A brilliant new approach to the Constitution and courts of the United States by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
For Justice Breyer, the Constitution’s primary role is to preserve and encourage what he calls “active liberty”: citizen participation in shaping government and its laws. As this book argues, promoting active liberty requires judicial modesty and deference to Congress; it also means recognizing the changing needs and demands of the populace. Indeed, the Constitution’s lasting brilliance is that its principles may be adapted to cope with unanticipated situations, and Breyer makes a powerful case against treating it as a static guide intended for a world that is dead and gone. Using contemporary examples from federalism to privacy to affirmative action, this is a vital contribution to the ongoing debate over the role and power of our courts.
In this collection of essays on law and government, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, known as a moderate (though in comparison to several of his colleagues, a liberal), expresses his view that the Constitution is a "living document" that can be applied in modern-day cases that were not even imagined by the founders. The values expressed in the document can guide both judges and, more importantly, the people, in whom, according to Breyer, the authority to govern lies. Breyer is in favor of participation in government, and he assesses how well each of the three branches allow for and promote that. This is what he means by "active liberty." In an essay on judicial interpretation, he writes against the "originalist" approach, which through a strict reading, tries to recover the intentions of the Founders. Breyer's essays are based on lectures he delivered at Harvard University in 2004.
- Political Science, Philosophy, Freedom + Security / Law Enforcement
- General, Jurisprudence, Political Freedom + Security / Civil Rights, Constitutional, Civil Rights
- October 10, 2006
- October 10, 2006
- Stephen Breyer, Stephen G. Breyer