The Constitution of Risk

The Constitution of Risk

by Adrian Vermeule


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The Constitution of Risk by Adrian Vermeule

The Constitution of Risk is the first book to combine constitutional theory with the theory of risk regulation. The book argues that constitutional rulemaking is best understood as a means of managing political risks. Constitutional law structures and regulates the risks that arise in and from political life, such as an executive coup or military putsch, political abuse of ideological or ethnic minorities, or corrupt self-dealing by officials. The book claims that the best way to manage political risks is an approach it calls "optimizing constitutionalism" - in contrast to the worst-case thinking that underpins "precautionary constitutionalism," a mainstay of liberal constitutional theory. Drawing on a broad range of disciplines such as decision theory, game theory, welfare economics, political science, and psychology, this book advocates constitutional rulemaking undertaken in a spirit of welfare maximization, and offers a corrective to the pervasive and frequently irrational attitude of distrust of official power that is so prominent in American constitutional history and discourse.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107043725
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 12/31/2013
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Adrian Vermeule is John H. Watson Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is the author or co-author of seven previous books, most recently The System of the Constitution (2011). He was formerly Bernard D. Meltzer Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012.

Table of Contents

Part I. Theory: 1. Precautionary constitutionalism; 2. Optimizing constitutionalism: the mature position; Part II. Applications: 3. Checks and balances in the extended republic: the framers' self-defeating precautions; 4. The risks of impartiality: on judging in one's own cause; 5. The risks of deliberation: second opinions; 6. The risks of expertise: political administration and expert groupthink.

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