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Here, the People Rule: A Constitutional Populist Manifesto

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Even those of us who disagree with some of Parker's arguments should welcome his central point: that it is neither desirable nor possible in a democracy to find permanent bypasses around public opinion on the most important issues." -- U.S. Representative Barney Frank

"Much of this book is downright fun to read-a rarity in legal scholarship. Parker's main theme-that we need to rediscover constitutional law's populist/majoritarian nature and possibilities-is both provocative and supremely important." -- Akhil Amar, Yale Law School

"This book deserves to be read, reread, and reread again. Its logic and fundamental understanding of the purpose of constitutional law will persuade, challenge, or infuriate readers. But Parker's words will linger and his book will sow an intellectual revolution grounded in the experience and sensibilities of citizens. Oligarchs, plutocrats, sophists, and practitioners of noblesse oblige beware: your controlling processes stand exposed by a profoundly illuminating mind." -- Ralph Nader

"Though I didn't concur with all of it, this is the most provocative book on law and politics in a long time." -- U.S. Representative Mel Reynolds

"What a breath of fresh air! Anyone who thinks a constitutional court must be conceived solely in terms of restraining popular impulse and containing the passions of the masses will have to think again after reading Parker's provocative books which makes a very eloquent plea for assigning to courts and constitutions the very difficult mission of unleashing political energy and stimulating public participation in civic life." -- Laurence H. Tribe, Harvard University Law School --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

'Even those of us who disagree with some of Parker's arguments should welcome his central point: that is is neither desirable nor possible in a democracy to find permanent bypasses around public opinion on the most important public issues.' --U.S. Representative Barney Frank --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Replica Books (July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735102562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735102569
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,127,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This book is not an easy read. It must be read slowly, thoughtfully and more than once. If read this way it will surely reward the reader for his or her time and effort. It will reward readers by stimulating their thinking about America's number one public policy problem: its out-of-control federal government. Parker is an independent thinker. I first became familiar with his thinking while reading the transcript of the 1998 hearings before the House Sub-Committee on the Constitution. Parker was the only Democrat selected to testify who believed Clinton should be impeached.

He calls "Here the people rule" a populist manifesto. It uses a story by Thomas Mann to discuss the two prevalent attitudes towards majority rule (positive and negative). I take his own attitude to be that majority rule, with all its difficulties and attendant problems, is by far the best way to govern. He seems, however, to associate populism with ordinary (statutory) law and the political energy of statutory law-makers and their constituents. He associates the Constitution with elitism and depreciates it in favor of statutes and "ordinary political energy.'

I understand his making these associations because Parker's experience with the Constitution has been obtained among academics and, in particular, constitutional lawyers. However, his own disillusioning experience does not change the fact that Madison (in Federalist 53) alluded to our Constitution as "established by the people and unalterable by the government." Neither does it change the fact that Article V limits the power os Congress in this respect to proposing amendments and deciding whether they are to be approved by state legislatures or by state conventions.

Admittedly, Madison's words have an empty ring.
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