Cover: Freedom's Law: The Moral Reading of the American Constitution, from Harvard University PressCover: Freedom's Law in PAPERBACK

Freedom's Law

The Moral Reading of the American Constitution

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$39.00 • £33.95 • €35.95

ISBN 9780674319288

Publication Date: 04/25/1997


416 pages

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

North America only

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Eloquently written and forcefully argued.—Richard A. Epstein, The New York Times Book Review

Should be read as the most lucid and convincing partisan brief for the ‘liberal’ position in contemporary constitutional disputes… Dworkin is almost always right about legal principles and always elegant.—Mortimer Sellers, The Washington Post

An elegant series of essays…on difficult topics of constitutional principle. [Dworkin] analyses, with force and clarity, the rights of citizens in relation to abortion, euthanasia, affirmative action, libel and pornography. He complains, with justification, that judges—and politicians—continue to pretend, at least in public, that, even in hard cases, the judicial function is mechanical rather than creative. He argues that only when we openly recognize that judges necessarily make contemporary judgments of political morality, albeit constrained by integrity to respect existing legal principles, can adjudication in hard cases be reconciled with democratic accountability. If the public understands what is being done on its behalf, then it has the opportunity to influence the development of the law by comment and criticism… Professor Dworkin’s analysis of adjudication in hard cases has as much force on this side of the Atlantic Ocean…[and] is recommended to everyone interested in jurisprudence.—David Pannick, The Times

A rich, learned and profound [book]… It is [the] ‘originalist’ approach—that we must go strictly by the words in the Constitution and avoid creative interpretations—that Dworkin disputes in this collection of essays… [Dworkin’s] ideas are stimulating and his writing is able, forcible and clear.—David Mehegan, The Boston Globe

A familiar criticism of the American way of law is that judges, especially justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, presume to govern as philosopher-kings. Ronald Dworkin is perhaps the country’s most unabashed intellectual advocate for the idea that this is precisely what the judges ought to be doing. In this collection of essays Dworkin supports a right to abortion, euthanasia, affirmative action, and a view of free speech that not only embraces academic freedom but would also do away with most of the laws against libel and slander… Dworkin’s is a powerful mind, and there is much here that is provocative, even some that is persuasive.—Maimon Schwarzschild, Ethics

At all times, Dworkin’s writing is superb, clear, engaging, and erudite… The innately interesting material that he discusses will draw in many who might otherwise believe that this book is about complicated issues that they cannot understand. It is complicated, but Dworkin serves these issues up in bite-size pieces that most people can comprehend and these are issues that should matter to citizens who care about the Constitution and the judges who interpret the laws.—Sally E. Hadden, The Historian (Allentown, PA)

Whether or not readers agree with Dworkin on every point, they will come away from this thought-provoking book with a new respect for the Constitution as a vital, ethical document.Publishers Weekly

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