Our Constitution speaks in general terms of “liberty” and “property,” of the “privileges and immunities” of citizens, and of the “equal protection of the laws”—open-ended phrases that seem to invite readers to reflect in them their own visions and agendas. Yet, recognizing that the Constitution cannot be merely what its interpreters wish it to be, this volume’s authors draw on literary and mathematical analogies to explore how the fundamental charter of American government should be construed today.
A lively and important contribution to the continuing dialogue on constitutional interpretation… [The book] serves to remind us of the trouble we make for ourselves when we assume that we can predict the conclusions of the original intentionalist, that liberals are always activists and conservatives never, or that the protections of liberty afforded by a living Constitution have all come from only one ideological camp.
This book amounts to an energetic and often highly illuminating discussion of how constitutional interpretation inevitably involves substantive choices but is not simply a matter of making things up… On Reading the Constitution reminds us of the extent to which our understanding of constitutional interpretation remains in a primitive state… Tribe and Dorf’s book counts as an unusually articulate contribution to the large number of recent works attempting to justify, to preserve, and to extend the work of the Warren Court.
[A] well-argued and clearly written volume… By the clarity and persuasiveness of their detailed analysis of particular cases, they…establish that progress is made most securely when one proceeds with caution and humility.
A provocative, well argued book.
- 164 pages
- 0-1/2 x 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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