Methods of Interpretation

How the Supreme Court Reads the Constitution

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Author: Lackland H. Bloom (Jr.)

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand

ISBN: N.A

Category: Law

Page: 566

View: 8069

This title examines the various methodologies the Supreme Court, and individual justices, have employed throughout history when interpreting the Constitution.

Do Great Cases Make Bad Law?

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Author: Lackland H. Bloom, Jr.,Lackland H. Bloom (Jr.)

Publisher: Oxford University Press (UK)

ISBN: 019976588X

Category: Law

Page: 435

View: 853

Justice Holmes proclaimed that 'great cases, like hard cases make bad law'. He explained that this was so because the 'hydraulic pressures' of the great case tend to distort the judgements of the justices. The purpose of this book is to examine 25 great cases that arose throughout the history of the Supreme Court and to attempt to determine whether Holmes was correct. More particularly, the book discusses the impact that the greatness of the case may have had on its presentation to the Court, the Court's deliberations, the decision, the opinion and the law that was created.

Constitutional Law for a Changing America

A Short Course

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Author: Lee Epstein,Thomas G. Walker

Publisher: CQ Press

ISBN: 1506398693

Category: Law

Page: 840

View: 1169

Drawing on political science as much as from legal studies, Constitutional Law for a Changing America helps students realize that Supreme Court cases are more than just legal names and citations. Ideal for a one-semester course, the Short Course offers all of the hallmarks of the Rights and Powers volumes in a more condensed format. The authors are known for fastidious revising and streamlining of decisions. A recipient of 12 grants from the National Science Foundation for her work on law and legal institutions, Lee Epstein has authored or co-authored over 100 articles and essays, as well as 15 books, and received the Teaching and Mentoring Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. Additionally, Thomas G. Walker is the Goodrich C. White Professor of Political Science at Emory University and co-author of A Court Divided, which won the V. O. Key, Jr. Award for the best book on southern politics.

A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law

Federal Courts and the Law

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Author: Antonin Scalia

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400882958

Category: Law

Page: 200

View: 4075

We are all familiar with the image of the immensely clever judge who discerns the best rule of common law for the case at hand. According to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a judge like this can maneuver through earlier cases to achieve the desired aim—"distinguishing one prior case on his left, straight-arming another one on his right, high-stepping away from another precedent about to tackle him from the rear, until (bravo!) he reaches the goal—good law." But is this common-law mindset, which is appropriate in its place, suitable also in statutory and constitutional interpretation? In a witty and trenchant essay, Justice Scalia answers this question with a resounding negative. In exploring the neglected art of statutory interpretation, Scalia urges that judges resist the temptation to use legislative intention and legislative history. In his view, it is incompatible with democratic government to allow the meaning of a statute to be determined by what the judges think the lawgivers meant rather than by what the legislature actually promulgated. Eschewing the judicial lawmaking that is the essence of common law, judges should interpret statutes and regulations by focusing on the text itself. Scalia then extends this principle to constitutional law. He proposes that we abandon the notion of an everchanging Constitution and pay attention to the Constitution's original meaning. Although not subscribing to the “strict constructionism” that would prevent applying the Constitution to modern circumstances, Scalia emphatically rejects the idea that judges can properly “smuggle” in new rights or deny old rights by using the Due Process Clause, for instance. In fact, such judicial discretion might lead to the destruction of the Bill of Rights if a majority of the judges ever wished to reach that most undesirable of goals. This essay is followed by four commentaries by Professors Gordon Wood, Laurence Tribe, Mary Ann Glendon, and Ronald Dworkin, who engage Justice Scalia’s ideas about judicial interpretation from varying standpoints. In the spirit of debate, Justice Scalia responds to these critics. Featuring a new foreword that discusses Scalia’s impact, jurisprudence, and legacy, this witty and trenchant exchange illuminates the brilliance of one of the most influential legal minds of our time.

