Search Results for "america-s-constitution-a-biography"

America's Constitution

America's Constitution

A Biography

  • Author: Akhil Reed Amar
  • Publisher: Random House
  • ISBN: 1588364879
  • Category: History
  • Page: 672
  • View: 5451
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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.

America's Unwritten Constitution

America's Unwritten Constitution

The Precedents and Principles We Live By

  • Author: Akhil Reed Amar
  • Publisher: Hachette UK
  • ISBN: 0465033091
  • Category: Law
  • Page: 640
  • View: 4536
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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.

University of Chicago Law Review: Volume 81, Number 3 - Summer 2014

University of Chicago Law Review: Volume 81, Number 3 - Summer 2014

  • Author: University of Chicago Law Review
  • Publisher: Quid Pro Books
  • ISBN: 161027850X
  • Category: Law
  • Page: 598
  • View: 6849
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The third issue of 2014 features three articles from recognized legal scholars, as well as extensive student research. Contents include: Articles: • Following Lower-Court Precedent, by Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl • Constitutional Outliers, by Justin Driver • Intellectual Property versus Prizes: Reframing the Debate, by Benjamin N. Roin Review: • The Text, the Whole Text, and Nothing but the Text, So Help Me God: Un-Writing Amar's Unwritten Constitution, by Michael Stokes Paulsen Comments: • Standing on Ceremony: Can Lead Plaintiffs Claim Injury from Securities That They Did Not Purchase?, by Corey K. Brady • FISA's Fuzzy Line between Domestic and International Terrorism, by Nick Harper • The Perceived Intrusiveness of Searching Electronic Devices at the Border: An Empirical Study, by Matthew B. Kugler • Comcast Corp v Behrend and Chaos on the Ground, by Alex Parkinson • Maybe Once, Maybe Twice: Using the Rule of Lenity to Determine Whether 18 USC 924(c) Defines One Crime or Two, by F. Italia Patti • Let's Be Reasonable: Controlling Self-Help Discovery in False Claims Act Suits, by Stephen M. Payne • A Dispute Over Bona Fide Disputes in Involuntary Bankruptcy Proceedings, by Steven J. Winkelman The University of Chicago Law Review first appeared in 1933, thirty-one years after the Law School offered its first classes. Since then the Law Review has continued to serve as a forum for the expression of ideas of leading professors, judges, and practitioners, as well as students, and as a training ground for University of Chicago Law School students, who serve as its editors and contribute Comments and other research. Principal articles and essays are authored by accomplished legal and economics scholars. Quality ebook formatting includes active TOC, linked notes, active URLs in notes, and all the charts, tables, and formulae found in the original print version.

Our Undemocratic Constitution

Our Undemocratic Constitution

Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (And How We the People Can Correct It)

  • Author: Sanford Levinson
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • ISBN: 0199885710
  • Category: Political Science
  • Page: 248
  • View: 5204
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Levinson argues that too many of our Constitution's provisions promote either unjust or ineffective government. Under the existing blueprint, we can neither rid ourselves of incompetent presidents nor assure continuity of government following catastrophic attacks. Less important, perhaps, but certainly problematic, is the appointment of Supreme Court judges for life. Adding insult to injury, the United States Constitution is the most difficult to amend or update of any constitution currently existing in the world today. Democratic debate leaves few stones unturned, but we tend to take our basic constitutional structures for granted. Levinson boldly challenges the American people to undertake a long overdue public discussion on how they might best reform this most hallowed document and construct a constitution adequate to our democratic values. "Admirably gutsy and unfashionable." --Michael Kinsley, The New York Times "Bold, bracingly unromantic, and filled with illuminating insights. He accomplishes an unlikely feat, which is to make a really serious argument for a new constitutional convention, one that is founded squarely on democratic ideals." --Cass R. Sunstein, The New Republic "Everyone who cares about how our government works should read this thoughtful book." --Washington Lawyer

The Complete American Constitutionalism, Volume One

The Complete American Constitutionalism, Volume One

Introduction and the Colonial Era

  • Author: Howard Gillman,Mark A. Graber,Keith E. Whittington
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • ISBN: 0190237627
  • Category: Law
  • Page: 576
  • View: 9324
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The Complete American Constitutionalism is designed to be the comprehensive treatment and source for debates on the American constitutional experience. It provides the analysis, resources, and materials both domestic and foreign readers must understand with regards to the practice of constitutionalism in the United States. This first volume of a projected eight volume set is entitled: Introduction and The Colonial Era. Here the authors provide the building blocks for constitutional analysis with an in-depth exploration of the constitutional conflicts in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that formed the overall American constitutional experience. This is the first collection of materials that focuses on the crucial constitutional documents and debates that structured American constitutional understandings at the time of the American Revolution. It details the roots of the common law rights that Americans demanded be respected and the different interpretations of the English constitutional experience that increasingly divided Members of Parliament from American Revolutionaries.

