The essays in this volume - written by prominent philosophers, political scientists and legal scholars - address the basic purposes of constitutions and their status as fundamental law. Some deal with specific constitutional provisions: they ask, for example, which branches of government should have the authority to conduct foreign policy, or how the judiciary should be organized, or what role a preamble should play in a nation's founding document. Other essays explore questions of constitutional design: they consider the advantages of a federal system of government, or the challenges of designing a constitution for a pluralistic society - or they ask what form of constitution best promotes personal liberty and economic prosperity.
Table of Contents1. What are constitutions, and what should (and can) they do? Larry Alexander; 2. Constitution and fundamental law: the lesson of Classical Athens John David Lewis; 3. Contract, covenant, constitution Loren E. Lomasky; 4. Constitutionalism in the age of terror Michael Zuckert and Peter Valenzuela; 5. The liberal constitution and foreign affairs Fernando R. Tesón; 6. Do constitutions have a point? Reflections on 'parchment barriers' and preambles Sanford Levinson; 7. The origins of an independent judiciary in New York, 1621–1777 Scott D. Gerber; 8. Foot voting, political ignorance, and constitutional design Ilya Somin; 9. Pluralist constitutionalism William A. Galston; 10. Deliberative democracy and constitutions James S. Fishkin; 11. The constitution of nondomination Guido Pincione; 12. Can we design an optimal constitution? Of structural ambiguity and rights clarity Richard A. Epstein.