Untrodden Ground

How Presidents Interpret the Constitution

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Author: Harold H. Bruff

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022621110X

Category: History

Page: 557

View: 2388

Examines constitutional innovations related to executive power made by each of the nation's forty-four presidents.

Six Amendments

How and Why We Should Change the Constitution

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Author: John Paul Stevens

Publisher: Little, Brown

ISBN: 0316373745

Category: Political Science

Page: 192

View: 1463

For the first time ever, a retired Supreme Court Justice offers a manifesto on how the Constitution needs to change. By the time of his retirement in June 2010, John Paul Stevens had become the second longest serving Justice in the history of the Supreme Court. Now he draws upon his more than three decades on the Court, during which he was involved with many of the defining decisions of the modern era, to offer a book like none other. SIX AMENDMENTS is an absolutely unprecedented call to arms, detailing six specific ways in which the Constitution should be amended in order to protect our democracy and the safety and wellbeing of American citizens. Written with the same precision and elegance that made Stevens's own Court opinions legendary for their clarity as well as logic, SIX AMENDMENTS is a remarkable work, both because of its unprecedented nature and, in an age of partisan ferocity, its inarguable common sense.

Uncertain Justice

The Roberts Court and the Constitution

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Author: Laurence Tribe,Joshua Matz

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

ISBN: 0805099131

Category: Political Science

Page: 416

View: 5468

With the Supreme Court more influential than ever, this eye-opening book tells the story of how the Roberts Court is shaking the foundation of our nation's laws From Citizens United to its momentous rulings regarding Obamacare and gay marriage, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has profoundly affected American life. Yet the court remains a mysterious institution, and the motivations of the nine men and women who serve for life are often obscure. Now, in Uncertain Justice, Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz show the surprising extent to which the Roberts Court is revising the meaning of our Constitution. This essential book arrives at a make-or-break moment for the nation and the court. Political gridlock, cultural change, and technological progress mean that the court's decisions on key topics—including free speech, privacy, voting rights, and presidential power—could be uniquely durable. Acutely aware of their opportunity, the justices are rewriting critical aspects of constitutional law and redrawing the ground rules of American government. Tribe—one of the country's leading constitutional lawyers—and Matz dig deeply into the court's recent rulings, stepping beyond tired debates over judicial "activism" to draw out hidden meanings and silent battles. The undercurrents they reveal suggest a strikingly different vision for the future of our country, one that is sure to be hotly debated. Filled with original insights and compelling human stories, Uncertain Justice illuminates the most colorful story of all—how the Supreme Court and the Constitution frame the way we live.

On Reading the Constitution

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Author: Laurence H. TRIBE,Michael C. Dorf,Laurence H Tribe

