america s unwritten constitution

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America S Unwritten Constitution

Author : Akhil Reed Amar
ISBN : 9780465033096
Genre : Law
File Size : 35. 51 MB
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Explores the little-understood relationship between the written Constitution and the many external factors that shape the interpretations of this foundational document.

America S Unwritten Constitution

Author : Akhil Reed Amar
ISBN : 9780465029570
Genre : History
File Size : 77. 17 MB
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A renowned constitutional scholar explores the little-understood relationship between the written Constitution and the many external factors that shape our interpretations of this foundational document.

America S Unwritten Constitution

Author : Akhil Reed Amar
ISBN : 9780465033096
Genre : Law
File Size : 74. 94 MB
Format : PDF, ePub, Docs
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onal discussions; and the writings of court justices. America’s Unwritten Constitution presents a bold new vision of the American constitutional system, one in which proper interpretation of the Constitution rests on the interplay between its written and unwritten manifestations, but in which interpretation does not, and cannot, depend wholly on one form or the other. Neither America’s written Constitution nor its unwritten Constitution stands alone, Amar shows, and with each eye-opening example he develops a deeper, more compelling way of thinking about constitutional law than has ever been put forth before—a methodology that looks past the basic text to reveal the diverse influences, supplements, and possibilities that comprise it.

America S Unwritten Constitution

Author : Don Krasher Price
ISBN : 0674031423
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 85. 79 MB
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Don K. Price seeks the cause of the nationâe(tm)s inability to develop coherent policies and manage consistent programs and finds it in American attitudes toward authority. This countryâe(tm)s managerial disarray can be traced to religious and philosophical roots of our informal system of government and its development. Price shows how a native American skepticism toward all establishments, combined with a belief in the role of science as advancing progress, has given us a moralistic, reformist view of government that rejects compromise even for the sake of coherence and continuity. This is unlike the experience of Great Britain and Canada, which he relates in a series of incisive comparisons.

America S Constitution

Author : Akhil Reed Amar
ISBN : 9781588364876
Genre : History
File Size : 57. 14 MB
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In America’s Constitution, one of this era’s most accomplished constitutional law scholars, Akhil Reed Amar, gives the first comprehensive account of one of the world’s great political texts. Incisive, entertaining, and occasionally controversial, this “biography” of America’s framing document explains not only what the Constitution says but also why the Constitution says it. We all know this much: the Constitution is neither immutable nor perfect. Amar shows us how the story of this one relatively compact document reflects the story of America more generally. (For example, much of the Constitution, including the glorious-sounding “We the People,” was lifted from existing American legal texts, including early state constitutions.) In short, the Constitution was as much a product of its environment as it was a product of its individual creators’ inspired genius. Despite the Constitution’s flaws, its role in guiding our republic has been nothing short of amazing. Skillfully placing the document in the context of late-eighteenth-century American politics, America’s Constitution explains, for instance, whether there is anything in the Constitution that is unamendable; the reason America adopted an electoral college; why a president must be at least thirty-five years old; and why–for now, at least–only those citizens who were born under the American flag can become president. From his unique perspective, Amar also gives us unconventional wisdom about the Constitution and its significance throughout the nation’s history. For one thing, we see that the Constitution has been far more democratic than is conventionally understood. Even though the document was drafted by white landholders, a remarkably large number of citizens (by the standards of 1787) were allowed to vote up or down on it, and the document’s later amendments eventually extended the vote to virtually all Americans. We also learn that the Founders’ Constitution was far more slavocratic than many would acknowledge: the “three fifths” clause gave the South extra political clout for every slave it owned or acquired. As a result, slaveholding Virginians held the presidency all but four of the Republic’s first thirty-six years, and proslavery forces eventually came to dominate much of the federal government prior to Lincoln’s election. Ambitious, even-handed, eminently accessible, and often surprising, America’s Constitution is an indispensable work, bound to become a standard reference for any student of history and all citizens of the United States.

Courts And Congress

Author : William J. Quirk
ISBN : 9781412813570
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 27. 94 MB
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It's often said, confirmed by survey data, that the American people are losing confidence in their government. But the problem may be the reverse--the government has lost confidence in the people. Increasingly the power to make decisions in our democracy has been shifted from Congress to the court system, forcing non-elected officials to make decisions which affect the lives of Americans. In a society which is based on the democratic elections of its officials, this is clearly backwards. Quirk maintains that what he calls "The Happy Convention," an informal and unwritten rearrangement of "passing the buck" of government powers, is done to avoid blame and approval ratings becoming lower for a particular person or party. For example, The Happy Convention assigns the power to declare and make war to the President. Congress and the Court play a supporting role--Congress, when requested, gives the President a blank check to use force--the Court throws out any challenges to the legality of the war. Everyone wins if the war avoids disaster. If it turns out badly, the President is held accountable. His ratings fall, reelection is out of the question, congressmen say he lied to them; his Party is likely to lose the next election. In this way, Quirk reminds us that The Happy Convention is not what the Founders intended for us. For democracy to work properly, the American people have to know what options they have. Courts and Congress argues the case for reestablishing the balance of powers between the courts, the Congress, and the Presidency.

