Constitutional Ethos

Liberal Equality for the Common Good
Author: Alexander Tsesis
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199359849
Category: Constitutional law
Page: 224
View: 4940

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Judges, courts, and scholars in the United States agree that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, but there is much disagreement about its meaning. So what seems to be incontestable truth is riddled with disagreements about every day questions of decision making on matter such as whether people are entitled to government created programs, what rights are fundamental, the criteria for voting, the three branches of governments' several responsibilities, and even who should have the final say in defining the Constitution's meaning. Constitutional Ethos is a groundbreaking investigation into the fundamental principles of constitutional principle, meaning, and interpretation. It explores the core purposes of American representative democracy in light of historical sources, recent precedents, and contemporary debates. Alexander Tsesis argues that a central norm of U.S. law can be derived from the Declaration of Independence and Preamble. This book develops a theory of constitutional law structured on the public duty to protect individual rights for the general welfare. The maxim of constitutional governance synthesizes the protection of individual and public rights. The ideal is neither solely theoretical nor customary but tied to a firm foundation that the people then build upon by lobbying elected officials and petitioning appointed judges. Representative government has an interlinked obligation to the individual and the general welfare. This paradigm for responsible governance sets the baseline against which citizens can hold policy makers accountable to the structural and normative commitments of the Constitution. A pluralistic system must respect human dignity and govern for the betterment of the body politic. Those mandates set the terms for exercising legitimate power at the federal, state, and local levels to protect individual rights to achieve the common good of civil society. Tsesis demonstrates that ethos is binding on the conduct of all three branches of government and their officeholders. His argument challenges the more common U.S. perspective among academics and judges, who typically discount the existence of any objective constitutional value, regarding the document as a construct of social norms. To the contrary, Tsesis shows that the people established the terms of the nation's founding documents to protect universal, unalienable rights. The structure of government provides the mechanisms of those in a pluralistic state to set reasonable limitations for the betterment of society as a whole. Understanding the Constitution's special place in American legal culture is essential for resolving a host of contemporary issues; including, those involving marital, gender, and voting equalities. The state is a means of optimizing the well-being of individuals. Human productivity can best flourish in a society of equals, where talents can be brought to bear in the betterment of self and other members of the community. The Constitution does not create rights but protects those universal ideals of representative democracy first set out in the Declaration of Independence. It further grants authority to political institutions for the enforcement of policies and concrete laws for the betterment of society or some relevant segment of it. Many scholars with leanings in legal realism and process theory believe the authority of government is a social construct created by popular majorities; Tsesis convincingly demonstrates, to the contrary, that even those laws enacted by popular majorities are not authoritative unless they accord with a central maxim of constitutionalism, which is the protection of individual rights for the common good.

Sentinel

The Unlikely Origins of the Statue of Liberty
Author: Francesca Lidia Viano
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674916344
Category: History
Page: 576
View: 2271

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Icon of freedom and multiethnic democracy, memorial to Franco-American friendship—the lofty meanings we accord the Statue of Liberty today obscure its turbulent origins in 19th-century politics and art. Francesca Lidia Viano reveals that vibrant history in the fullest account yet of the people and ideas that brought the lady of the harbor to life.

Destructive Messages

How Hate Speech Paves the Way For Harmful Social Movements
Author: Alexander Tsesis
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814782728
Category: Law
Page: 246
View: 6030

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Destructive Messages argues that hate speech is dangerous not only when it poses an immediate threat of harm. It is also dangerous when it is systematically developed over time, becoming part of a culturally acceptable dialogue which can foster the persecution of minorities. Tsesis traces a causal link between racist and biased rhetoric and injustices like genocide and slavery. He shows that hate speech and propaganda, when left unregulated, can weave animosity into the social fabric to such a great extent that it can cultivate an environment supportive of the commission of hate crimes. Tsesis uses historical examples to illuminate the central role racist speech played in encouraging attitudes that led to human rights violations against German Jews, Native Americans, and African Americans, and also discusses the dangers posed by hate speech spread on the Internet today. He also offers an examination of the psychology of scapegoating. Destructive Messages argues that when hate speech is systematically developed over time it poses an even greater threat than when it creates an immediate clear and present danger. Tsesis offers concrete suggestions concerning how to reform current law in order to protect the rights of all citizens.