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674044452

Category: Political Science

Page: 164

View: 598

The Conservative Assault on the Constitution

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Author: Erwin Chemerinsky

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9781451606355

Category: History

Page: 336

View: 3094

Over the last few decades, the Supreme Court and the federal appellate courts have undergone a dramatic shift to the right, the result of a determined effort by right-wing lawmakers and presidents to reinterpret the Constitution by reshaping the judiciary. Conservative activist justices have narrowed the scope of the Constitution, denying its protections to millions of Americans, exactly as the lawmakers who appointed and confirmed these jurists intended. Basic long-standing principles of constitutional law have been overturned by the Rehnquist and Roberts courts. As distinguished law professor and constitutional expert Erwin Chemerinsky demonstrates in this invaluable book, these changes affect the lives of every American. As a result of political pressure from conservatives and a series of Supreme Court decisions, our public schools are increasingly separate and unequal, to the great disadvantage of poor and minority students. Right-wing politicians and justices are dismantling the wall separating church and state, allowing ever greater government support for religion. With the blessing of the Supreme Court, absurdly harsh sentences are being handed down to criminal defendants, such as life sentences for shoplifting and other petty offenses. Even in death penalty cases, defendants are being denied the right to competent counsel at trial, and as a result innocent people have been convicted and sentenced to death. Right-wing politicians complain that government is too big and intrusive while at the same time they are only too happy to insert the government into the most intimate aspects of the private lives of citizens when doing so conforms to conservative morality. Conservative activist judges say that the Constitution gives people an inherent right to own firearms but not to make their own medical decisions. In some states it is easier to buy an assault rifle than to obtain an abortion. Nowhere has the conservative assault on the Constitution been more visible or more successful than in redefining the role of the president. From Richard Nixon to George W. Bush, conservatives have sought to significantly increase presidential power. The result in recent years has been unprecedented abuses, including indefinite detentions, illegal surveillance, and torture of innocent people. Finally, access to the courts is being restricted by new rulings that deny legal protections to ordinary Americans. Fewer lawsuits alleging discrimination in employment are heard; fewer people are able to sue corporations or governments for injuries they have suffered; and even when these cases do go to trial, new restrictions limit damages that plaintiffs can collect. The first step in reclaiming the protections of the Constitution, says Chemerinsky, is to recognize that right-wing justices are imposing their personal prejudices, not making neutral decisions about the scope of the Constitution, as they claim, or following the "original meaning" of the Constitution. Only then do we stand a chance of reclaiming our constitutional liberties from a rigid ideological campaign that has transformed our courts and our laws. Only then can we return to a constitutional law that advances freedom and equality.

America's Constitution

A Biography

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Author: Akhil Reed Amar

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 1588364879

Category: History

Page: 672

View: 4314

In America’s Constitution, one of this era’s most accomplished constitutional law scholars, Akhil Reed Amar, gives the first comprehensive account of one of the world’s great political texts. Incisive, entertaining, and occasionally controversial, this “biography” of America’s framing document explains not only what the Constitution says but also why the Constitution says it. We all know this much: the Constitution is neither immutable nor perfect. Amar shows us how the story of this one relatively compact document reflects the story of America more generally. (For example, much of the Constitution, including the glorious-sounding “We the People,” was lifted from existing American legal texts, including early state constitutions.) In short, the Constitution was as much a product of its environment as it was a product of its individual creators’ inspired genius. Despite the Constitution’s flaws, its role in guiding our republic has been nothing short of amazing. Skillfully placing the document in the context of late-eighteenth-century American politics, America’s Constitution explains, for instance, whether there is anything in the Constitution that is unamendable; the reason America adopted an electoral college; why a president must be at least thirty-five years old; and why–for now, at least–only those citizens who were born under the American flag can become president. From his unique perspective, Amar also gives us unconventional wisdom about the Constitution and its significance throughout the nation’s history. For one thing, we see that the Constitution has been far more democratic than is conventionally understood. Even though the document was drafted by white landholders, a remarkably large number of citizens (by the standards of 1787) were allowed to vote up or down on it, and the document’s later amendments eventually extended the vote to virtually all Americans. We also learn that the Founders’ Constitution was far more slavocratic than many would acknowledge: the “three fifths” clause gave the South extra political clout for every slave it owned or acquired. As a result, slaveholding Virginians held the presidency all but four of the Republic’s first thirty-six years, and proslavery forces eventually came to dominate much of the federal government prior to Lincoln’s election. Ambitious, even-handed, eminently accessible, and often surprising, America’s Constitution is an indispensable work, bound to become a standard reference for any student of history and all citizens of the United States.

