Synopses & Reviews
Chief Justice John Marshall argued that a constitution "requires that only its great outlines should be marked [and] its important objects designated." Ours is "intended to endure for ages to come, and consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs." In recent years, Marshall's great truths have been challenged by proponents of originalism and strict construction. Such legal thinkers as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argue that the Constitution must be construed and applied as it was when the Framers wrote it.
In Keeping Faith with the Constitution, three legal authorities make the case for Marshall's vision. They describe their approach as "constitutional fidelity"--not to how the Framers would have applied the Constitution, but to the text and principles of the Constitution itself. The original understanding of the text is one source of interpretation, but not the only one; to preserve the meaning and authority of the document, to keep it vital, applications of the Constitution must be shaped by precedent, historical experience, practical consequence, and societal change. The authors range across the history of constitutional interpretation to show how this approach has been the source of our greatest advances, from Brown v. Board of Education to the New Deal, from the Miranda decision to the expansion of women's rights. They delve into the complexities of voting rights, the malapportionment of legislative districts, speech freedoms, civil liberties and the War on Terror, and the evolution of checks and balances.
The Constitution's framers could never have imagined DNA, global warming, or even women's equality. Yet these and many more realities shape our lives and outlook. Our Constitution will remain vital into our changing future, the authors write, if judges remain true to this rich tradition of adaptation and fidelity.
"Keeping Faith with the Constitution is a splendid addition to the growing body of serious writing on the elusive art of constitutional interpretation. While meticulously referenced for judges and academics to use, it is easily understood and thought-provoking for laypeople concerned about the meaning of our Constitution and the accountability of our judicial system. It sets out a sensible and appealing way of judging our judges."--Judge Patricia Wald, former Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
"We have a Constitution that is more than 220 years old but still meaningful in our lives today. This extraordinary reality is explained with rare insight in Keeping Faith with the Constitution. It depends, the authors rightly say, on judges being faithful to the principles of the Constitution while applying it to meet ever different problems. The book is at the same time understandable, sophisticated, and rich in examples."--Anthony Lewis, Former New York Times columnist and Supreme Court correspondent, and author of Gideon's Trumpet and Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment
"This is a stellar book. It provides historical and contemporary illustrations of evolving rules and enduring principles with equal skill and, perhaps most important, is remarkably accessible to lay readers without sacrificing sophistication. Highly recommended." --Choice
"Keeping Faith is a good companion for any inquisitive citizen--even a curious lawyer--who is looking to explore (or re-explore) the crucial framework within which great constitutional decisions are made." --Bo Links, California Lawyer
"Keeping Faith provides a clearly written, succint, and compelling analysis of the historical trajectory of American constitutional interpretation. It develops a panoramic view of jurisprudence that effectively ties together a wide variety of complex cases and decisions into a coherent whole." --Philip Shadd, Queen's University
About the Author
is Associate Dean and Professor of Law at University of California, Berkeley.
Pamela S. Karlan is Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law at Stanford University.
Christopher H. Schroeder is Charles S. Murphy Professor of Law and Professor of Public Policy Studies at Duke University.
Table of Contents
1. The Constitution's Vision and Values
2. Judicial Interpretation of the Constitution
4. Freedom of Speech
5. Promoting the General Welfare
6. Separation of Powers
8. Criminal Justice
10. Progress and Possibilities
The Constitution of the United States