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The People Themselves

Author: Larry Kramer
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780195306453
Size: 53.13 MB
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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
Size: 75.75 MB
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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."

Towards Juristocracy

Author: Ran Hirschl
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674038677
Size: 18.40 MB
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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
Size: 71.36 MB
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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.

The Civic Constitution

Author: Elizabeth Beaumont
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199940061
Size: 43.10 MB
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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.

Common Law Liberty

Author: James Reist Stoner
Publisher:
ISBN:
Size: 60.21 MB
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"In an ere as morally confused as ours, Stoner argues, we at least ought to know what we've abandoned or suppressed in the name of judicial activism and the modern rights-oriented Constitution. Having lost our way, perhaps the common law, in its original sense, provides a way back, a viable alternative to the debilitating relativism of our current age.".

Justice In Plainclothes

Author: Lawrence G. Sager
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300129199
Size: 49.27 MB
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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.

Law And Disagreement

Author: Jeremy Waldron
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191024473
Size: 17.65 MB
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When people disagree about justice and about individual rights, how should political decisions be made among them? How should they decide about issues like tax policy, welfare provision, criminal procedure, discrimination law, hate speech, pornography, political dissent and the limits of religious toleration? The most familiar answer is that these decisions should be made democratically, by majority voting among the people or their representatives. Often, however, this answer is qualified by adding ' providing that the majority decision does not violate individual rights.' In this book Jeremy Waldron has revisited and thoroughly revised thirteen of his most recent essays. He argues that the familiar answer is correct, but that the qualification about individual rights is incoherent. If rights are the very things we disagree about, then we are quarrelling precisely about what that qualification should amount to. At best, what it means is that disagreements about rights should be resolved by some other procedure, for example, by majority voting, not among the people or their representatives, but among judges in a court. This proposal - although initially attractive - seems much less agreeable when we consider that the judges too disagree about rights, and they disagree about them along exactly the same lines as the citizens. This book offers a comprehensive critique of the idea of the judicial review of legislation. The author argues that a belief in rights is not the same as a commitment to a Bill of Rights. He shows the flaws and difficulties in many common defences of the 'democratic' character of judicial review. And he argues for an alternative approach to the problem of disagreement: when disagreements about rights arise, the respectful way to resolve them is by decision-making among the right-holders on a basis that reflects an equal respect for them as the holders of views about rights. This respect for ordinary right-holders, he argues, has been sadly lacking in the theories of justice, rights, and constitutionalism put forward in recent years by philosophers such as John Rawls and Donald Dworkin. But the book is not only about judicial review. The first tranche of essays is devoted to a theory of legislation, a theory which highlights the size, the scale and the diversity of modern legislative assemblies. Although legislation is often denigrated as a source of law, Waldron seeks to restore its tattered dignity. He deprecates the tendency to disparage legislatures and argues that such disparagement is often a way of bolstering the legitimacy of the courts, as if we had to transform our parliaments into something like the American Congress to justify importing American-style judicial reviews. Law and Disagreement redresses the balances in modern jurisprudence. It presents legislation by a representative assembly as a form of law making which is especially apt for a society whose members disagree with one another about fundamental issues of principle, for it is a form of law making that does not attempt to conceal the fact that our decisions are made and claim their authority in the midst of, not in spite of, our political and moral disagreements. This timely rights-based defence of majoritarian legislation will be welcomed by scholars of legal and political philosophy throughout the world.

The Revolutionary Constitution

Author: David J. Bodenhamer
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 0195378334
Size: 43.95 MB
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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.