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eBook On Constitutional Disobedience (Inalienable Rights) ePub

by Louis Michael Seidman

eBook On Constitutional Disobedience (Inalienable Rights) ePub
Author: Louis Michael Seidman
Language: English
ISBN: 0199898278
ISBN13: 978-0199898275
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 31, 2013)
Pages: 176
Category: Politics & Government
Subcategory: Social Sciences
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 643
Formats: lrf rtf lrf lit
ePub file: 1197 kb
Fb2 file: 1434 kb

Q&A with Louis Seidman, author of On Constitutional Disobedience. Q. What do you think are the greatest flaws with our Constitution? A. The biggest problem with the Constitution is the amendment process outlined in Article V. It is extremely cumbersome.

Q&A with Louis Seidman, author of On Constitutional Disobedience. In fact, the American constitution is more difficult to amend than any other national constitution in the world. As a practical matter, it means that under present political circumstances the Constitution is unamendable. This means that we are saddled with a bunch of eighteenth century judgments about twenty-first century problems.

According to Louis Michael Seidman, it's time to stop. This is a highly controversial assertion. And yet, Seidman reminds us, disobedience is the original intent of the Constitution.

by Louis Michael Seidman. series Inalienable Rights.

Q & A with Louis Seidman, author of On Constitutional Disobedience Q. What do you think are the greatest flaws with our Constitution? . The biggest problem with. ISBN13: 9780199898275. On Constitutional Disobedience. by Louis Michael Seidman.

On Constitutional Disobedience book. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Start by marking On Constitutional Disobedience as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Louis Michael Seidman (born 1947) is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, . a widely read constitutional law scholar and major proponent of the critical legal studies movement. Seidman's 2012 work is On Constitutional Disobedience, where Seidman challenges the viability of political policy arguments made in reference to constitutional obligation.

On constitutional disobedience. Oxford University Press. The series is called Inalienable Rights, and it includes, among other works, Laurence Tribe’s The Invisible Consti-tution, David Strauss’s The Living Constitution, Michael Klarman’s Unfinished Business: Racial Equality in American History, Richard Posner’s Not a Suicide Pact: The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency, and Richard Epstein’s Supreme Neglect: How to Revive Constitutional Protection for Private.

What would the Framers of the Constitution make of multinational corporations? Nuclear weapons? Gay marriage? They led a preindustrial country, much of it dependent on slave labor, huddled on the Atlantic seaboard. The Founders saw society as essentially hierarchical, led naturally by landed gentry like themselves. Yet we still obey their commands, two centuries and one civil war later. According to Louis Michael Seidman, it's time to stop. In On Constitutional Disobedience, Seidman argues that, in order to bring our basic law up to date, it needs benign neglect. This is a highly controversial assertion. The doctrine of "original intent" may be found on the far right, but the entire political spectrum--left and right--shares a deep reverence for the Constitution. And yet, Seidman reminds us, disobedience is the original intent of the Constitution. The Philadelphia convention had gathered to amend the Articles of Confederation, not toss them out and start afresh. The "living Constitution" school tries to bridge the gap between the framers and ourselves by reinterpreting the text in light of modern society's demands. But this attempt is doomed, Seidman argues. One might stretch "due process of law" to protect an act of same-sex sodomy, yet a loyal-but-contemporary reading cannot erase the fact that the Constitution allows a candidate who lost the popular election to be seated as president. And that is only one of the gross violations of popular will enshrined in the document. Seidman systematically addresses and refutes the arguments in favor of Constitutional fealty, proposing instead that it be treated as inspiration, not a set of commands. The Constitution is, at its best, a piece of poetry to liberty and self-government. If we treat it as such, the author argues, we will make better progress in achieving both.
Otiel
Important and eye opening book!!
xander
This is a great book with huge flaws. Seidman's point is that there is no reason to obey the constitution, principally because of the absurdity of being bound, in the 21st century, to an 18th century contract. He then deftly and efficiently dispatches with many of the arguments for maintaining fidelity, such as "anarchy" will result otherwise, etc. Most cleverly, Seidman argues that the Supreme Court already is violating the constitution. How do we know? Because the justices are always accusing each other of violating the constitution in their opinions. Clearly then, as Seidman points out, if everyone is accusing everyone else of disobeying the constitution, then it stands to reason much of our constitutional jurisprudence is, in fact, non-constitutional. Has the sky fallen? No.

