Cover: The Constitution in Conflict, from Harvard University PressCover: The Constitution in Conflict in PAPERBACK

The Constitution in Conflict

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$50.00 • £43.95 • €45.95

ISBN 9780674165373

Publication Date: 03/19/1995


488 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Belknap Press


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Good political theory, good history, and a good read.Virginia Quarterly Review

Dr. Burt provides an excellent study of the evolving functions of the Supreme Court. His work carries the reader from the inceptions of the Court through Roe, Brown III and the surfeit of cases concerning the death penalty issue and abortion. His research illustrates a wide knowledge of source materials dealing with the evolution of the Court. Documentation was gathered from various disciplines to support his contentions concerning the conflicts within the Court. Most illuminating is the collection of annotated footnotes that offer supportive information in a way that does not interrupt the flow of the narrative… It is an excellent tome worthy of several readings.—Arthur K. Steinberg, Presidential Studies Quarterly

A well-written, thoughtful work, sure to be controversial, which adroitly challenges assumptions previously held by most scholars and laypeople about the courts and judicial supremacy.Choice

The Constitution in Conflict is an absolutely first-rate book, and it presents a well-thought-out attack on the standard notion of judicial supremacy that views the Supreme Court as the ‘sole’ or even ‘ultimate’ interpreter of the Constitution. Instead, Burt develops his notion of Madisonian constitutionalism that makes the Constitution far more of a communally interpreted document, in which the Court plays an important but not predominant role. The real contribution that Burt makes is not simply to suggest that we revise our understanding of the role of the Supreme Court; rather, he offers extremely interesting interpretations of particular thinkers, especially Madison and Lincoln, and episodes in our legal history, particularly Brown v. Board of Education. Readers from several disciplines, including law, American history, American political thought, and general political theory, will benefit from reading this book.—Sanford Levinson, University of Texas Law School

This book is especially well-written; sophisticated yet accessible. Burt articulates the dilemma of judicial review in a fresh and interesting fashion. The strongest single facet of the book is Burt’s ability to suggest that judicial review may have been persistently mischaracterized; it need not be equated with judicial ‘supremacy’ but rather with judicial authoritativeness in search of subsequent and collective legitimacy.—G. Edward White, University of Virginia Law School

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