Constitutional Commentary

Faculty-edited law journal provides articles, review essays and book reviews on constitutional law and history.

Articles from Vol. 16, No. 1, Spring

Commas, Constitutional Grammar, and the Straight-Face Test: What If Conan the Grammarian Were a Strict Textualist?
On May 8, 1998, former United States Senator Jennings Randolph of West Virginia died at the age of 96. The obituary that The New York Times wrote for Mr. Randolph focused on the Senator's role as author of the Twenty-sixth Amendment, which, according...
DeFunis, Defunct
November 1998 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court's initial decision to accept a case presenting the question of race-conscious university admissions. This silver jubilee merits three cheers(1) for DeFunis v. Odegaard(2)--and a...
Did Sir Edward Coke Mean What He Said?
"When it is said in the books, that a statute contrary to natural equity and reason, or repugnant, or impossible to be performed, is void, the cases are understood to mean that the courts are to give the statute a reasonable construction."(1) So James...
I'm Even Smarter Than Bruce Ackerman: Why the President Can Veto His Own Impeachment
I'll admit it. I've always been envious of Yale Law School Professor Bruce Ackerman: He's brilliant, creative and clever. Nowhere are these attributes more spectacularly displayed than in Ackerman's ingenious argument that the House impeachment of...
Nonjudicial Constitutional Interpretation, Authoritative Settlement, and a New Agenda for Research
During the past decade,(1) a lively debate has been percolating in an area of legal scholarship that has examined what has been variously described as departmentalism, constitutional Protestantism, coordinate construction, and nonjudicial constitutional...
Pickup Basketball
The second floor of a nondescript building on Pennsylvania Avenue was the longtime home of The Barrister. Until it was razed to make way for what is now the Department of Justice, The Barrister was a gentleman's club without equal in all of Washington,...
The Trial of Charles I: A Sesquitricentennial Reflection
I. INTRODUCTION On July 20, 1787, deputies to the Constitutional Convention debated whether the national executive should be "removeable on impeachment and conviction for malpractice or neglect of duty."(1) Some, like Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania,...