The Constitution in the Courts

The Constitution in the Courts : Law or Politics?

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In the modern period of American constitutional law-the period since the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed racially segregated public schooling in Brown v. Board of Education (1954)-there has been a persistent and vigorous debate in the United States about whether the Court has merely been enforcing the Constitution or whether, instead, in the guise of enforcing the Constitution, the Court has really been usurping the legislative prerogative of making political choices about controversial issues. In this book, Professor Perry carefully disentangles and then thoughtfully addresses the various fundamental issues at the heart of the controversy: What is the argument for "judicial review"? What approach to constitutional interpretation should inform the practice of judicial review? How large or small a role should the Court play in bringing the interpreted Constitution to bear in resolving constitutional conflicts? To what extent are the Court's most controversial modern decisions-for example, decisions about racial segregation, discrimination based on sex, abortion, and homosexuality-sound; to what extent are they problematic?
The Constitution in the Courts is a major contribution to one of the most fundamental controversies in modern American politics and law.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 286 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 20.3mm | 453.6g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0195104641
  • 9780195104646
  • 2,093,430

Review quote

"Michael Perry's exciting new book-a lucid and intellectually honest theory of constitutional law-is the decade's best exposition of what the Constitution can be."-Gary C. Leedes, University of Richmond "Michael Perry is one of the most important voices in constitutional theory not only in the United States, but also in Japan. His new book addresses questions of fundamental importance to the theory and practice of constitutional interpretation and adjudication in both countries. It is must reading for anyone concerned with contemporary constitutional studies."-Yasuji Nosaka, Rikkyo University, Tokyo "The Constitution in the Courts is a substantial contribution to the on-going debate about constitutional interpretation. It is clearly written, makes a number of illuminating points, and expresses a highly plausible position in a more systematic way than I have seen done elsewhere. Perry does an extremely helpful job of clarifying various distinctions and arguments, and he works them through in a measured and thoughtful way."-Kent Greenawalt, Columbia
University "No one thinking or writing about constitutional theory today (or for the last fifteen years) performs either task more carefully, clearly or cogently than Michael Perry. This book impressively presents and defends a conceptual and methodological framework for judicial review and constitutional adjudication. To read it carefully is to understand why thinking seriously about these matters is so intellectually engaging and so important."-Richard B. Saphire,
University of Dayton "Michael Perry has not just contributed to contemporary constitutional theory. He is one of a handful of writers who have, more or less, created it. In this book he has clarified better than ever before his view of the relationship of law, interpretation and the judicial role. In the future anyone who thinks seriously about constitutional law will have to deal with this work-to elaborate it or to contend with it."-Richard S. Kay, University of
Connecticut "The Constitution in the Courts is the finest book in constitutional theory since John Hart Ely's Democracy and Distrust. At last, a scholar has responded to Robert Bork on Bork's own terms-with devastating results for Bork's positions. Perry's wonderful new book will help shape constitutional theory into the 21st century."-Rodney K. Smith, University of Montana "One of the most thoughtful discussions to date of the Supreme Court's role in constitutional adjudication."-Choice "Rewarding...Perry's argument contains its own corrective, pointing us back to first things, and especially to the meaning of constitutional democracy. And it is Perry's speical grace to treat politics with a high dignity it deserves and rarely receives."-Commonweal
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