Introduction

By Levinson, Sanford; Eskridge, William N., Jr. | Constitutional Commentary, Summer 1995 | Go to article overview

Introduction


Levinson, Sanford, Eskridge, William N., Jr., Constitutional Commentary


What follows is the aftermath of a conference on "Constitutions and Constitutionalism," sponsored by the Murphy Institute of Political Economy at Tulane University in March of 1994, focusing on problems of constitutional design. Walking back to our hotel, we began a joking conversation about the "stupides feature" of the current United States Constitution.(1) As the conversation proceeded, we decided, as is often the case with jokes, that there was indeed a serious point involved. We ourselves adhere to a wonderful distinction once offered by Russell Baker between "seriousness" and "seriosity," as he defended the proposition that even the most serious of subjects do not require a ponderous tone in discussing them.

We decided that it would be interesting to find out what a number of thoughtful and provocative constitutional scholars would say in response to an inquiry about constitutional stupidities. We were interested, for example, in whether there would be any convergence of views as to the primary imperfections of our current constitutional scheme. We therefore decided that each person would be asked to answer the question in relative isolation, free, for example, of the information of what our own choices might be.

The editors of Constitutional Commentary were kind enough to offer us a home for this symposium, for which we express our warm gratitude. Once that offer was made, what we did was to call a number of people we knew, tell them of the project, and invite them to participate. There is no canonical letter specifying the precise question. We simply invited participants to identify the stupidest, most mistaken, most deleterious, or their least favorite clause of the current Constitution. There are, of course, subtle differences in these ways of phrasing the assignment, as there are in regard to yet another way that Levinson especially ultimately formulated the question: What clause of the current Constitution would you least recommend to someone currently engaged in the project of constitution-drafting, as in Eastern Europe?

Invitees were asked to respond to the question(s) in roughly 1000 words, which necessarily means an invitation to write somewhat polemically. And, needless to say, participants were allowed to challenge the project itself, though, interestingly, even Philip Bobbitt, who eloquently offers just such a challenge, does not assert that the Constitution is truly perfect as it stands. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Introduction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.