A New Introduction to American Constitutionalism

ISBN : 9780190245238

Mark A. Graber
312 Pages
161 x 235 mm
Pub date
May 2015
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A New Introduction to American Constitutionalism is the first text to study the entirety of American constitutionalism, not just the traces that appear in Supreme Court decisions. Mark A. Graber both explores and offers original answers to such central questions as: What is a Constitution,? What are fundamental constitutional purposes? How are constitutions interpreted? How is constitutional authority allocated? How to constitutions change? How is the Constitution of the United States influenced by international and comparative law? and, most important, How does the Constitution work? Relying on an historical/institutional perspective, the book illustrates how American constitutionalism is a distinct form of politics, rather than a means from separating politics from law. Constitutions work far more by constructing and constituting politics than by compelling people to do what they would otherwise do. People debate the proper meaning of the first amendment, but these debates are influenced by the rule that all states are equally represented in the Senate and a political culture that in which political dissenters do not fear for their lives. More than any other work on the market, A New Introduction to American Constitutionalism highlights and expands on what a generation for law professors, political scientists and historians have said about the American constitutionalism regime. As such, this is the first truly interdisciplinary study of constitutional politics in the United States.


1. Introduction to American Constitutionalism
A. Basic Constitutional Questions
B. Identifying Basic Constitutional Questions
C. Thinking About Basic Constitutional Questions
2. What is a Constitution?
A. Classical Constitutionalism
B. Modern Constitutionalism
C. Contemporary Constitutionalism
3. Constitutional Purposes
A. Constitutionalism and Democracy: The Dead Hand Problem
B. Basic Constitutional Purposes
C. American Constitutional Purposes
D. The Virtues and Vices of Constitutionalism
4. Constitutional Interpretation
A. The Living Constitution and Its Discontents
B. Constitutional Arguments
C. Constitutional Interpretation and Constitutional Purposes
D. The Politics of Constitutional Argument
5. Constitutional Authority
A. The Counter-Majoritarian Difficulty, Judicial Activism and Judicial Restraint
B. Allocating Constitutional Authority
C. Sharing Constitutional Authority
D. The Politics of Shared Constitutional Authority
E. Shared Constitutional Authority as Politics, Law, and Constitutionalism
F. The Politics of Constitutional Argument
6. Constitutional Change
A. Formal Constitutional Change
B. Semi-Formal Constitutional Change
C. Informal Constitutional Change
D. The Law and Politics of Constitutional Change
7. American Constitutionalism in Global Perspective
A. Foreign Policy: Two Constitutions?
B. Comparative Constitutionalism: Universal or Particular
C. A Higher Law? International Law and the Constitution
D. The Particular and Universal Revisited
8. How Constitutions Work
A. Of Cheeseburgers and Constitutions
B. Constitutions as Constraining Politics
C. Constitutions as Constructing Politics
D. Constitutions as Constituting Politics
E. The Self-Enforcing Constitution
F. When Constitutions Do Not Work
G. One Last Crisis

About the author: 

Mark A. Graber is Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and Professor of Law and Government at the Universirty of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. He is the author of Rethinking Abortion (Princeton, 1996), Dred Scott and the Problem of Constitutional Evil (Cambridge, 2006), and, with Howard Gillman and Keith Whittington, American Constitutionalism, Volumes I and II (Oxford, 2012).

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