Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy

Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy

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Description

American politics is most notably characterized by the heated debates on constitutional interpretation at the core of its ever-raging culture wars, and the coverage of these linger disputes is often inundated with public-opinion polls. Yet for all their prominence in contemporary society, there has never been an all-inclusive, systematic study of public opinion and how it impacts the courts and electoral politics. Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy is the first book to provide a comprehensive analysis of American public opinion on the key constitutional controversies of the twentieth century, including desegregation, school prayer, abortion, the death penalty, affirmative action, gay rights, assisted suicide, and national security, to name just a few. With essays focusing on each issue in-depth, Nathaniel Persily, Jack Citrin, Patrick Egan, and an established group of scholars utilize cutting edge public-opinion data to illustrate these contemporary debates, methodically examining each one and how public attitudes have shifted over time, especially in the wake of prominent Supreme Court decisions. More than just a compilation of available data, however, these essays join the "popular constitutionalism" debate between those who advocate a dominant role for courts in constitutional adjudication and those who prefer a more pluralized constitutional discourse. Each essay also vividly details the gap between the public and the Supreme Court on these hotly contested issues and analyzes how and why this divergence of opinion has grown or shrunk over the last fifty years. Ultimately, Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy sheds light on a major yet understudied part of American politics, providing an incisive look at the crucial part played by the voice of the people on the issues that have become an indelible part of the modern-day political landscape.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 376 pages
  • 160.02 x 236.22 x 30.48mm | 657.71g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195329414
  • 9780195329414

Review quote

This remarkably useful book will be of interest to specialists in public opinion and public law as well as anyone interested in American politics more generally. * Morris P. Fiorina, Wendt Family Professor of Political Science, Stanford University * This is an incredibly useful book-indispensable for anyone interested in the way constitutional law really works. We need to know what this book teaches us: how the public absorbs judicial decisions and what it makes of the controversies that preoccupy lawyers, judges, politicians, and scholars. * Larry Kramer, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean, Stanford Law School * There has never been a book out there like this one-that examines public opinion toward a genuinely wide range of constitutional issues in an up-to-date and engaging fashion. The chapters are rich in data presented in sharp and informative graphics. * Robert Y. Shapiro, Professor of Political Science, Columbia University * Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy offers an intriguing and accessible account of an important dynamic in American politics and should be of great interest to anyone fascinated by the proper role of a countermajoritarian institution in a democracy. * Harvard Law Review * An extremely valuable resource...many of the issues on which the Court makes law and policy are central issues in political discourse, which makes this book...of high importance to the field of American politics writ large. * Perspectives on Politics *show more

About Nathaniel Persily

bNathaniel Persily is a Professor of Law and Political Science at Columbia Law School and Director of the Center on Law and Politics at Columbia University. Jack Citrin is Professor and Director, Institute of Governmental Studies of Political Science at University of California, Berkeley. Patrick J. Egan is Assistant Professor of Politics at New York University.show more

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. Desegregation ; 2. The Rights of the Accused ; 3. School Prayer ; 4. Abortion ; 5. The Death Penalty ; 6. Gender Equality ; 7. Affirmative Action ; 8. Flag Burning ; 9. Federalism ; 10. Gay Rights ; 11. The Right to Die ; 12. Government Takings of Private Property ; 13. The War on Terror and Civil Liberties ; 14. The 2000 Election Controversyshow more

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