Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (And How We the People Can Correct…

Paperback | February 21, 2008

bySanford Levinson

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Levinson argues that too many of our Constitution's 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, butcertainly 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 takeour 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. "Admirably gutsy and unfashionable." --Michael Kinsley, The New York Times "Bold, bracingly unromantic, and filled with illuminating insights. He accomplishes an unlikely feat, which is to make a really serious argument for a new constitutional convention, one that is founded squarely on democratic ideals." --Cass R. Sunstein, The New Republic "Everyone who cares about how our government works should read this thoughtful book." --Washington Lawyer

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Levinson argues that too many of our Constitution's 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, butcertainly problematic, is the appointment of...

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 vol...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 9.1 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:February 21, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195365577

ISBN - 13:9780195365573

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Table of Contents

Prelude: The Wisdom of Thomas JeffersonIntroduction: A Tale of Two Signings1. The Ratification Referendum: Sending the Constitution to a New Convention for Repair2. Our Undemocratic Legislative Process3. The Legacy of Article II: Too-Powerful Presidents, Chosen in an Indefensible Process, Who Cannot Be Displaced Even When They Are Manifestly Incompetent4. Life Tenure for Supreme Court Justices: An Idea Whose Time Has Passed5. The Constitution as Creator of Second-Class Citizens6. The Impermeable Article V7. Disenchantment and Desire: What Is to Be Done?Coda: The Wisdom of Woodrow WilsonAppendix: The Constitution of the United StatesNotesAcknowledgmentsIndex

Editorial Reviews

"A lucidly written and compelling work, Our Undemocratic Constitution asks hard questions about the nature of our founding document. Levinson, who is one of the nation's leading constitutional scholars, argues here that much about the Constitution stands in need of dramatic change. This is atimely and important book, and our country would benefit if its ideas provoked real debate."--Elena Kagan, Dean, Harvard Law School