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Constitutional Interpretation

Author: Sotirios A. Barber
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 0195328582
Size: 70.39 MB
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Ronald Dworkin famously argued that fidelity in interpreting the Constitution as written calls for a fusion of constitutional law and moral philosophy. Barber and Fleming take up that call, arguing for a philosophic approach to constitutional interpretation. In doing so, they systematically critique the competing approaches - textualism, consensualism, originalism, structuralism, doctrinalism, minimalism, and pragmatism - that aim and claim to avoid a philosophic approach. Constitutional Interpretation: The Basic Questions illustrates that these approaches cannot avoid philosophic reflection and choice in interpreting the Constitution. Barber and Fleming contend that fidelity in constitutional interpretation requires a fusion of philosophic and other approaches, properly understood. Within such a fusion, interpreters would begin to think of text, consensus, intentions, structures, and doctrines not as alternatives to, but as sites of philosophic reflection about the best understanding of our constitutional commitments. Constitutional Interpretation: The Basic Questions examines the fundamental inquiries that arise in interpreting constitutional law. In doing so, the authors survey the controversial and intriguing questions that have stirred constitutional debate in the United States for over two centuries, such as: how and for what ends should governmental institutions and powers be arranged; what does the Constitution mean under general circumstances and how should it be interpreted during concrete controversies; and finally how do we decide what our constitution means and who ultimately decides its meaning.

American Constitutional Interpretation

Author: Walter F. Murphy
Publisher: Foundation Pr
ISBN:
Size: 13.34 MB
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This undergaduate text uses original essays, cases and materials to study the very enterprise by which a constitution is interpreted and a constitutional government created. It explores the American polity as both a constitutional and democratic entity. This volume is organized around a set of basic interrogatives: What is the constitution that is to be interpreted? Who are its authoritative interpreters? How do they go about their interpretive tasks?

Great Cases In Constitutional Law

Author: Robert P. George
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400882729
Size: 18.31 MB
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Slavery, segregation, abortion, workers' rights, the power of the courts. These issues have been at the heart of the greatest constitutional controversies in American history. And in this concise and thought-provoking volume, some of today's most distinguished legal scholars and commentators explain for a general audience how five landmark Supreme Court cases centered on those controversies shaped the country's destiny and continue to affect us even now. The book is a profound exploration of the Supreme Court's importance to America's social and political life. It is also, as many of the contributors show, an intriguing reflection of what some have seen as an important trend in legal scholarship away from an uncritical belief in the essentially benign nature of judicial power. Robert George opens with an illuminating survey of the themes that unite and divide the five cases. Other contributors then examine each case in detail through a lively commentary-and-response format. Mark Tushnet and Jeremy Waldron exchange views on Marbury v. Madison, the pivotal 1803 case that established the power of the courts to invalidate legislation. Cass Sunstein and James McPherson discuss Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), the notorious case that confirmed the rights of slaveowners, declared that black people could not be American citizens, and is often seen as a cause of the Civil War. Hadley Arkes and Donald Drakeman explore the legacy of Lochner v. New York (1905), a case that ushered in decades of judicial hostility to social welfare laws. Earl Maltz and Walter Murphy assess Brown v. Topeka Board of Education (1954), the famous case that ended racial segregation in public schools. Finally, Jean Bethke Elshtain and George Will tackle Roe v. Wade (1973), still a flashpoint a quarter of a century later in the debate over abortion. While some of the contributors show sympathy for strong judicial interventions on social issues, many across the ideological spectrum are sharply critical of judicial activism. A compelling introduction to the greatest cases in U.S. constitutional law, this is also an enlightening glimpse of the state of the art in American legal scholarship.

Making Our Democracy Work

Author: Stephen G. Breyer
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307390837
Size: 21.39 MB
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A Supreme Court justice outlines an accessible profile of the legislative branch's duties that explains its responsibility to safeguard the public while ensuring the cooperation of other government branches, sharing the stories behind key historical decisions. By the author of Active Liberty. Reprint. A best-selling book.

