birth to a very different system from our current one and held a very different understanding of citizenship from that of most Americans today. "Popular sovereignty" was more than an empty abstraction, more than a mythic philosophical justification for government, and the idea of "the people" was more than a flip rhetorical gesture to be used on the campaign trail. Ordinary Americans exercised active control and sovereignty over their Constitution. The constitutionality of governmental action met with vigorous public debate in struggles whose outcomes might be greeted with celebratory feasts and bonfires, or with belligerent resistance. The Constitution remained, fundamentally, an act of popular will: the people's charter, made by the people. And it was "the people themselves" who were responsible for seeing that it was properly interpreted and implemented. With this book, Larry Kramer vaults to the forefront of constitutional theory and interpretation. In the process, he rekindles the original spark of "We, the People," inviting every citizen to join him in reclaiming the Constitution's legacy as, in Franklin D. Roosevelt's words, "a layman's instrument of government" and not "a lawyer's contract."

The Civic Constitution

Author: Elizabeth Beaumont
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199940061
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The Civic Constitution provides a compelling case for rethinking the U.S. Constitution. By exploring pivotal struggles over governmental power, individual rights, and the boundaries of citizenship, this book challenges reigning approaches and reveals the profound importance of 'civic founders' who worked to reinvent the constitutional order.

Towards Juristocracy

Author: Ran Hirschl
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674038677
Format: PDF, ePub
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In countries and supranational entities around the globe, constitutional reform has transferred an unprecedented amount of power from representative institutions to judiciaries. The constitutionalization of rights and the establishment of judicial review are widely believed to have benevolent and progressive origins, and significant redistributive, power-diffusing consequences. Ran Hirschl challenges this conventional wisdom. Drawing upon a comprehensive comparative inquiry into the political origins and legal consequences of the recent constitutional revolutions in Canada, Israel, New Zealand, and South Africa, Hirschl shows that the trend toward constitutionalization is hardly driven by politicians' genuine commitment to democracy, social justice, or universal rights. Rather, it is best understood as the product of a strategic interplay among hegemonic yet threatened political elites, influential economic stakeholders, and judicial leaders. This self-interested coalition of legal innovators determines the timing, extent, and nature of constitutional reforms. Hirschl demonstrates that whereas judicial empowerment through constitutionalization has a limited impact on advancing progressive notions of distributive justice, it has a transformative effect on political discourse. The global trend toward juristocracy, Hirschl argues, is part of a broader process whereby political and economic elites, while they profess support for democracy and sustained development, attempt to insulate policymaking from the vicissitudes of democratic politics.

Weak Courts Strong Rights

Author: Mark Tushnet
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 069114320X
Format: PDF
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Unlike many other countries, the United States has few constitutional guarantees of social welfare rights such as income, housing, or healthcare. In part this is because many Americans believe that the courts cannot possibly enforce such guarantees. However, recent innovations in constitutional design in other countries suggest that such rights can be judicially enforced--not by increasing the power of the courts but by decreasing it. In Weak Courts, Strong Rights, Mark Tushnet uses a comparative legal perspective to show how creating weaker forms of judicial review may actually allow for stronger social welfare rights under American constitutional law. Under "strong-form" judicial review, as in the United States, judicial interpretations of the constitution are binding on other branches of government. In contrast, "weak-form" review allows the legislature and executive to reject constitutional rulings by the judiciary--as long as they do so publicly. Tushnet describes how weak-form review works in Great Britain and Canada and discusses the extent to which legislatures can be expected to enforce constitutional norms on their own. With that background, he turns to social welfare rights, explaining the connection between the "state action" or "horizontal effect" doctrine and the enforcement of social welfare rights. Tushnet then draws together the analysis of weak-form review and that of social welfare rights, explaining how weak-form review could be used to enforce those rights. He demonstrates that there is a clear judicial path--not an insurmountable judicial hurdle--to better enforcement of constitutional social welfare rights.

Justice in Plainclothes

Author: Lawrence G. Sager
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300129199
Format: PDF, ePub
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In this important book, Lawrence Sager, a leading constitutional theorist, offers a lucid understanding and compelling defense of American constitutional practice. Sager treats judges as active partners in the enterprise of securing the fundamentals of political justice, and sees the process of constitutional adjudication as a promising and distinctly democratic addition to that enterprise. But his embrace of the constitutional judiciary is not unqualified. Judges in Sager’s view should and do stop short of enforcing the whole of the Constitution; and the Supreme Court should welcome rather than condemn the efforts of Congress to pick up the slack. Among the surprising fruits of this justice-seeking account of American constitutional practice are a persuasive case for the constitutional right to secure a materially decent life and sympathy for the obduracy of the Constitution to amendment. No book can end debate in this conceptually tumultuous area; but Justice in Plainclothes is likely to help shape the ongoing debate for years to come.

Constitutional Dialogue in Common Law Asia

Author: Po Jen Yap
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 019105593X
Format: PDF, Kindle
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In a comprehensive examination of the constitutional systems of Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore, Po Jen Yap contributes to a field that has traditionally focussed on Western jurisdictions. Drawing on the history and constitutional framework of these Asian law systems, this book examines the political structures and traditions that were inherited from the British colonial government and the major constitutional developments since decolonization. Yap examines the judicial crises that have occurred in each of the three jurisdictions and explores the development of sub-constitutional doctrines that allows the courts to preserve the right of the legislature to disagree with the courts' decisions using the ordinary political processes. The book focusses on how these novel judicial techniques can be applied to four core constitutional concerns: freedom of expression, freedom of religion, right to equality, and criminal due process rights. Each chapter examines one core topic and defends a model of dialogic judicial review that offers a compelling alternative to legislative or judicial supremacy.

The Revolutionary Constitution

Author: David J. Bodenhamer
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 0195378334
Format: PDF
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The Revolutionary Constitution examines how the Constitution has served as a dynamic and contested framework for legitimating power and advancing liberty in which our past concerns and experiences influence our present understanding. Informed by the latest scholarship, the book is an interpretive synthesis linking constitutional history with American political and social history.

Justice in the EU

Author: Floris De Witte
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0198724349
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In Justice in the EU: The Emergence of Transnational Solidarity, Floris de Witte argues that European Union law can be understood as an instrument for the elaboration of what justice is, means, and requires on the level beyond the nation state. Approaching the question of justice from the European perspective, however, challenges us to think beyond the contractarian idea that equates justice with national political self-determination. A proper model of justice demands a tiered institutional and normative understanding of justice, involving both the nation state and the EU, which can make sense of the new ties between individual citizens that the process of European integration continues to generate. It also requires that we construct a theory of transnational solidarity that can explain what those new ties tell us about our transnational obligations of justice. This book tackles three issues in turn. It explains which precise institutional and normative structures are indispensable in the pursuit of justice; how the European Union can be understood to increase our capacity for the attainment of justice; and formulates a theory of transnational solidarity that informs the interaction between national and European spheres. Three different types of transnational solidarity are identified and carefully traced throughout the case law of the Court of Justice: market solidarity, communitarian solidarity, and aspirational solidarity. Read together, these three transnational solidarities tell us exactly what justice means in the EU.