In a series of remarkable forays, Robert Post develops an original account of how law functions in a democratic society. His work offers a radically new perspective on some of the most pressing constitutional issues of our day, such as the regulation of racist speech, pornography, and privacy.
Drawing on work in sociology, philosophy, and political theory, Post demonstrates that the law establishes distinct and competing forms of social order: democracy, in which the law embodies the possibilities of collective self-determination; community, in which the law articulates and enforces a common social identity; and management, in which the law creates the conditions for accomplishing specific goals. Debates over the boundaries between these distinct domains, Post argues, are central to some of the most intractable problems of modern constitutional law. Here we see, for instance, how the controversy over the regulation of racist speech negotiates the boundary between communitarian and democratic forms of social ordering. We see how public forum doctrine, a crucial but notoriously mysterious component of First Amendment jurisprudence, arbitrates distinctions between the social domains of democracy and management. Taking up specific court cases, such as that against Hustler magazine and that allowing prayers before state legislatures, Post shows us what is actually at stake in these constitutional struggles.
A highly complex and sophisticated account of the operation of constitutional law in modern society, Constitutional Domains is essential reading for lawyers, social theorists, and makers of public policy.
What I value most about Post’s work is the care he takes to articulate positions he finally rejects and the honesty with which he acknowledges the pull of at least some of those positions. Unfailingly scrupulous, his work is exemplary.
Robert Post’s lively, penetrating intelligence is very much in evidence in these excellent essays. They deserve a wide audience.
Post is required reading for first amendment specialists, but his work has much broader appeal. These essays combine several impressive qualities—Post is an accomplished social theorist, a deeply knowledgeable and disciplined lawyer, a gifted conceptualizer and felicitous communicator—to produce a novel, subtle, and instructive account of fundamental, enduring problems of constitutional democracy and constitutional law.
Post is one of the…most productive and illuminating thinkers now writing about issues of freedom of speech. His body of work is unsurpassed by anyone in the legal or any other academy relative to the issues being discussed.
- 480 pages
- 6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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