Unfortunately, Seidman hasn't fully "gamed out" his thesis. Once we decide to stop following the constitution, it's not clear what follows. Seidman keeps writing about what "we" will do at that point, but it's not obvious who "we" are. Once the constitution dissolves, so does the Union. After all, there's no reason for Texas, or Oklahoma, or Vermont to hitch their wagon to a "United States" if we don't have to follow the constitution. It's also not clear why we would have judicial review, or even a federal Supreme Court; but the book seems to contemplate that we will.

Compelling compliance is the primary goal of any federal government. The contractual theory of the constitution, for all its flaws, was the mechanism that allowed the federal government to force desegregation on the South, to force abortion onto unwilling states. In his intro, Seidman makes a passing reference to the "Tea Party": "For many of us, the Tea Party constitution is deeply pernicious. Put succinctly, it mandates a country we do not want to live in. If forced to choose between obedience to such a document and fundamental principles of justice, shouldn't we choose justice?" (5) Actually, without a constitution, there's no reason for the federal government to be able to cram down onto the States its idea of "justice": Roe v. Wade, ObamaCare, decriminalization of sodomy, no prayer in school, etc. The problem with this book is that it doesn't sufficiently explain why in a post-constitutional world anyone has to follow dictates from Washington, D.C.
Bort
Imagine a lawyer who writes so entertainingly about the law! He makes a provocative argument and does his best to stay away from personal politics. This would make a superb book club book. If you can get your members to read it, they'll enjoy it and have lots to discuss!
Pettalo
This is a bad book. Although I have some sympathy with the argument advanced by Seidman, this book is a pathetic effort to defend it. The author misconstrues (deliberately?) the supermajoritarian defense of the Constitution advanced by Profs. McGinnis & Rappaport. He straw-mans a number of other positions as well, and rarely engages in any kind of rigorous empirical (or even theoretical) analysis. It's mostly just fluff and rhetoric.

And don't bother checking for end notes or citations in this slim volume--all that Seidman includes is a bibliography. Oxford University Press should be ashamed to have published this.
tref
He had a good point, but he could have said it much better than he did. I think this book is based on an article he previously wrote. I'd recommend just reading the shorter article.
Adrietius
I tend to view Seidman's thesis less as a product of sincere belief than as a dialectical exercise intended to lead to a deeper understanding of constitutional law. In this regard his book definitely succeeds in raising some very timely questions concerning the value (or possible lack thereof) of admittedly vague formulations of "inalienable rights" to things such as speech, assembly and (the big one right now) "unreasonable searches and seizure" which modern day discourse (!!!) equates with privacy.

The vagueness of these formulations is at the heart of current controversies and participants in the ongoing debate would do well to improve their critical awareness of problems in the constitution's articulation of these rights, which Seidman correctly describes as more a description of principle than of binding rule.

I would be interested in Seidman's take on a distinction between some constitutional rights - speech, assembly, bearing arms - which are "active" rights in the sense that they are exercised by the individual; and others, most notably the right from "unreasonable" searches and seizure (which I will simply refer to as "right to privacy" below), which are largely "passive" rights in the sense that they are rights to be free from interference by others. It would seem that the Constitution is a much more effective guard of the former class of "active" rights than the latter class of "passive" rights such as that to privacy; the only area in which the Constitution appears to provide any compelling guarantee to right to privacy is its protection of the right to use encryption, which is the only "active" aspect of the right to privacy I can think of.
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