Lincoln's Gamble

The Tumultuous Six Months that Gave America the Emancipation Proclamation and Changed the Course of the Civil War
Author: Todd Brewster
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1451693907
Category: History
Page: 368
View: 7921

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“A masterful psychological portrait” (George Stephanopoulos) of the most critical six months in Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, when he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation and changed the course of the Civil War. On July 12, 1862, Abraham Lincoln spoke for the first time of his intention to free the slaves. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, doing precisely that. In between, however, was a tumultuous six months, an episode during which the sixteenth president fought bitterly with his generals, disappointed his cabinet, and sank into painful bouts of clinical depression. Most surprising, the man who would be remembered as “The Great Emancipator” did not hold firm to his belief in emancipation. He agonized over the decision and was wracked by private doubts almost to the moment when he inked the decree that would change a nation. It was a great gamble, with the future of the Union, of slavery, and of the presidency itself hanging in the balance. In this compelling narrative, Todd Brewster focuses on this crucial time period to ask: was it through will or by accident, intention or coincidence, personal achievement or historical determinism that he freed the slaves? “Brewster brings elegant clarity to the tangle of conflicting ideologies, loyalties, and practicalities that pushed the proclamation forward” (Publishers Weekly), portraying the president as an imperfect man with an unshakable determination to save a country he believed in, even as the course of the Civil War remained unknown.

The Common Good of Constitutional Democracy

Essays in Political Philosophy and on Catholic Social Teaching
Author: Martin Rhonheimer
Publisher: CUA Press
ISBN: 0813220092
Category: Philosophy
Page: 535
View: 2281

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The Common Good of Constitutional Democracy offers a rich collection of essays in political philosophy by Swiss philosopher Martin Rhonheimer. Like his other books in both ethical theory and applied ethics, which have recently been published in English, the essays included are distinguished by the philosophical rigor and meticulous attention to the primary and secondary literature of the various topics discussed

The Power of Onlyness

Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World
Author: Nilofer Merchant
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0525429131
Category: Business communication
Page: 288
View: 2632

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The Power of Onlyness shows how to embrace what makes you and your particular passion truly unique, tap into that passion, find and enlist allies, and get real results by guiding and galvanizing a crowd of like-minded peers. It explains how to make the crucial leap from 'me' to 'us,' how to avoid starting a movement where everyone feels good but nothing actually happens, and how to get things done in people-powered collaborations that create lasting change.

Carl Schmitt's State and Constitutional Theory

A Critical Analysis
Author: Benjamin Schupmann
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192509322
Category: Law
Page: 232
View: 5239

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Can a constitutional democracy commit suicide? Can an illiberal antidemocratic party legitimately obtain power through democratic elections and amend liberalism and democracy out of the constitution entirely? In Weimar Germany, these theoretical questions were both practically and existentially relevant. By 1932, the Nazi and Communist parties combined held a majority of seats in parliament. Neither accepted the legitimacy of liberal democracy. Their only reason for participating democratically was to amend the constitution out of existence. This book analyses Carl Schmitt's state and constitutional theory and shows how it was conceived in response to the Weimar crisis. Right-wing and left-wing political extremists recognized that a path to legal revolution lay in the Weimar constitution's combination of democratic procedures, total neutrality toward political goals, and positive law. Schmitt's writings sought to address the unique problems posed by mass democracy. Schmitt's thought anticipated 'constrained' or 'militant' democracy, a type of constitution that guards against subversive expressions of popular sovereignty and whose mechanisms include the entrenchment of basic constitutional commitments and party bans. Schmitt's state and constitutional theory remains important: the problems he identified continue to exist within liberal democratic states. Schmitt offers democrats today a novel way to understand the legitimacy of liberal democracy and the limits of constitutional change.

The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution

Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic
Author: Ganesh Sitaraman
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 0451493915
Category: Business & Economics
Page: 423
View: 1156

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"Argues that America's strong and sizable middle class is actually embedded in the framework of the nation's government and its founding document and discusses the necessity of taking equality-establishing measures,"--NoveList.

American Character

A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good
Author: Colin Woodard
Publisher: Viking Adult
ISBN: 0525427899
Category: Common good
Page: 308
View: 1766

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The struggle between individualism and the good of the community as a whole has been the basis of every major disagreement in America's history, from the debates at the Constitutional Convention to the civil rights movement to the Tea Party. In American Character, Colin Woodard traces these two key strands in American politics through the four centuries of the nation's existence, from the first colonies through the Gilded Age and Great Depression to the present day, and how different regions of the country have successfully or disastrously accommodated them.

A Theory of Justice


Author: John RAWLS
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674042603
Category: Philosophy
Page: 623
View: 2464

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Though the revised edition of A Theory of Justice, published in 1999, is the definitive statement of Rawls's view, so much of the extensive literature on Rawls's theory refers to the first edition. This reissue makes the first edition once again available for scholars and serious students of Rawls's work.

