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Constitution



  • The Reconstruction Amendments and the Basis of American Abortion Rights

    by Peggy Cooper Davis

    When the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments were debated, concerns about the protection of both public rights of citizenship and private, intimate rights of individuals were front and center. There is, notwithstanding Samuel Alito's opinion, a long tradition of constitutional respect for privacy.



  • What if the Constitution is the Source of Democratic Erosion?

    by Noah Feldman

    James Madison feared from the beginning that the design of the US Senate was contrary to the core principles of a democratic republic. A Harvard Law professor says that if the nation can survive with a fundamentally undemocratic institution at the heart of the government, partisan gerrymandering might not be too bad. 



  • Law Profs: How Progressives Can Take Back the Constitution

    by Joseph Fishkin and William E. Forbath

    Like in the New Deal era, courts are thwarting the will of many Americans and the other branches of government to protect oligarchy. Today's progressives need to remember how their forebears fought back by contrasting concentrated wealth to the guarantee of a "republican form of government" the constituiton offers.



  • Bouie: Let's Remember the "Guarantee" Clause

    by Jamelle Bouie

    Article IV requires the federal government to guarantee a republican form of government in every state; James Madison's writings in the Federalist and John Marshall Harlan's dissent in Plessy should be touchstones for reviving the influence of the clause.



  • Inaction By Design: Blame the Founders for Stalled Legislation

    by Calvin Schermerhorn

    Although two Senators have been singled out by many liberals as villains, "today’s legislative sausage factory evokes the Founders’ recipe for federal inaction — and their suspicion of democracy."


  • Four Myths of Presidential Power

    by Daniel Farber

    History looms large in arguments about the Constitution these days. But there are widespread misunderstandings of what history tells us about presidential powers, from making war to being impeached. 



  • Is the Constitutional Crisis Already Here?

    by Robert Kagan

    "The Framers did not establish safeguards against the possibility that national-party solidarity would transcend state boundaries because they did not imagine such a thing was possible."



  • Bouie: The Founders Lived in a Foreign World

    Times columnist Jamelle Bouie draws on the work of historians Matt Glassman, Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick, and Susan Dunn to argue that the Founders did not, in fact, get it right the first time – even for the society they lived in, let alone for ours.


  • America's First Peaceful (Just Barely!) Transfer of Power

    by Akhil Reed Amar

    While the selection of Thomas Jefferson as the third president in 1801 (after an electoral college deadlock) is touted as a crucial peaceful transfer of presidential power from one party to another, the transition was far more fraught with peril than most realize. 



  • Hamilton, Hip-Hop, and the Law (Review)

    by Stephen Rohde

    Lisa Tucker's edited volume of essays uses the musical "Hamilton" as a lens on several significant legal issues ranging from originalism to employment discrimination. 



  • The Year That Changed Everything

    by Akhil Reed Amar

    A legal historian and constitutional scholar considers the founding document in terms of the process of its founding. Neither cynical nor purely idealistic, the Constitution did submit to ratification by a broad vote, but pursued national security by institutionalizing the slave power. 


  • Was Madison Mistaken?

    by Carl Pletsch

    The divisive Trump years have called the wisdom of the Framers into question, but the author contends that James Madison in particular anticipated how a republic would be challenged by partisanship and designed one that could withstand that challenge (he just never claimed it would be easy).