Constitutional Stupidities, Constitutional Tragedies

Overview

The Constitution is the cornerstone of American government, hailed as one of the greatest contributions of the Western Enlightenment. While many seem content simply to celebrate it, those most familiar with the document invariably find it wanting in at least some aspects.

This unique volume brings together many of the country's most esteemed constitutional commentators and invites them to answer two questions: First, what is the stupidest provision of the Constitution? "Stupid" ...

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Overview

The Constitution is the cornerstone of American government, hailed as one of the greatest contributions of the Western Enlightenment. While many seem content simply to celebrate it, those most familiar with the document invariably find it wanting in at least some aspects.

This unique volume brings together many of the country's most esteemed constitutional commentators and invites them to answer two questions: First, what is the stupidest provision of the Constitution? "Stupid" need not mean evil. Thus, a second, related question is whether the scholar-interpreter would be forced to reach truly evil results even if applying his or her own favored theory of constitutional interpretation.

The contributors include Lawrence Alexander, Akhil Reed Amar, Jack Balkin, Philip Bobbitt, Gerard Bradley, Rebecca Brown, Steven Calabresi, Lief Carter, Christopher Eisgruber, Lawrence Sager, Marie Failinger, Daniel Farber, James Fleming, Mark Graber, Stephen Griffin, Gary Jacobsohn, Randall Kennedy, Lewis LaRue, Theodore Lowi, Earl Maltz, Michael McConnell, Matthew Michael, Robert Nagel, Daniel Ortiz, Pamela Karlen, Michael Paulsen, Robert Post, Lucas Powe, Dorothy Roberts, Jeffrey Rosen, Frederick Schauer, Michael Seidman, Suzanna Sherry, David Strauss, Laurence Tribe, Mark Tushnet, and John Yoo.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814751312
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1998
  • Edition description: revised
  • Pages: 296

Meet the Author

William N. Eskridge, Jr., is Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center and the author, most recently, of The Case for Same-Sex Marriage: From Sexual Liberty to Civilized Commitment.

Sanford Levinson is W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Regents Chair in Law and Professor of Government at the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author or co-author of many books, including Framed: America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance and Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (And How We the People Can Correct It).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Constitutional Conversations 1
1 A Constitutional Accident Waiting to Happen 15
2 Parlor Games 18
3 An Agenda for Constitutional Reform 22
4 "Clause and Effect": An Imagined Conversation with Sanford Levinson 28
5 The One Senator, One Vote Clauses 35
6 Our (Almost) Perfect Constitution 40
7 Unnecessary and Unintelligible 43
8 The Nominee Is ... Article V 51
9 A Natural Aristocracy? 54
10 "Neither Force nor Will" 57
11 Presidential Elections and Constitutional Stupidities 61
12 The Presidential Age Requirement and Public Policy Agenda Setting 67
13 The Last Centrifugal Force 71
14 Someone Should Have Told Spiro Agnew 75
15 Old People and Good Behavior 77
16 Divided Suffrage 81
17 The Constitution of Fear 84
18 Criminal Procedure as the Servant of Politics 90
19 Our Unconstitutional Senate 95
20 How to Violate the Constitution without Really Trying: Lessons from the Repeal of Prohibition to the Balanced Budget Amendment 98
21 The Whole Thing 103
22 How Stupid Can a Coasean Constitution Be? 107
23 Constitutional Tragedies and Giving Refuge to the Devil 115
24 The Meaning of Constitutional Tragedy 121
25 The Tragic Case of Capital Punishment 129
26 Constitutional Tragedies: The Dark Side of Judgment 139
27 Good Constitutions and Bad Choices 147
28 Jocasta Undone: Constitutional Courts in the Midst of Life and Death 152
29 Constitutional Tragedy in Dying: Or Whose Tragedy Is It Anyway? 162
30 Dramatic Jurisprudence 172
31 Constitutional Farce 180
32 Constitutional Merry-Go-Round: The First Time Tragedy, the Second Time Farce 189
33 Glamis, Yes; Cawdor, Yes - but King of Scotland? 203
34 Brown v. Board of Education 207
35 Tragedy and Constitutional Interpretation: The California Civil Rights Initiative 217
36 The Meaning of Blacks' Fidelity to the Constitution 226
37 Tragedies under the Common Law Constitution 235
38 McCulloch v. Maryland 241
39 Antigone and Creon 248
App The Constitution of the United States 257
About the Contributors 279
Index 285
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