Interpreting the Constitution /
"Kent Greenawalt's Interpreting the Constitution combines a generalized account of the various approaches to interpretation with an examination of the major domains of American constitutional law. The third and capstone volume of his landmark series on legal interpretation, he utilizes num...
Oxford, UK ; New York, NY. :
Oxford University Press,
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|Summary:||"Kent Greenawalt's Interpreting the Constitution combines a generalized account of the various approaches to interpretation with an examination of the major domains of American constitutional law. The third and capstone volume of his landmark series on legal interpretation, he utilizes numerous individual examples of decisions to illustrate his argument, which in combination demonstrate that his argument is undeniably in accord with the continuing practice of the United States Supreme Court over time. The book's central thesis is that strategies of constitutional interpretation cannot be simple and that judges must take account of multiple factors not systematically reducible to any clear ordering. For any constitution that lasts over centuries and which is hard to amend, original understanding cannot be completely determinative. To discern what that is, both how informed readers grasped a provision and what the enactors' aims were matter. Indeed, distinguishing these is usually extremely difficult, and often neither is really discernible. As time passes, what modern citizens understand becomes ever more important, diminishing the significance of original understanding. Simple versions of textualist originalism do not reflect changes in understanding over time and are therefore not really supportable. The focus on specific provision shows, among other things, the obstacles to discerning original understanding, and why the original sense of proper interpretation should itself carry importance. The scope of various provisions, such as those regarding free speech and cruel and unusual punishment, have expanded hugely since both 1791 and 1965. Even with respect to single provisions, such as the Free Speech Clause, interpretive approaches have sensibly varied, greatly depending on the particular issues at hand. How much deference judges should accord political actors also depends critically on the kind of issue involved. At once sweeping in scope and analytically powerful, this final volume cements Greenawalt's legacy as one of the leading legal scholars of this era"--Unedited summary from book jacket|
|Physical Description:||ix, 502 pages ; 25 cm|
|Bibliography:||Includes bibliographical references (pages 385-466) and index|