louis michael seidman on constitutional disobedience

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On Constitutional Disobedience

Author : Louis Michael Seidman
ISBN : 9780199969692
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 44. 94 MB
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What would the Framers of the Constitution make of multinational corporations? Nuclear weapons? Gay marriage? They led a preindustrial country, much of it dependent on slave labor, huddled on the Atlantic seaboard. The Founders saw society as essentially hierarchical, led naturally by landed gentry like themselves. Yet we still obey their commands, two centuries and one civil war later. According to Louis Michael Seidman, it's time to stop. In On Constitutional Disobedience, Seidman argues that, in order to bring our basic law up to date, it needs benign neglect. This is a highly controversial assertion. The doctrine of "original intent" may be found on the far right, but the entire political spectrum--left and right--shares a deep reverence for the Constitution. And yet, Seidman reminds us, disobedience is the original intent of the Constitution. The Philadelphia convention had gathered to amend the Articles of Confederation, not toss them out and start afresh. The "living Constitution" school tries to bridge the gap between the framers and ourselves by reinterpreting the text in light of modern society's demands. But this attempt is doomed, Seidman argues. One might stretch "due process of law" to protect an act of same-sex sodomy, yet a loyal-but-contemporary reading cannot erase the fact that the Constitution allows a candidate who lost the popular election to be seated as president. And that is only one of the gross violations of popular will enshrined in the document. Seidman systematically addresses and refutes the arguments in favor of Constitutional fealty, proposing instead that it be treated as inspiration, not a set of commands. The Constitution is, at its best, a piece of poetry to liberty and self-government. If we treat it as such, the author argues, we will make better progress in achieving both.

On Constitutional Disobedience

Author : Louis Michael Seidman
ISBN : 9780199898275
Genre : Law
File Size : 27. 41 MB
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In On Constitutional Disobedience, leading constitutional scholar Louis Michael Seidman explains why constitutional disobedience may well produce a better politics and considers the shape that such disobedience might take. First, though, he stresses that is worth remembering the primary goals of the original Constitution's authors, many of which were unseemly both then and now. Should we really feel obligated to defend our electoral college or various other features that arguably lead to unjust results? Yet many of our political debates revolve around constitutional features that no one loves but which everyone feels obligated to defend. After walking through the various defenses put forth by proponents of the US Constitutional system, Seidman shows why none of them hold up. The solution, he claims, is to abandon our loyalty to many of the document's requirements and instead embrace the Constitution as a 'poetic' vision of a just society. Lest we worry that forsaking the Constitution will result in anarchy, we only need to remember Great Britain, which functions very effectively without a written constitution. If we were to do this, we could design sensible institutions that fit our own era and craft solutions that have the support of today's majorities. Seidman worries that if we continue to embrace the anachronistic commands of a centuries-old document, our political and institutional dysfunction will only increase. The answer is not to abandon the Constitution in its entirety, but to treat it as an inspiration while disobeying the many particulars that deserve to go into history's dustbin.

Our Unsettled Constitution

Author : Louis Michael Seidman
ISBN : 0300085311
Genre : Law
File Size : 79. 86 MB
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Ours is an age of growing doubt about constitutional theory and of outright hostility to any theory that defends judicial review. Why should a tiny number of unelected judges be able to validate or invalidate laws on such politically controversial issues as abortion, religion, gender, and sex - or even determine how the president is elected? In this provocative book, a leading constitutional theorist offers an entirely original defence of judicial review. Louis Michael Seidman argues that judicial review is defensible if we set aside common but erroneous assumptions, namely that constitutional law should be independent from our political commitments and that the role of constitutional law is to settle political disagreement. Seidman develops a theory of unsettlement. A constitution that unsettles, that destabilises outcomes produced by the political process, creates no permanent losers nursing deep-seated grievances, he says. An unsettling constitution helps to build a community founded on consent by enticing losers into a continuing conversation. The author applies this theory to an array of well-known cases heard by the Supreme Court over the past several decades, including t

Keeping Faith With The Constitution

Author : Goodwin Liu
ISBN : 9780199750665
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 64. 63 MB
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Chief Justice John Marshall argued that a constitution "requires that only its great outlines should be marked [and] its important objects designated." Ours is "intended to endure for ages to come, and consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs." In recent years, Marshall's great truths have been challenged by proponents of originalism and strict construction. Such legal thinkers as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argue that the Constitution must be construed and applied as it was when the Framers wrote it. In Keeping Faith with the Constitution, three legal authorities make the case for Marshall's vision. They describe their approach as "constitutional fidelity"--not to how the Framers would have applied the Constitution, but to the text and principles of the Constitution itself. The original understanding of the text is one source of interpretation, but not the only one; to preserve the meaning and authority of the document, to keep it vital, applications of the Constitution must be shaped by precedent, historical experience, practical consequence, and societal change. The authors range across the history of constitutional interpretation to show how this approach has been the source of our greatest advances, from Brown v. Board of Education to the New Deal, from the Miranda decision to the expansion of women's rights. They delve into the complexities of voting rights, the malapportionment of legislative districts, speech freedoms, civil liberties and the War on Terror, and the evolution of checks and balances. The Constitution's framers could never have imagined DNA, global warming, or even women's equality. Yet these and many more realities shape our lives and outlook. Our Constitution will remain vital into our changing future, the authors write, if judges remain true to this rich tradition of adaptation and fidelity.