American Sovereigns

American Sovereigns

The People and America's Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War

  • Author: Christian G. Fritz
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • ISBN: 9781139467179
  • Category: History
  • Page: N.A
  • View: 7411
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American Sovereigns: The People and America's Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War challenges traditional American constitutional history, theory and jurisprudence that sees today's constitutionalism as linked by an unbroken chain to the 1787 Federal constitutional convention. American Sovereigns examines the idea that after the American Revolution, a collectivity - the people - would rule as the sovereign. Heated political controversies within the states and at the national level over what it meant that the people were the sovereign and how that collective sovereign could express its will were not resolved in 1776, in 1787, or prior to the Civil War. The idea of the people as the sovereign both unified and divided Americans in thinking about government and the basis of the Union. Today's constitutionalism is not a natural inheritance, but the product of choices Americans made between shifting understandings about themselves as a collective sovereign.

Books on Early American History and Culture, 2001–2005: An Annotated Bibliography

Books on Early American History and Culture, 2001–2005: An Annotated Bibliography

  • Author: Raymond D. Irwin
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO
  • ISBN: 1440829225
  • Category: History
  • Page: 326
  • View: 5666
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This volume offers a complete listing and description of books published on early America between 2001 and 2005. • The book is organized thematically to facilitate research • Extensive author indexes and guides to important works for the time period are provided • The most important books in each subject (e.g., gender, politics) are enumerated based on frequency of citation

Framed

Framed

America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance

  • Author: Sanford Levinson
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • ISBN: 0199930872
  • Category: Law
  • Page: 448
  • View: 8273
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In his widely acclaimed volume Our Undemocratic Constitution, Sanford Levinson boldly argued that our Constitution should not be treated with "sanctimonious reverence," but as a badly flawed document deserving revision. Now Levinson takes us deeper, asking what were the original assumptions underlying our institutions, and whether we accept those assumptions 225 years later. In Framed, Levinson challenges our belief that the most important features of our constitutions concern what rights they protect. Instead, he focuses on the fundamental procedures of governance such as congressional bicameralism; the selection of the President by the electoral college, or the dimensions of the President's veto power--not to mention the near impossibility of amending the United States Constitution. These seemingly "settled" and "hardwired" structures contribute to the now almost universally recognized "dysfunctionality" of American politics. Levinson argues that we should stop treating the United States Constitution as uniquely exemplifying the American constitutional tradition. We should be aware of the 50 state constitutions, often interestingly different--and perhaps better--than the national model. Many states have updated their constitutions by frequent amendment or by complete replacement via state constitutional conventions. California's ungovernable condition has prompted serious calls for a constitutional convention. This constant churn indicates that basic law often reaches the point where it fails and becomes obsolete. Given the experience of so many states, he writes, surely it is reasonable to believe that the U.S. Constitution merits its own updating. Whether we are concerned about making America more genuinely democratic or only about creating a system of government that can more effectively respond to contemporary challenges, we must confront the ways our constitutions, especially the United States Constitution, must be changed in fundamental ways.

The Cosmopolitan Constitution

The Cosmopolitan Constitution

  • Author: Alexander Somek
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford
  • ISBN: 0191030929
  • Category: Law
  • Page: 320
  • View: 8192
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Originally the constitution was expected to express and channel popular sovereignty. It was the work of freedom, springing from and facilitating collective self-determination. After the Second World War this perspective changed: the modern constitution owes its authority not only to collective authorship, it also must commit itself credibly to human rights. Thus people recede into the background, and the national constitution becomes embedded into one or other system of 'peer review' among nations. This is what Alexander Somek argues is the creation of the cosmopolitan constitution. Reconstructing what he considers to be the three stages in the development of constitutionalism, he argues that the cosmopolitan constitution is not a blueprint for the constitution beyond the nation state, let alone a constitution of the international community; rather, it stands for constitutional law reaching out beyond its national bounds. This cosmopolitan constitution has two faces: the first, political, face reflects the changed circumstances of constitutional authority. It conceives itself as constrained by international human rights protection, firmly committed to combating discrimination on the grounds of nationality, and to embracing strategies for managing its interaction with other sites of authority, such as the United Nations. The second, administrative, face of the cosmopolitan constitution reveals the demise of political authority, which has been traditionally vested in representative bodies. Political processes yield to various, and often informal, strategies of policy co-ordination so long as there are no reasons to fear that the elementary civil rights might be severely interfered with. It represents constitutional authority for an administered world.

Dishonorable Passions

Dishonorable Passions

Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003

  • Author: William N. Eskridge Jr.
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • ISBN: 1440631107
  • Category: History
  • Page: 528
  • View: 780
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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