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Constitutional Interpretation: Textual Meaning, Original Intent, and Judicial Review

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0700611416
ISBN-10: 070061141X
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Constitutional theory and judicial interpretation are major ways to understand the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court's role in American society. Whittington (politics, Princeton) offers an innovative constitutional theory based upon originalism, a revised normative defense of original intent. As a means of constitutional interpretation, originalism limits government actions within the constitutional framework and extends constitutional meaning to current disputes. Supreme Court interpretation and construction of the Constitution are analytically distinguished as ways to achieve constitutional meaning. Whittington demonstrates how the Court's legal and political foundations led to its judicial review authority over other governmental branches. This carefully constructed study of how "constitutional interpretation can fit into a larger theory of constitutional practice and authority" is highly recommended for legal scholars, academics, and individuals interested in the foundations of American government and the judiciary.ASteven Puro, St. Louis Univ.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"One of the most powerful defenses of original jurisprudence I have read....A remarkable achievement." - Rogers M. Smith, author of Liberalism and American Constitutional Law; "Offers one of the best and most sophisticated arguments for originalism ever presented." - Review of Politics; "Highly recommended for anyone interested in the foundations of American government and the judiciary." - Library Journal; "For those fascinated by the intricacies of contemporary legal theory, this book should prove nearly indispensable." - Perspectives on Political Science

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 070061141X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700611416
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #467,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Keith E. Whittington is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University. His work on American constitutional law, theory and politics, federalism, judicial politics, and the presidency has been published widely in books, scholarly journals, and elsewhere. He is a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and winner of the J. David Greenstone Award and the C. Herman Pritchett Award, among other honors.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Enjolras TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
In Constitutional Interpretation (PB), Whittington makes a case for originalism. Unfortunately, by focusing so much on the American experience and making his arguments at such an abstract theoretical level, his arguments are less convincing. In the real world of judges, practical considerations and feasibility are important to determining a theory of interpretation. Moreover, some of Whittington's theoretical arguments can be easily dismissed. For example, he seems to argue that the text-based nature of the US constitution requires some form of originalism, but he ignores the fact that nearly every other country (except for the UK) has a written constitution, and none adopt an originalist perspective. Moreover, it's not clear that courts in those countries have been consistently less able to constrain the other branches of government to the text of the constitution (in many ways, the US constitution has proved elastic beyond belief). Overall, if you want a really convincing argument in favor of originalism, talk to Justice Scalia.
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