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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.
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.
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.
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