Constitutional Interpretation

Author: Craig Ducat
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 1111832986
Size: 42.79 MB
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One of the best-known, most comprehensive, and widely read Constitutional Law textbooks published today, CONSTITUTIONAL INTERPRETATION, Tenth Edition, is updated to reflect current issues and cases relevant to students. CONSTITUTIONAL INTERPRETATION is known for offering a good balance between textual explanation and edited court cases but is written in clear, concise language. The text is popular with instructors because it explains difficult concepts extensively and clearly. In addition, each chapter possesses a stand-alone quality which gives the instructor freedom to use whatever he or she wishes, by chapter and within chapters. Major cases, notes, and charts support the text so students can clearly see how one concept relates to another. Important Notice: Media content referenced within the product description or the product text may not be available in the ebook version.

Interpretation And Legal Theory

Author: Andrei Marmor
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1847310877
Size: 21.73 MB
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This is a revised and extensively rewritten edition of one of the most influential monographs on legal philosophy published in recent years. Writing in the introduction to the first edition the author characterized Anglophone philosophers as being ..."divided, and often waver[ing] between two main philosophical objectives: the moral evaluation of law and legal institutions, and an account of its actual nature." Questions of methodology have therefore tended to be sidelined, but were bound to surface sooner or later, as they have in the later work of Ronald Dworkin. The main purpose of this book is to provide a critical assessment of Dworkin's methodological turn, away from analytical jurisprudence towards a theory of interpretation, and the issues it gives rise to. The author argues that the importance of Dworkin's interpretative turn is not that it provides a substitute for 'semantic theories of law' (a dubious concept), but that it provides a new conception of jurisprudence, aiming to present itself as a comprehensive rival to the conventionalism manifest in legal positivism. Furthermore, once the interpretative turn is regarded as an overall challenge to conventionalism, it is easier to see why it does not confine itself to a critique of method. Law as interpretation calls into question the main tenets of its positivist rival, in substance as well as method. The book re-examines conventionalism in the light of this interpretative challenge.

The Routledge Companion To Philosophy Of Law

Author: Andrei Marmor
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 0415878187
Size: 74.26 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Law provides a comprehensive, non-technical philosophical treatment of the fundamental questions about the nature of law. Its coverage includes law's relation to morality and the moral obligations to obey the law, the main philosophical debates about particular legal areas such as criminal responsibility, property, contracts, family law, law and justice in the international domain, legal paternalism and the rule of law. The entirely new content has been written specifically for newcomers to the field, making the volume particularly useful for undergraduate and graduate courses in philosophy of law and related areas. All 39 chapters, written by the world's leading researchers and edited by an internationally distinguished scholar, bring a focused, philosophical perspective to their subjects. The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Law promises to be a valuable and much consulted student resource for many years.

A Matter Of Interpretation Federal Courts And The Law

Author: Antonin Scalia
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400882958
Size: 60.68 MB
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We are all familiar with the image of the immensely clever judge who discerns the best rule of common law for the case at hand. According to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a judge like this can maneuver through earlier cases to achieve the desired aim—"distinguishing one prior case on his left, straight-arming another one on his right, high-stepping away from another precedent about to tackle him from the rear, until (bravo!) he reaches the goal—good law." But is this common-law mindset, which is appropriate in its place, suitable also in statutory and constitutional interpretation? In a witty and trenchant essay, Justice Scalia answers this question with a resounding negative. In exploring the neglected art of statutory interpretation, Scalia urges that judges resist the temptation to use legislative intention and legislative history. In his view, it is incompatible with democratic government to allow the meaning of a statute to be determined by what the judges think the lawgivers meant rather than by what the legislature actually promulgated. Eschewing the judicial lawmaking that is the essence of common law, judges should interpret statutes and regulations by focusing on the text itself. Scalia then extends this principle to constitutional law. He proposes that we abandon the notion of an everchanging Constitution and pay attention to the Constitution's original meaning. Although not subscribing to the “strict constructionism” that would prevent applying the Constitution to modern circumstances, Scalia emphatically rejects the idea that judges can properly “smuggle” in new rights or deny old rights by using the Due Process Clause, for instance. In fact, such judicial discretion might lead to the destruction of the Bill of Rights if a majority of the judges ever wished to reach that most undesirable of goals. This essay is followed by four commentaries by Professors Gordon Wood, Laurence Tribe, Mary Ann Glendon, and Ronald Dworkin, who engage Justice Scalia’s ideas about judicial interpretation from varying standpoints. In the spirit of debate, Justice Scalia responds to these critics. Featuring a new foreword that discusses Scalia’s impact, jurisprudence, and legacy, this witty and trenchant exchange illuminates the brilliance of one of the most influential legal minds of our time.

