The People Themselves

Author: Larry D. Kramer
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0195306457
Release Date: 2004
Genre: Law

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: 0195169182
Release Date: 2004-06-10
Genre: Fiction

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 Rescue of Joshua Glover

Author: H. Robert Baker
Publisher: Ohio University Press
ISBN: 9780821442142
Release Date: 2006-12-31
Genre: History

On March 11, 1854, the people of Wisconsin prevented agents of the federal government from carrying away the fugitive slave, Joshua Glover. Assembling in mass outside the Milwaukee courthouse, they demanded that the federal officers respect his civil liberties as they would those of any other citizen of the state. When the officers refused, the crowd took matters into its own hands and rescued Joshua Glover. The federal government brought his rescuers to trial, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court intervened and took the bold step of ruling the Fugitive Slave Act unconstitutional. The Rescue of Joshua Glover delves into the courtroom trials, political battles, and cultural equivocation precipitated by Joshua Glover's brief, but enormously important, appearance in Wisconsin on the eve of the Civil War. H. Robert Baker articulates the many ways in which this case evoked powerful emotions in antebellum America, just as the stage adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin was touring the country and stirring antislavery sentiments. Terribly conflicted about race, Americans struggled mightily with a revolutionary heritage that sanctified liberty but also brooked compromise with slavery. Nevertheless, as The Rescue of Joshua Glover demonstrates, they maintained the principle that the people themselves were the last defenders of constitutional liberty, even as Glover's rescue raised troubling questions about citizenship and the place of free blacks in America.

The Will of the People

Author: Barry Friedman
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 1429989955
Release Date: 2009-09-29
Genre: Law

In recent years, the justices of the Supreme Court have ruled definitively on such issues as abortion, school prayer, and military tribunals in the war on terror. They decided one of American history's most contested presidential elections. Yet for all their power, the justices never face election and hold their offices for life. This combination of influence and apparent unaccountability has led many to complain that there is something illegitimate—even undemocratic—about judicial authority. In The Will of the People, Barry Friedman challenges that claim by showing that the Court has always been subject to a higher power: the American public. Judicial positions have been abolished, the justices' jurisdiction has been stripped, the Court has been packed, and unpopular decisions have been defied. For at least the past sixty years, the justices have made sure that their decisions do not stray too far from public opinion. Friedman's pathbreaking account of the relationship between popular opinion and the Supreme Court—from the Declaration of Independence to the end of the Rehnquist court in 2005—details how the American people came to accept their most controversial institution and shaped the meaning of the Constitution.

Comparative Judicial Review

Author: Erin F. Delaney
Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing
ISBN: 9781788110600
Release Date: 2018-09-28
Genre: Law

Constitutional courts around the world play an increasingly central role in day-to-day democratic governance. Yet scholars have only recently begun to develop the interdisciplinary analysis needed to understand this shift in the relationship of constitutional law to politics. This edited volume brings together the leading scholars of constitutional law and politics to provide a comprehensive overview of judicial review, covering theories of its creation, mechanisms of its constraint, and its comparative applications, including theories of interpretation and doctrinal developments. This book serves as a single point of entry for legal scholars and practitioners interested in understanding the field of comparative judicial review in its broader political and social context.

A Distinct Judicial Power

Author: Scott Douglas Gerber
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199765874
Release Date: 2011-05-05
Genre: Law

This title provides a comprehensive critical analysis of the origins of judicial independence in the United States. The book examines the political theory of an independent judiciary and chronicles how each of the original 13 states and their colonial antecedents treated their respective judiciaries.

The Least Examined Branch

Author: Richard W. Bauman
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139460408
Release Date: 2006-07-31
Genre: Law

Unlike most works in constitutional theory, which focus on the role of the courts, this book, first published in 2006, addresses the role of legislatures in a regime of constitutional democracy. Bringing together some of the world's leading constitutional scholars and political scientists, the book addresses legislatures in democratic theory, legislating and deliberating in the constitutional state, constitution-making by legislatures, legislative and popular constitutionalism, and the dialogic role of legislatures, both domestically with other institutions and internationally with other legislatures. The book offers theoretical perspectives as well as case studies of several types of legislation from the United States and Canada. It also addresses the role of legislatures both under the Westminster model and under a separation of powers system.

The Revolutionary Constitution

Author: David J. Bodenhamer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199913039
Release Date: 2012-02-01
Genre: History

The framers of the Constitution chose their words carefully when they wrote of a more perfect union--not absolutely perfect, but with room for improvement. Indeed, we no longer operate under the same Constitution as that ratified in 1788, or even the one completed by the Bill of Rights in 1791--because we are no longer the same nation. In The Revolutionary Constitution, David J. Bodenhamer provides a comprehensive new look at America's basic law, integrating the latest legal scholarship with historical context to highlight how it has evolved over time. The Constitution, he notes, was the product of the first modern revolution, and revolutions are, by definition, moments when the past shifts toward an unfamiliar future, one radically different from what was foreseen only a brief time earlier. In seeking to balance power and liberty, the framers established a structure that would allow future generations to continually readjust the scale. Bodenhamer explores this dynamic through seven major constitutional themes: federalism, balance of powers, property, representation, equality, rights, and security. With each, he takes a historical approach, following their changes over time. For example, the framers wrote multiple protections for property rights into the Constitution in response to actions by state governments after the Revolution. But twentieth-century courts--and Congress--redefined property rights through measures such as zoning and the designation of historical landmarks (diminishing their commercial value) in response to the needs of a modern economy. The framers anticipated just such a future reworking of their own compromises between liberty and power. With up-to-the-minute legal expertise and a broad grasp of the social and political context, this book is a tour de force of Constitutional history and analysis.