Active Liberty

Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution

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Author: Stephen Breyer

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 9780307424617

Category: Political Science

Page: 176

View: 9311

A brilliant new approach to the Constitution and courts of the United States by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.For Justice Breyer, the Constitution’s primary role is to preserve and encourage what he calls “active liberty”: citizen participation in shaping government and its laws. As this book argues, promoting active liberty requires judicial modesty and deference to Congress; it also means recognizing the changing needs and demands of the populace. Indeed, the Constitution’s lasting brilliance is that its principles may be adapted to cope with unanticipated situations, and Breyer makes a powerful case against treating it as a static guide intended for a world that is dead and gone. Using contemporary examples from federalism to privacy to affirmative action, this is a vital contribution to the ongoing debate over the role and power of our courts. From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Constitution

An Introduction

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Author: Michael Paulsen,Luke Paulsen

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465093299

Category: Law

Page: 384

View: 4916

From war powers to health care, freedom of speech to gun ownership, religious liberty to abortion, practically every aspect of American life is shaped by the Constitution. This vital document, along with its history of political and judicial interpretation, governs our individual lives and the life of our nation. Yet most of us know surprisingly little about the Constitution itself, and are woefully unprepared to think for ourselves about recent developments in its long and storied history. The Constitution: An Introduction is the definitive modern primer on the US Constitution. Michael Stokes Paulsen, one of the nation’s most provocative and accomplished scholars of the Constitution, and his son Luke Paulsen, a gifted young writer and lay scholar, have combined to write a lively introduction to the supreme law of the United States, covering the Constitution’s history and meaning in clear, accessible terms. Beginning with the Constitution’s birth in 1787, Paulsen and Paulsen offer a grand tour of its provisions, principles, and interpretation, introducing readers to the characters and controversies that have shaped the Constitution in the 200-plus years since its creation. Along the way, the authors provide correctives to the shallow myths and partial truths that pervade so much popular treatment of the Constitution, from school textbooks to media accounts of today’s controversies, and offer powerful insights into the Constitution’s true meaning. A lucid and engaging guide, The Constitution: An Introduction provides readers with the tools to think critically and independently about constitutional issues—a skill that is ever more essential to the continued flourishing of American democracy.

American Constitutional Law

Essays, Cases, and Comparative Notes

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Author: Donald P. Kommers,John E. Finn,Gary J. Jacobsohn

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 9780742526877

Category: Political Science

Page: 1095

View: 5801

A course on constitutional law and civil liberties can be-and is-nothing less than an extended inquiry into the meaning of America. American Constitutional Law, newly revised by Donald P. Kommers, John E. Finn, and Gary J. Jacobsohn, is a casebook made for such an inquiry. True to the liberal arts tradition from which it emerges, it goes beyond the facts and rulings of the great Supreme Court cases to engage important issues of political theory and the nature of our democracy. Although the focus is on law in the United States, Kommers, Finn, and Jacobsohn break new ground by incorporating comparative materials that enrich the study of the American Constitution, challenging the reader to assess American values in light of other legal systems and understandings of governance. In an era of constitutional globalization, this new edition of a distinguished text is essential to an appreciation of tradition and diversity.

Interpreting Law

A Primer on How to Read Statutes and the Constitution

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Author: N.A

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781634599122

Category:

Page: N.A

View: 412

If You Were There When They Signed The Constitution

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Author: Elizabeth Levy

Publisher: Scholastic Inc.

ISBN: 1338113577

Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Page: 80

View: 4252

If you were there when they signed the Constitution you would see --Why the Constitution is called a miracle. --The first big argument. --What was missing from the Constitution. This books takes you behind the locked doors of Philadelphia's State House during the history-making summer of 1787. You will meet the key delegates and find out what is going on.

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia

History, Principle and Interpretation

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Author: Nicholas Aroney,Peter Gerangelos,Sarah Murray,James Stellios

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1316276775

Category: Law

Page: N.A

View: 6223

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia examines the body of constitutional jurisprudence in an original and rigorous yet accessible way. It begins by exploring the historical and intellectual context of ideas surrounding the Constitution's inception, and closely examines its text, structure, principles and purposes in that light. The book then unpacks and critically analyses the High Court's interpretation of the Constitution in a manner that follows the Constitution's own logic and method of organisation. Each topic is defined through detailed reference to the existing case law, which is set out historically to facilitate an appreciation of the progressive development of constitutional doctrine since the Constitution came into force in 1901. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia provides an engaging and distinctive treatment of this fundamental area of law. It is an excellent book for anyone seeking to understand the significance and interpretation of the Constitution.

