In recent decades, we have witnessed the emergence of ongoing public arguments about the intellectual and cultural foundations of our constitutional system; the norms governing constitutional interpretation and the proper role of the judiciary in this system; and the proper interpretation of certain key provisions of our fundamental law. Seen in this light, constitutional controversies of the type we are experiencing today threaten to engulf our political system in a crisis of the first magnitude. These controversies are the subject of these essays. To the extent that governmental actions are perceived by large numbers of Americans to lack constitutional warrant the result can only be the progressive erosion of the moral authority of our constitutional system.
The book is divided into three parts; the contributors in the first section address the question of the intellectual foundations and cultural preconditions of the American constitutional commonwealth; in the second they discuss the ongoing debate between the proponents of an originalist approach to constitutional interpretation and their nonoriginalist critics; and in the final section they examine several contemporary controversies over the meaning of specific constitutional provisions. These essays represent serious contributions to a number of critically important scholarly debates. Contributors: Randall W. Bland, Thomas L. Pangle, Francis Canavan, S.J., Jean Bethke Elshtain, Robert Booth Fowler, William Gangi, Gerard V. Bradley, Christopher Wolfe, Sanford Levinson, Robert Scigliano, Robert J. Spitzer, Thomas G. West, George Weigel, David G. Dalin, and Herman Belz. Co-published with the Project on American Constitutionalism, Southwest Texas State University (SWT).
Kenneth L. Grasso and Cecelia Rodriquez Castillo are both Professors of Political Science at Southwest Texas State University and are affliated with the Project on American Constitutionalism at the same university.