Restoring The Lost Constitution

Author : Randy E. Barnett
ISBN : 9781400848133
Genre : Law
File Size : 24. 41 MB
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The U.S. Constitution found in school textbooks and under glass in Washington is not the one enforced today by the Supreme Court. In Restoring the Lost Constitution, Randy Barnett argues that since the nation's founding, but especially since the 1930s, the courts have been cutting holes in the original Constitution and its amendments to eliminate the parts that protect liberty from the power of government. From the Commerce Clause, to the Necessary and Proper Clause, to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, to the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court has rendered each of these provisions toothless. In the process, the written Constitution has been lost. Barnett establishes the original meaning of these lost clauses and offers a practical way to restore them to their central role in constraining government: adopting a "presumption of liberty" to give the benefit of the doubt to citizens when laws restrict their rightful exercises of liberty. He also provides a new, realistic and philosophically rigorous theory of constitutional legitimacy that justifies both interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning and, where that meaning is vague or open-ended, construing it so as to better protect the rights retained by the people. As clearly argued as it is insightful and provocative, Restoring the Lost Constitution forcefully disputes the conventional wisdom, posing a powerful challenge to which others must now respond. This updated edition features an afterword with further reflections on individual popular sovereignty, originalist interpretation, judicial engagement, and the gravitational force that original meaning has exerted on the Supreme Court in several recent cases.

From Disgust To Humanity

Author : Martha C. Nussbaum
ISBN : 0199745978
Genre : Law
File Size : 56. 75 MB
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A distinguished professor of law and philosophy at the University of Chicago, a prolific writer and award-winning thinker, Martha Nussbaum stands as one of our foremost authorities on law, justice, freedom, morality, and emotion. In From Disgust to Humanity, Nussbaum aims her considerable intellectual firepower at the bulwark of opposition to gay equality: the politics of disgust. Nussbaum argues that disgust has long been among the fundamental motivations of those who are fighting for legal discrimination against lesbian and gay citizens. When confronted with same-sex acts and relationships, she writes, they experience "a deep aversion akin to that inspired by bodily wastes, slimy insects, and spoiled food--and then cite that very reaction to justify a range of legal restrictions, from sodomy laws to bans on same-sex marriage." Leon Kass, former head of President Bush's President's Council on Bioethics, even argues that this repugnance has an inherent "wisdom," steering us away from destructive choices. Nussbaum believes that the politics of disgust must be confronted directly, for it contradicts the basic principle of the equality of all citizens under the law. "It says that the mere fact that you happen to make me want to vomit is reason enough for me to treat you as a social pariah, denying you some of your most basic entitlements as a citizen." In its place she offers a "politics of humanity," based not merely on respect, but something akin to love, an uplifting imaginative engagement with others, an active effort to see the world from their perspectives, as fellow human beings. Combining rigorous analysis of the leading constitutional cases with philosophical reflection about underlying concepts of privacy, respect, discrimination, and liberty, Nussbaum discusses issues ranging from non-discrimination and same-sex marriage to "public sex." Recent landmark decisions suggest that the views of state and federal courts are shifting toward a humanity-centered vision, and Nussbaum's powerful arguments will undoubtedly advance that cause. Incisive, rigorous, and deeply humane, From Disgust to Humanity is a stunning contribution to Oxford's distinguished Inalienable Rights series.

Informal International Lawmaking

Author : Joost Pauwelyn
ISBN : 9780191633171
Genre : Law
File Size : 20. 47 MB
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Many international norms that have emerged in recent years are not set out in formal treaties. They are not concluded in formal international organizations. They frequently involve actors other than formal state representatives. In the realm of finance, health, security, or the environment, international lawmaking is increasingly 'informal': It takes place in networks or loosely organized fora; it involves a multitude of stakeholders including regulators, experts, professional organizations and other non-state actors; it leads to guidelines, standards or best practices. This book critically assesses the concept of informal international lawmaking, its legal nature, and impact at the national and international level. It examines whether it is on the rise, as is often claimed, and if so, what the implications of this are. It addresses what actors are involved in its creation, the processes utilized, and the informal output produced. The book frames informal international lawmaking around three axes: output informality (novel types of norms), process informality (norm-making in networks outside international organizations), and actor informality (the involvement of public agencies and regulators, private actors, and international organizations). Fundamentally, the book is concerned with whether this informality causes problems in terms of keeping transnational lawmaking accountable. By empirically analysing domestic processes of norm elaboration and implementation, the book addresses the key question of how to benefit from the effectiveness of informal international lawmaking without jeopardizing the accountability necessary in the process of making law.

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