Constitutional Construction

Author: Keith E Whittington
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674045156
Size: 60.58 MB
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This book argues that the Constitution has a dual nature. The first aspect, on which legal scholars have focused, is the degree to which the Constitution acts as a binding set of rules that can be neutrally interpreted and externally enforced by the courts against government actors. This is the process of constitutional interpretation. But according to Keith Whittington, the Constitution also permeates politics itself, to guide and constrain political actors in the very process of making public policy. In so doing, it is also dependent on political actors, both to formulate authoritative constitutional requirements and to enforce those fundamental settlements in the future. Whittington characterizes this process, by which constitutional meaning is shaped within politics at the same time that politics is shaped by the Constitution, as one of construction as opposed to interpretation. Whittington goes on to argue that ambiguities in the constitutional text and changes in the political situation push political actors to construct their own constitutional understanding. The construction of constitutional meaning is a necessary part of the political process and a regular part of our nation's history, how a democracy lives with a written constitution. The Constitution both binds and empowers government officials. Whittington develops his argument through intensive analysis of four important cases: the impeachments of Justice Samuel Chase and President Andrew Johnson, the nullification crisis, and reforms of presidential-congressional relations during the Nixon presidency.

Interpreting The Constitution

Author: Kent Greenawalt
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190606479
Size: 72.77 MB
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This third volume about legal interpretation focuses on the interpretation of a constitution, most specifically that of the United States of America. In what may be unique, it combines a generalized account of various claims and possibilities with an examination of major domains of American constitutional law. This demonstrates convincingly that the books major themes not only can be supported by individual examples, but are undeniably in accord with the continuing practice of the United States Supreme Court over time, and cannot be dismissed as misguided. The books central thesis is that strategies of constitutional interpretation cannot be simple, that judges must take account of multiple factors not systematically reducible to any clear ordering. For any constitution that lasts over centuries and is hard to amend, original understanding cannot be completely determinative. To discern what that is, both how informed readers grasped a provision and what were the enactors aims matter. Indeed, distinguishing these is usually extremely difficult, and often neither is really discernible. As time passes what modern citizens understand becomes important, diminishing the significance of original understanding. Simple versions of textualist originalism neither reflect what has taken place nor is really supportable. The focus on specific provisions shows, among other things, the obstacles to discerning original understanding, and why the original sense of proper interpretation should itself carry importance. For applying the Bill of Rights to states, conceptions conceived when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted should take priority over those in 1791. But practically, for courts, to interpret provisions differently for the federal and state governments would be highly unwise. The scope of various provisions, such as those regarding free speech and cruel and unusual punishment, have expanded hugely since both 1791 and 1865. And questions such as how much deference judges should accord the political branches depend greatly on what provisions and issues are involved. Even with respect to single provisions, such as the Free Speech Clause, interpretive approaches have sensibly varied, greatly depending on the more particular subjects involved. How much deference judges should accord political actors also depends critically on the kind of issue involved.