The Democratic Constitution

Paperback | October 15, 2015

byNeal Devins, Louis Fisher

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Constitutional law is clearly shaped by judicial actors. But who else contributes? Scholars in the past have recognized that the legislative branch plays a significant role in determining structural issues, such as separation of powers and federalism, but stopped there - claiming that onlycourts had the independence and expertise to safeguard individual and minority rights. In this readable and engaging narrative, the authors identify the nuts and bolts of the national dialogue and relate succinct examples of how elected officials and the general public often dominate the SupremeCourt in defining the Constitution's meaning. Making use of case studies on race, privacy, federalism, war powers, speech, and religion, Devins and Fisher demonstrate how elected officials uphold individual rights in such areas as religious liberty and free speech as well as, and often better than,the courts.This fascinating debunking of judicial supremacy argues that nonjudicial contributions to constitutional interpretation make the Constitution more stable, more consistent with constitutional principles, and more protective of individual and minority rights.

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Constitutional law is clearly shaped by judicial actors. But who else contributes? Scholars in the past have recognized that the legislative branch plays a significant role in determining structural issues, such as separation of powers and federalism, but stopped there - claiming that onlycourts had the independence and expertise to sa...

Neal Devins is the Sandra Day O'Connor Professor of Law, Professor of Government, Director, Institute of Bill of Rights Law, William and Mary. Louis Fisher is Senior Specialist in Separation of Powers, Congressional Research Service.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 8.9 × 5.98 × 1.1 inPublished:October 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199916543

ISBN - 13:9780199916542

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction1. Judicial Supremacy as Orthodoxy2. Who Participates?3. Federalism4. Separation of Powers5. The War Power6. Privacy7. Race8. Speech9. Religion10. The Ongoing DialogueNotesCase IndexSubject Index

Editorial Reviews

"...well-suited for use as a supplementary graduate text...packed with useful information. For those who still assume that our Constitution only lives in Supreme Court opinions, the book will be an eye-opening corrective." --Perspectives on Politics