This is the second edition of Professor Tushnet's short critical introduction to the history and current meaning of the United States' Constitution. It is organised around wo themes: first, the US Constitution is old, short, and difficult to amend. Second, the Constitution creates a structure of political opportunities that allows political actors, icluding political parties, to pursue the preferred policy goals even to the point of altering the very structure of politics. Deploying these themes to examine the structure f the national government, federalism, judicial review, and individual rights, the book provides basic information about, and deeper insights into, the way he US constitutional system has developed and what it means today.
Mark Tushnet is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He was President of the Association of American Law Schools in 2003, and in 2002 was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
INTRODUCTION 1. AN OVERVIEW OF THE HISTORY OF THE US CONSTITUTION From the Revolution to the Bill of Rights The Early National Period The Crisis over Slavery and the Civil War The Late Nineteenth Century and the Growth of the Modern State The New Deal Crisis and the New Constitutional Regime From the Reagan Revolution to the Present Conclusion Further Reading 2. THE CONSTITUTIONAL POLITICS OF THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH Congress: Its Basic Structure and Roles The American Party System Political Parties and the Written Constitution Conduct of Elections Legislative Districting and Gerrymandering Candidate Selection and Gerrymandering Campaign Financing Constitutional Politics within Congress Conclusion Further Reading 3. THE CONSTITUTIONAL POLITICS OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH The President as Party Leader The President's Role in Legislation The Unitary Executive and the Modern Administrative State The Unitary Executive in Foreign Affairs Conclusion Further Reading 4. THE CONSTITUTIONAL POLITICS OF THE JUDICIAL BRANCH Judicial Selection Judicial Review and Judicial Supremacy Political Constraints on the Jurisdiction of the Federal Courts Doctrinal Constraints on the Jurisdiction of the Federal Courts Standing Conclusion Further Reading 5. FEDERALISM AND THE REACH OF NATIONAL POWER State Governments and the US Constitution The Emergence of (Nearly) Plenary National Power The So-Called `Federalism Revolution' of the 1990s and Beyond Federalism and the Spending Power Conclusion Further Reading 6. THE SUBSTANCE OF INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION The Starting Point Pragmatic and Realist Critiques The New Deal Reconstruction The Emergence of Modern Liberalism: Autonomy and Accommodation Lawyers and Rights Litigation: The Development of Support Structures Political Parties and Social Movements From Congress to the Courts: The Venues for Rights Protection The `Backlash' Thesis Constitutional Rights in the Twenty-First Century Further Reading 7. THE PROCESSES OF CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE Formal Amendments Substance Constitutional Interpretation as a Mechanism of Constitutional Change Interpretive Methods: An Introduction Conclusion Constitutional Moments and Constitutional Change Constitutional Moments Concluding Thoughts Further Reading