In this fourth edition, Sanford Levinson extends McCloskey's magisterial treatment to address the Court's most recent decisions, including its controversial ruling in Bush v. Gore and its expansion of sexual privacy in Lawrence v. Texas.
For more than fifty years, Robert G. McCloskey's classic work on the Supreme Court's role in constructing the US Constitution has introduced generations of students to the workings of our nation's highest court. As in prior editions, McCloskey's original text remains unchanged. In his historical interpretation, he argues that the strength of the Court has always been its sensitivity to the changing political scene, as well as its reluctance to stray too far from the main currents of public sentiment. In this new edition, Sanford Levinson extends McCloskey's magisterial treatment to address developments since the 2010 election, including the Supreme Court's decisions regarding the Defense of Marriage Act, the Affordable Care Act, and gay marriage. The best and most concise account of the Supreme Court and its place in American politics, McCloskey's wonderfully readable book is an essential guide to the past, present, and future prospects of this institution.
In "An Argument Open to All, " renowned legal scholar Sanford Levinson takes a novel approach to what is perhaps America's most famous political tract. Rather than concern himself with the authors as historical figures, or how "The Federalist" helps us understand the original intent of the framers of the Constitution, Levinson examines each essay for the "political" wisdom it can offer us today. In eighty-five short essays, each keyed to a different essay in "The Federalist, " he considers such questions as whether present generations can rethink their constitutional arrangements; how much effort we should exert to preserve America's traditional culture; and whether "The Federalist"'s arguments even suggest the desirability of world government. "
This book examines the "constitutional faith" that has, since 1788, been a central component of American "civil religion." By taking seriously the parallel between wholehearted acceptance of the Constitution and religious faith, Sanford Levinson opens up a host of intriguing questions about what it means to be American. While some view the Constitution as the central component of an American religion that serves to unite the social order, Levinson maintains that its sacred role can result in conflict, fragmentation, and even war. To Levinson, the Constitution's value lies in the realm of the discourse it sustains: a uniquely American form of political rhetoric that allows citizens to grapple with every important public issue imaginable. In a new afterword, Levinson looks at the deepening of constitutional worship and attributes the current widespread frustrations with the government to the static nature of the Constitution.
Can theories of evolution explain the development of our capacity for moral judgment and the content of morality itself? If bad behavior punished by the criminal law is attributable to physical causes, rather than being intentional or voluntary as traditionally assumed, what are the implications for rethinking the criminal justice system? Is evolutionary theory and "nature talk," at least as practiced to date, inherently conservative and resistant to progressive and feminist proposals for social changes to counter subordination and secure equality? In Evolution and Morality, a group of contributors from philosophy, law, political science, history, and genetics address many of the philosophical, legal, and political issues raised by such questions. This insightful interdisciplinary volume examines the possibilities of a naturalistic ethics, the implications of behavioral morality for reform of the criminal law, the prospects for a biopolitical science, and the relationship between nature, culture, and social engineering.
Every discipline has its canon: the set of standard texts, approaches, examples, and stories by which it is recognized and which its members repeatedly invoke and employ. Although the last twenty-five years have seen the influence of interdisciplinary approaches to legal studies expand, there has been little recent consideration of what is and what ought to be canonical in the study of law today. Legal Canons brings together fifteen essays which seek to map out the legal canon and the way in which law is taught today. In order to understand how the twin ideas of canons and canonicity operate in law, each essay focuses on a particular aspect, from contracts and constitutional law to questions of race and gender. The ascendance of law and economics, feminism, critical race theory, and gay legal studies, as well as the increasing influence of both rational-actor methodology and postmodernism, are all scrutinized by the leading scholars in the field. A timely and comprehensive volume, Legal Canons articulates the need for, and means to, opening the debate on canonicity in legal studies. Table of Contents
