The Living Constitution (Inalienable Rights)




Author: David A. Strauss
Type: eBook
Date Released: 2010
Format: pdf
Language: English
Page Count: 171
Isbn10 Code: 0195377273
Isbn13 Code: 9780195377279


From Publishers Weekly The concept of a living Constitution that evolves over time is not a formula for untethered judicial activism but a necessary—and venerable—mode of interpretation, argues this scintillating treatise. University of Chicago law prof Strauss mounts a devastating attack on originalism (the doctrine most vociferously advocated by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia) that constitutional law should hew to the written Constitution and the intent of its framers; such an approach, Strauss argues, is rife with contradictions, fraudulent history (it's often impossible to know what the framers meant or how they might think about modern-day issues), and ideological bias. The more fruitful—and historically dominant—interpretive school of living constitutionalism, he contends, follows a tacit common-law approach focused less on the text than on judicial precedent and changing notions of fairness and sound policy. Strauss offers meticulous accounts of how common-law processes revolutionized the consensus on core constitutional issues like freedom of speech and civil rights; indeed, he insists, they can transform our understanding of the Constitution more profoundly than formal amendments do. Writing in prose that laymen will find lucid and inviting, Strauss makes the usually fuzzy idea of a living Constitution rigorous and substantive. (May) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Review "Writing in prose that laymen will find lucid and inviting, Strauss makes the usually fuzzy idea of a living Constitution rigorous and substantive."--Publishers Weekly "Succinct and elegant"--Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune "Strauss keeps a low public profile but legal scholars know him to be a first-class mind. This book, written for the general reader, shows that he is also a master stylist, whose prose is Orwellian in the good sense: clear as a pane of glass."--The New Republic "Whatever one may think of these issues, it is clear that Strauss has provided a great service to both academics and the general reading public. He has produced a short, accessible, well-written, thoughtful, and incisive defense of living constitutionalism, one which can also serve as a valuable introduction to foundational debates about the nature of constitutional interpretation."--The Law & Politics Book Review "Timely and important...a novel and creative contribution to the ongoing debate about the nature of the U.S. Constitution, and will influence the dialogue for years to come."--Harvard Law Review "I regard The Living Constitution to be a tremendous success. It deserves to be widely read by students, lay people, and specialists."--Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

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