The Living Constitution

Hardcover | May 24, 2010

byDavid A. Strauss

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once remarked that the theory of an evolving, "living" Constitution effectively "rendered the Constitution useless." He wanted a "dead Constitution," he joked, arguing it must be interpreted as the framers originally understood it. In The Living Constitution, leading constitutional scholar David Strauss forcefully argues against the claims of Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork, and other "originalists," explaining in clear, jargon-free English how the Constitution can sensibly evolve, without falling into the anything-goesflexibility caricatured by opponents. The living Constitution is not an out-of-touch liberal theory, Strauss further shows, but a mainstream tradition of American jurisprudence--a common-law approach to the Constitution, rooted in the written document but also based on precedent. Each generationhas contributed precedents that guide and confine judicial rulings, yet allow us to meet the demands of today, not force us to follow the commands of the long-dead Founders. Strauss explores how judicial decisions adapted the Constitution's text (and contradicted original intent) to produce some ofour most profound accomplishments: the end of racial segregation, the expansion of women's rights, and the freedom of speech. By contrast, originalism suffers from fatal flaws: the impossibility of truly divining original intent, the difficulty of adapting eighteenth-century understandings to themodern world, and the pointlessness of chaining ourselves to decisions made centuries ago. David Strauss is one of our leading authorities on Constitutional law--one with practical knowledge as well, having served as Assistant Solicitor General of the United States and argued eighteen cases before the United States Supreme Court. Now he offers a profound new understanding of how theConstitution can remain vital to life in the twenty-first century.

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once remarked that the theory of an evolving, "living" Constitution effectively "rendered the Constitution useless." He wanted a "dead Constitution," he joked, arguing it must be interpreted as the framers originally understood it. In The Living Constitution, leading constitutional scholar David Str...

David A. Strauss is the Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, and one of the nation's leading constitutional law scholars. He has also served as Special Counsel to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee and Assistant Solicitor General of the United States, and argued eighteen cases be...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:176 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:May 24, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195377273

ISBN - 13:9780195377279

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