A Citizen’s Guide to the Constitution and the Supreme Court

Constitutional Conflict in American Politics

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Author: Morgan Marietta

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1135015309

Category: Political Science

Page: 216

View: 5537

The U.S. Constitution is a blueprint for a free society as well as a source of enduring conflict over how that society must be governed. The competing ways of reading our founding document shape the decisions of the Supreme Court, which acts as the final voice on constitutional questions. This breezy, concise guide explains the central conflicts that frame our constitutional controversies, written in clear non-academic language to serve as a resource for engaged citizens, both inside and outside of an academic setting. After covering the main points of conflict in constitutional law, Marietta gives readers an overview of the perspectives from the leading schools of constititional interpretation--textualism, common law constitutionalism, originalism, and living constitutionalism. He then walks through the points of conflict and competing schools of thought in the context of several landmark cases and ends with advice to readers on how to interpret constitutional issues ourselves.

Dissent and the Supreme Court

Its Role in the Court's History and the Nation's Constitutional Dialogue

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Author: Melvin I. Urofsky

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 030774132X

Category: Law

Page: 544

View: 5651

In his major work, acclaimed historian and judicial authority Melvin Urofsky examines the great dissents throughout the Court's long history. Constitutional dialogue is one of the ways in which we as a people reinvent and reinvigorate our democratic society. The Supreme Court has interpreted the meaning of the Constitution, acknowledged that the Court's majority opinions have not always been right, and initiated a critical discourse about what a particular decision should mean and fashioning subsequent decisions--largely through the power of dissent. Urofsky shows how the practice grew slowly but steadily, beginning with the infamous & now overturned case of Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) during which Chief Justice Roger Taney's opinion upheld slaver and ending with the present age of incivility, in which reasoned dialogue seems less and less possible. Dissent on the court and off, Urofsky argues in this major work, has been a crucial ingredient in keeping the Constitution alive and must continue to be so.

The Most Dangerous Branch

Inside the Supreme Court's Assault on the Constitution

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Author: David A. Kaplan

Publisher: Crown

ISBN: 1524759929

Category: Political Science

Page: 464

View: 2715

In the bestselling tradition of The Nine and The Brethren, The Most Dangerous Branch takes us inside the secret world of the Supreme Court. David A. Kaplan, the former legal affairs editor of Newsweek, shows how the justices subvert the role of the other branches of government—and how we’ve come to accept it at our peril. With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court has never before been more central in American life. It is the nine justices who too often now decide the controversial issues of our time—from abortion and same-sex marriage, to gun control, campaign finance and voting rights. The Court is so crucial that many voters in 2016 made their choice based on whom they thought their presidential candidate would name to the Court. Donald Trump picked Neil Gorsuch—the key decision of his new administration. The next justice—replacing Anthony Kennedy—will be even more important, holding the swing vote over so much social policy. Is that really how democracy is supposed to work? Based on exclusive interviews with the justices and dozens of their law clerks, Kaplan provides fresh details about life behind the scenes at the Court – Clarence Thomas’s simmering rage, Antonin Scalia’s death, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s celebrity, Breyer Bingo, the petty feuding between Gorsuch and the chief justice, and what John Roberts thinks of his critics. Kaplan presents a sweeping narrative of the justices’ aggrandizement of power over the decades – from Roe v. Wade to Bush v. Gore to Citizens United, to rulings during the 2017-18 term. But the arrogance of the Court isn’t partisan: Conservative and liberal justices alike are guilty of overreach. Challenging conventional wisdom about the Court’s transcendent power, The Most Dangerous Branch is sure to rile both sides of the political aisle.