Constitutional Interpretation: Illusion and Reality

Constitutional Interpretation: Illusion and Reality

Constitutional Interpretation: Illusion and Reality

Constitutional Interpretation: Illusion and Reality

Synopsis

This study analyzes the process of constitutional interpretation, that is, the methodology by which the Supreme Court goes about interpreting the Constitution, and offers a comprehensive view of constitutional law through the lens of history, political science, and jurisprudence. Shaman examines the practice of creating meaning for the Constitution, the dichotomy of legal formalism and realism, the levels of judicial scrutiny, the perception of reality, and the puzzle of legislative motive. While the book traces the historical development of constitutional law, its main focus is on modern jurisprudence, including analyses of the major themes of constitutional interpretation developed by the Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist Courts.

Excerpt

This book is an attempt to examine the process of constitutional interpretation through the lens of history, political science, and jurisprudence. This includes analysis of the major themes of constitutional interpretation developed by the Warren Court, the Burger Court, and the Rehnquist Court. in some respects the book is an assessment of the work of those courts, especially the latter two. While always observant of the historical development of constitutional interpretation, this study brings constitutional law up to date by describing the significant doctrinal developments of recent years. the aim of this examination is to trace the evolution of constitutional interpretation with a special focus on contemporary theory.

This book is the culmination of many years of reading, teaching, and thinking about the Supreme Court and constitutional law. Over those years, I have learned a great deal from discussions with colleagues in the field of constitutional law and related areas. I have benefited immeasurably from my colleagues’ insights and ideas, as well as their comments and suggestions about my work. I am especially grateful to Susan Bandes, Erwin Chemerinsky, William Marshall, Marlene Nicholson, Jane Rutherford, Stephen Siegel, and Mark Weber. in addition, I have been very fortunate to have the support of two deans at the DePaul University College of Law, John Roberts and Teree Foster, both of whom appreciate research and scholarship. Further thanks are due to Emilie Bell for the two years of diligent research assistance that she provided for this work.

It will be difficult to finally bring the writing of this book to a close. I find that there is always another matter to be examined, another point to be made, another sentence or paragraph to be polished. But I once heard someone say that there comes a time when you have to take the page out of the typewriter, and that time has come for these pages.

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