Dishonorable Passions

Author: William N. Eskridge Jr.
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781440631108
Release Date: 2008-05-01
Genre: History

From the Pentagon to the wedding chapel, there are few issues more controversial today than gay rights. As William Eskridge persuasively demonstrates in Dishonorable Passions, there is nothing new about this political and legal obsession. The American colonies and the early states prohibited sodomy as the crime against nature, but rarely punished such conduct if it took place behind closed doors. By the twentieth century, America’s emerging regulatory state targeted degenerates and (later) homosexuals. The witch hunts of the McCarthy era caught very few Communists but ruined the lives of thousands of homosexuals. The nation’s sexual revolution of the 1960s fueled a social movement of people seeking repeal of sodomy laws, but it was not until the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas (2003) that private sex between consenting adults was decriminalized. With dramatic stories of both the hunted (Walt Whitman and Margaret Mead) and the hunters (Earl Warren and J. Edgar Hoover), Dishonorable Passions reveals how American sodomy laws affected the lives of both homosexual and heterosexual Americans. Certain to provoke heated debate, Dishonorable Passions is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of sexuality and its regulation in the United States

The Language of Liberal Constitutionalism

Author: Howard Schweber
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139462594
Release Date: 2007-02-26
Genre: Philosophy

This book explores two basic questions regarding constitutional theory. First, in view of a commitment to democratic self-rule and widespread disagreement on questions of value, how is the creation of a legitimate constitutional regime possible? Second, what must be true about a constitution if the regime that it supports is to retain its claim to legitimacy? Howard Schweber shows that the answers to these questions appear in a theory of constitutional language that combines democratic theory with constitutional philosophy. The creation of a legitimate constitutional regime depends on a shared commitment to a particular and specialized form of language. Out of this simple observation, Schweber develops arguments about the characteristics of constitutional language, the necessary differences between constitutional language and the language of ordinary law or morality, as well as the authority of officials such as judges to engage in constitutional review of laws.

Israeli Constitutional Law in the Making

Author: Gideon Sapir
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 9781782251842
Release Date: 2013-10-31
Genre: Law

In the domain of comparative constitutionalism, Israeli constitutional law is a fascinating case study constituted of many dilemmas. It is moving from the old British tradition of an unwritten constitution and no judicial review of legislation to fully-fledged constitutionalism endorsing judicial review and based on the text of a series of basic laws. At the same time, it is struggling with major questions of identity, in the context of Israel's constitutional vision of 'a Jewish and Democratic' state. Israeli Constitutional Law in the Making offers a comprehensive study of Israeli constitutional law in a systematic manner that moves from constitution-making to specific areas of contestation including state/religion relations, national security, social rights, as well as structural questions of judicial review. It features contributions by leading scholars of Israeli constitutional law, with comparative comments by leading scholars of constitutional law from Europe and the United States.

Constitutional Violence

Author: Antoni Abat i Ninet
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
ISBN: 9780748675371
Release Date: 2014-08-20
Genre: True Crime

Western political systems tend to be 'constitutional democracies', dividing the system into a domain of politics, where the people rule, and a domain of law, set aside for a trained elite. Antoni Abat i Ninet strives to resolve these apparently exclusive

Law as a Means to an End

Author: Brian Z. Tamanaha
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139459228
Release Date: 2006-10-02
Genre: Law

The contemporary US legal culture is marked by ubiquitous battles among various groups attempting to seize control of the law and wield it against others in pursuit of their particular agenda. This battle takes place in administrative, legislative, and judicial arenas at both the state and federal levels. This book identifies the underlying source of these battles in the spread of the instrumental view of law - the idea that law is purely a means to an end - in a context of sharp disagreement over the social good. It traces the rise of the instrumental view of law in the course of the past two centuries, then demonstrates the pervasiveness of this view of law and its implications within the contemporary legal culture, and ends by showing the various ways in which seeing law in purely instrumental terms threatens to corrode the rule of law.

The Second Amendment

Author: Michael Waldman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781476747460
Release Date: 2014-05-20
Genre: History

Widely acclaimed at the time of its publication, the life story of the most controversial, volatile, misunderstood provision of the Bill of Rights. At a time of increasing gun violence in America, Waldman’s book provoked a wide range of discussion. This book looks at history to provide some surprising, illuminating answers. The Amendment was written to calm public fear that the new national government would crush the state militias made up of all (white) adult men—who were required to own a gun to serve. Waldman recounts the raucous public debate that has surrounded the amendment from its inception to the present. As the country spread to the Western frontier, violence spread too. But through it all, gun control was abundant. In the twentieth century, with Prohibition and gangsterism, the first federal control laws were passed. In all four separate times the Supreme Court ruled against a constitutional right to own a gun. The present debate picked up in the 1970s—part of a backlash to the liberal 1960s and a resurgence of libertarianism. A newly radicalized NRA entered the campaign to oppose gun control and elevate the status of an obscure constitutional provision. In 2008, in a case that reached the Court after a focused drive by conservative lawyers, the US Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the Constitution protects an individual right to gun ownership. Famous for his theory of “originalism,” Justice Antonin Scalia twisted it in this instance to base his argument on contemporary conditions. In The Second Amendment: A Biography, Michael Waldman shows that our view of the amendment is set, at each stage, not by a pristine constitutional text, but by the push and pull, the rough and tumble of political advocacy and public agitation.