Liberalism's Troubled Search for Equality

Religion and Cultural Bias in the Oregon Physician-assisted Suicide Debates
Author: Robert Patrick Jones
Publisher: Robert P. Jones
ISBN: 9780268032678
Category: Law
Page: 336
View: 5750

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Debate surrounding the 1994 Oregon Death with Dignity Act, the first law to legalize physician-assisted suicide (PAS) in America, revealed some surprising contradictions. Most prominently, egalitarian liberal philosophers Ronald Dworkin and John Rawls backed a constitutional right to PAS in direct opposition to many groups of disadvantaged citizens they theoretically supported. These groups argued that legalized PAS in the absence of universal access to health care would potentially coerce the disadvantaged to end their lives prematurely because of inadequate financial resources. In Liberalism's Troubled Search for Equality, Robert P. Jones asks why these concerns were dismissed by liberal philosophers and argues that this contradiction exposes a blind spot within liberal political theory.

Constitutionalism and the Separation of Powers


Author: M. J. C. Vile
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: 9780865971752
Category: Law
Page: 455
View: 7222

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Arguably no political principle has been more central than the separation of powers to the evolution of constitutional governance in Western democracies. In the definitive work on the subject, M. J. C. Vile traces the history of the doctrine from its rise during the English Civil War, through its development in the eighteenth century—when it was indispensable to the founders of the American republic—through subsequent political thought and constitution-making in Britain, France, and the United States. The author concludes with an examination of criticisms of the doctrine by both behavioralists and centralizers—and with "A Model of a Theory of Constitutionalism." The new Liberty Fund second edition includes the entirety of the original 1967 text published by Oxford, a major epilogue entitled "The Separation of Powers and the Administrative State," and a bibliography. M. J. C. Vile is Professor of Politics at the University of Kent at Canterbury and author also of The Structure of American Federalism.

The Blank Slate

The Modern Denial of Human Nature
Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101200322
Category: Psychology
Page: 528
View: 8268

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A brilliant inquiry into the origins of human nature. "Sweeping, erudite, sharply argued, and fun to read..also highly persuasive." -Time Now updated with a new afterword One of the world's leading experts on language and the mind explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits-a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century-denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts. Injecting calm and rationality into debates that are notorious for ax-grinding and mud-slinging, Pinker shows the importance of an honest acknowledgment of human nature based on science and common sense.

Political Liberalism


Author: John Rawls
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231527538
Category: Philosophy
Page: 576
View: 909

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This book continues and revises the ideas of justice as fairness that John Rawls presented in A Theory of Justice but changes its philosophical interpretation in a fundamental way. That previous work assumed what Rawls calls a "well-ordered society," one that is stable and relatively homogenous in its basic moral beliefs and in which there is broad agreement about what constitutes the good life. Yet in modern democratic society a plurality of incompatible and irreconcilable doctrines—religious, philosophical, and moral—coexist within the framework of democratic institutions. Recognizing this as a permanent condition of democracy, Rawls asks how a stable and just society of free and equal citizens can live in concord when divided by reasonable but incompatible doctrines? This edition includes the essay "The Idea of Public Reason Revisited," which outlines Rawls' plans to revise Political Liberalism, which were cut short by his death. "An extraordinary well-reasoned commentary on A Theory of Justice...a decisive turn towards political philosophy." —Times Literary Supplement

Introducing Democracy

80 Questions and Answers
Author: David Beetham,Kevin Boyle
Publisher: Polity
ISBN: 9780745615196
Category: Political Science
Page: 160
View: 8680

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This textbook, specially commissioned by UNESCO, addresses eighty of the most pressing questions about democracy today.

The Tempting of America


Author: Robert H. Bork
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781439188866
Category: Political Science
Page: 448
View: 2346

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Judge Bork shares a personal account of the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on his nomination as well as his view on politics versus the law. In The Tempting of America, one of our most distinguished legal minds offers a brilliant argument for the wisdom and necessity of interpreting the Constitution according to the “original understanding” of the Framers and the people for whom it was written. Widely hailed as the most important critique of the nation’s intellectual climate since The Closing of the American Mind, The Tempting of America illuminates the history of the Supreme Court and the underlying meaning of constitutional controversy. Essential to understanding the relationship between values and the law, it concludes with a personal account of Judge Bork’s chillingly emblematic experiences during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on his Supreme Court nomination.