The Constitution under Pressure: A Time for Change

The Constitution under Pressure: A Time for Change

The Constitution under Pressure: A Time for Change

The Constitution under Pressure: A Time for Change

Synopsis

Tables Acknowledgments Introduction Constitutional Conflicts: The 1787 Convention Liberalism and Capitalism: The Pillars of U.S. Constitutionalism Federalism in Theory and Practice: The Growth of Federal Power Interpreting the Constitution: The Role of the Courts The Constitution Under Pressure: The Amendment Process The Constitution and Representation: Malapportionment and Dissatisfaction Too Much Separation of Powers? Presidential versus Parliamentary Government Policy Specialization: A Time for Constitutional Change? Bibliography Index About the Authors

Excerpt

We are living in a time of bicentennial celebrations. The first was the 1976 bicentennial tribute to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. We celebrated with tall ships, massive displays of fireworks and a recommitment to the spirit of independence. In 1987 came the celebration of the Constitutional Convention of 1787. 1989 marks the two hundredth birthday of the ratification of the Constitution by the states and 1991 is the anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights.

To help celebrate these auspicious occasions, numerous plans have been developed and undertakings launched across the country, including, at the presidential level, a commission to commemorate these historic events. The chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Warren Burger, even resigned his judicial appointment to chair this commission. Activities surrounding the bicentennial celebrations have ranged from the intellectual and analytical to the symbolic. Learned bodies have addressed the question of how well the Constitution has withstood the test of time. Mock constitutional conventions have been held with modern students playing the parts of the constitutional framers. The Statue of Liberty, amidst great fanfare, was refurbished and given an impressive birthday party.

The prestigious Committee on the Constitutional System, headed by Nancy Landon Kassebaum, Lloyd N. Cutler and C. Douglas Dillon, undertook an assessment of the Constitution and how well it works. A group of over two hundred prominent citizens discussed the problems of modern governance and evaluated various proposed reforms. Some of their proposals called for changes in party rules for nominating candidates, some for federal statutes to funnel campaign finances through . . .

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