- Paperback: 164 pages
- Publisher: Harvard University Press (January 1, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674636260
- ISBN-13: 978-0674636262
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #815,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
On Reading the Constitution
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service we offer sellers that lets them store their products in Amazon's fulfillment centers, and we directly pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products. Something we hope you'll especially enjoy: FBA items qualify for FREE Shipping and Amazon Prime.
If you're a seller, Fulfillment by Amazon can help you increase your sales. We invite you to learn more about Fulfillment by Amazon .
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
A lively and important contribution to the continuing dialogue on constitutional interpretation...[The book] serves to remind us of the trouble we make for ourselves when we assume that we can predict the conclusions of the original intentionalist, that liberals are always activists and conservatives never, or that the protections of liberty afforded by a living Constitution have all come from only one ideological camp. (Harry N. Scheiber New York Times Book Review)
[A] well-argued and clearly written volume...By the clarity and persuasiveness of their detailed analysis of particular cases, they...establish that progress is made most securely when one proceeds with caution and humility. (T. R. S. Allan Cambridge Law Journal)
This book amounts to an energetic and often highly illuminating discussion of how constitutional interpretation inevitably involves substantive choices but is not simply a matter of making things up...On Reading the Constitution reminds us of the extent to which our understanding of constitutional interpretation remains in a primitive state...Tribe and Dorf's book counts as an unusually articulate contribution to the large number of recent works attempting to justify, to preserve, and to extend the work of the Warren Court. (Cass Sunstein New Republic)
A provocative, well argued book. (John Moeller Political Science Quarterly)
About the Author
Laurence H. Tribe is Carl M. Loeb University Professor, Harvard Law School.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
It seemed to me that this book did little more than offer up a series of comparisons between law and the Constitution and other disciplines like literature and mathematics. While that may serve a useful purpose, it is of little value for those attempting to find a workable liberal theory through which to interpret the Constitution. And repeatedly throughout this book Tribe and Dorf explicity state that they do not have such a theory, or at least refuse to claim that their ideas are in any way paramount or final.
Nonetheless, it does offer up seveal solid critiques of conservative interpretations of the Constitution which might come in handy, or at least serve as a starting point for further investigation. I would also recommed that one read Antonin Scalia's "A Matter of Interpretation," which contains a rebuttal by Laurence Tribe similar to the arguments found here, but also has a very solidly philosophical criticism of Scalia's "textualist" theory by Ronald Dworkin.
Finally, and this has little to do with this book and more to do with jwhoeme's review below - jwhoeme seems to think that Tribe's chapter or arguments on how NOT to read the Constitution somehow presuppose that he knows how to read it, and I feel that that is a rather poor assumption on the part of jwhoeme. Just because one says they know how NOT to do something doesn't me they know how to do it. I know that bashing someone in the head with a rock is not how one performs brain surgery, but that doesn't mean I have any idea how to do it properly.
Several premises are disturbing, for they point out a lack of Historical background of our founding. It suggests there are significant anomalies, for example if the Constitution gives the States a right to republican government and does not define republican government then a pliant construction and application of the text is suggested, this kind of logic is furthered in describing the general terms of the preamble as granting a broad license for inerpretation. The number of explanations offered by Madison on the subject of republican form of gvernment alone is sufficient to dispell the former, and with regard to the latter the topic was first adressed by Brutus, an Antifederlaist, and well responded to in Federalist Essay 41. As the Federalist Essays were a response to fears and criticisms of the then proposed Constitution, the ratification debates as well as the Federalist Essays does grant a significant view as to the consent of the governed 'On Reading the Constitution' seems to deny existed, or may presently exist.
The authors proceed to draw from confusions in the 'conservative' camp regarding constitutional specificity to further their point, quoting Rhenquist from a Texas Law Review article 1976, 'The framers of the Constitution wisely spoke in general language and left to succeeding generations the task of applying that language to the increasingly changing environment..' Alas poor Madison's efforts in describing the exertions of perspicuity found in federalist 37, having missed the attention of liberals as well as conservatives, has opened the door to a pliant construction of the Constitution. We were also cautioned by Madison to be wary of the changes of the meaning of words over time, Adams once described a church service as 'awful' he meant full of awe, this example is not solitary, and it's impact has not been fully examined.
I hold no doubt both Michael Dorf, and Laurence Tribe are concerned and virtuous citizens, as well as skilled and erudite practioners of Law, yet the book allows little insight into Constitutional Exegesis. Lincoln warned at Cooper Union to never supplant the logic of the fathers when we realize they understood the question better than we, it is time we examine what they knew, instead of focusing on the confusion that might exist.