The Constitution is one of the most revered documents in American politics. Yet this is a document that regularly places in the White House candidates who did not in fact get a majority of the popular vote. It gives Wyoming the same number of votes as California, which has seventy times the population of the Cowboy State. And it offers the President the power to overrule both houses of Congress on legislation he disagrees with on political grounds. Is this a recipe for a republic that reflects the needs and wants of today's Americans?
Taking a hard look at our much-venerated Constitution, Sanford Levinson here argues that too many of its 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.
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
|Product dimensions:||9.30(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Sanford Levinson holds the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School. The author of over 200 articles in professional and more popular journals, his books include Constitutional Faith (1988); Written in Stone (1998); Wrestling With Diversity (2003) and the edited volume, Torture: A Collection (Oxford University Press, 2004).
Table of Contents
Prelude: The Wisdom of Thomas Jefferson
Introduction: A Tale of Two Signings
1. The Ratification Referendum: Sending the Constitution to a New Convention for Repair
2. Our Undemocratic Legislative Process
3. The Legacy of Article II: Too-Powerful Presidents, Chosen in an Indefensible Process, Who Cannot Be Displaced Even When They Are Manifestly Incompetent
4. Life Tenure for Supreme Court Justices: An Idea Whose Time Has Passed
5. The Constitution as Creator of Second-Class Citizens
6. The Impermeable Article V
7. Disenchantment and Desire: What Is to Be Done?
Coda: The Wisdom of Woodrow Wilson
Appendix: The Constitution of the United States
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