Few topics are more ubiquitous in everyday life and, at the same time, more controversial in practice, than that of one's moral obligation to loyalty. Featuring essays by scholars working in a variety of subjects from law to psychology, Loyalty presents diverse perspectives on dilemmas posed by potential conflicts between loyalties to specific institutions or professional roles and more universalistic conceptions of moral duty. The volume begins with a philosophical exploration of theories of loyalty, both Eastern and Western, then moves to examine several problematic situations in which loyalty is often a factor: partisan politics, the armed forces, and lawyer-client relationships. A fair and balanced analysis from a wide range of disciplinary and normative viewpoints, Loyalty infuses new life into an oft-tread avenue of scholarly inquiry. Contributors: Ryan K. Balot, Paul O. Carrese, Yasmin Dawood, Bernard Gert, Kathleen M. Higgins, Sanford Levinson, Daniel Markovits, Lynn Mather, Russell Muirhead, Nancy Sherman, Paul Woodruff
An increasing number of constitutional theorists, within both the legal academy and university departments of government, are focusing on the conceptual and political problems attached to the notion of constitutional amendment. Amendments are, among other things, recognitions of the imperfection of existing schemes of government. The relative ease or difficulty of amendment has significant implications for the ways that governments respond to problems that call either for new structures of governance or new powers for already established structures. This book brings together essays by leading legal authorities and political scientists on a range of questions from whether the U.S. Constitution is subject to amendment by procedures other than those authorized by Article V to how significant change is conceptualized within classical rabbinic Judaism. Though the essays are concerned for the most part with the American experience, other constitutional traditions are considered as well. The contributors include Bruce Ackerman, Akhil Reed Amar, Mark E. Brandon, David R. Dow, Stephen M. Griffin, Stephen Holmes and Cass R. Sunstein, Sanford Levinson, Donald Lutz, Walter Murphy, Frederick Schauer, John R. Vile, and Noam J. Zohar.
"Diversity" has become a mantra within discussions of university admissions policies and many other arenas of American society. In the essays collected here, Sanford Levinson, a leading scholar of constitutional law and American government, wrestles with various notions of diversity. He begins by explaining why he finds the concept to be almost useless as a genuine guide to public policy. Discussing affirmative action in university admissions, including the now famous University of Michigan Law School case, he argues both that there may be good reasons to use preferences--including race and ethnicity--and that these reasons have relatively little to do with any cogently developed theory of diversity. Distinguished by Levinson's characteristic open-mindedness and willingness to tease out the full implications of various claims, each of these nine essays, written over the past decade, develops a case study focusing on a particular aspect of public life in a richly diverse, and sometimes bitterly divided, society. Although most discussions of diversity have focused on race and ethnicity, Levinson is particularly interested in religious diversity and its implications. Why, he asks, do arguments for racial and ethnic diversity not also counsel a concern to achieve religious diversity within a student body? He considers the propriety of judges drawing on their religious views in making legal decisions and the kinds of questions Senators should feel free to ask nominees to the federal judiciary who have proclaimed the importance of their religion in structuring their own lives. In exploring the sense in which Sandy Koufax can be said to be a "Jewish baseball player," he engages in broad reflections on professional identity. He asks whether it is desirable, or even possible, to subordinate merely "personal" aspects of one's identity--religion, political viewpoints, gender--to the impersonal demands of the professional role. Wrestling with Diversity is a powerful interrogation of the assumptions and contradictions underlying public life in a multicultural world.
Is it "Stalinist" for a formerly communist country to tear down a statue of Stalin? Should the Confederate flag be allowed to fly over the South Carolina state capitol? Is it possible for America to honor General Custer and the Sioux Nation, Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln? Indeed, can a liberal, multicultural society memorialize anyone at all, or is it committed to a strict neutrality about the quality of the lives led by its citizens?In Written in Stone, legal scholar Sanford Levinson considers the tangled responses of ever-changing societies to the monuments and commemorations created by past regimes or outmoded cultural and political systems. Drawing on examples from Albania to Zimbabwe, from Moscow to Managua, and paying particular attention to examples throughout the American South, Levinson looks at social and legal arguments regarding the display, construction, modification, and destruction of public monuments. He asks what kinds of claims the past has on the present, particularly if the present is defined in dramatic opposition to its past values. In addition, he addresses the possibilities for responding to the use and abuse of public spaces and explores how a culture might memorialize its historical figures and events in ways that are beneficial to all its members.Written in Stone is a meditation on how national cultures have been or may yet be defined through the deployment of public monuments. It adds a thoughtful and crucial voice into debates surrounding historical accuracy and representation, and will be welcomed by the many readers concerned with such issues.