The Constitution Today

Author : Akhil Reed Amar
ISBN : 9780465096343
Genre : Law
File Size : 55. 50 MB
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A leading legal scholar addresses the most important constitutional controversies of the past two decades and illuminates the Constitution's spirit and ongoing relevance When the stories that lead our daily news involve momentous constitutional questions, present-minded journalists and busy citizens cannot always see the stakes clearly. In The Constitution Today, Akhil Reed Amar, America's preeminent constitutional scholar, considers the biggest and most bitterly contested debates of the last two decades—from gun control to gay marriage, affirmative action to criminal procedure, presidential dynasties to Congressional dysfunction, Bill Clinton's impeachment to Obamacare. He shows how the Constitution's text, history, and structure are a crucial repository of collective wisdom, providing specific rules and grand themes relevant to every organ of the American body politic. Leading readers through the particular constitutional questions at stake in each episode while outlining his abiding views regarding the Constitution's letter, its spirit, and the direction constitutional law must go, Amar offers an essential guide for anyone seeking to understand America's Constitution and its relevance today.

The Law Of The Land

Author : Akhil Reed Amar
ISBN : 9780465065899
Genre : Law
File Size : 87. 44 MB
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From Kennebunkport to Kauai, from the Rio Grande to the Northern Rockies, ours is a vast republic. While we may be united under one Constitution, separate and distinct states remain, each with its own constitution and culture. Geographic idiosyncrasies add more than just local character. Regional understandings of law and justice have shaped and reshaped our nation throughout history. America’s Constitution, our founding and unifying document, looks slightly different in California than it does in Kansas. In The Law of the Land, renowned legal scholar Akhil Reed Amar illustrates how geography, federalism, and regionalism have influenced some of the biggest questions in American constitutional law. Writing about Illinois, “the land of Lincoln,” Amar shows how our sixteenth president’s ideas about secession were influenced by his Midwestern upbringing and outlook. All of today’s Supreme Court justices, Amar notes, learned their law in the Northeast, and New Yorkers of various sorts dominate the judiciary as never before. The curious Bush v. Gore decision, Amar insists, must be assessed with careful attention to Florida law and the Florida Constitution. The second amendment appears in a particularly interesting light, he argues, when viewed from the perspective of Rocky Mountain cowboys and cowgirls. Propelled by Amar’s distinctively smart, lucid, and engaging prose, these essays allow general readers to see the historical roots of, and contemporary solutions to, many important constitutional questions. The Law of the Land illuminates our nation’s history and politics, and shows how America’s various local parts fit together to form a grand federal framework.

Revolution By Judiciary

Author : Jed Rubenfeld
ISBN : 0674017153
Genre : Law
File Size : 31. 38 MB
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Although constitutional law is supposed to be fixed and enduring, its central narrative in the twentieth century has been one of radical reinterpretation--Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, Bush v. Gore. What, if anything, justifies such radical reinterpretation? How does it work doctrinally? What, if anything, structures it or limits it? Jed Rubenfeld finds a pattern in American constitutional interpretation that answers these questions convincingly. He posits two different understandings of how constitutional rights would apply or not apply to particular legislation. One is that a right would be violated if certain laws were passed. The other is that a right would not be violated. He calls the former "Application Understandings" and the latter "No-Application Understandings." He finds that constitutional law has almost always adhered to all of the original Application Understandings, but where it has departed from history, as it did in the Brown decision, it has departed from No-Application Understandings. Specifically, the Fourteenth Amendment did not prohibit racial segregation, so Rubenfeld argues that the Supreme Court had no problem reinterpreting it to prohibit it. It was a No-Application Understanding. This is a powerful argument that challenges current theories of constitutional interpretation from Bork to Dworkin. It rejects simplistic originalism, but restores historicity to constitutional theorizing.

Originalism And The Good Constitution

Author : John O. McGinnis
ISBN : 9780674726260
Genre : Law
File Size : 41. 37 MB
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Originalism holds that the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted according to its meaning at the time it was enacted. In their innovative defense of originalism, John McGinnis and Michael Rappaport maintain that the text of the Constitution should be adhered to by the Supreme Court because it was enacted by supermajorities--both its original enactment under Article VII and subsequent Amendments under Article V. A text approved by supermajorities has special value in a democracy because it has unusually wide support and thus tends to maximize the welfare of the greatest number. The authors recognize and respond to many possible objections. Does originalism perpetuate the dead hand of the past? How can originalism be justified, given the exclusion of African Americans and women from the Constitution and many of its subsequent Amendments? What is originalism's place in interpretation, after two hundred years of non-originalist precedent? A fascinating counterfactual they pose is this: had the Supreme Court not interpreted the Constitution so freely, perhaps the nation would have resorted to the Article V amendment process more often and with greater effect. Their book will be an important contribution to the literature on originalism, now the most prominent theory of constitutional interpretation.

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