In organizing this book, I had the sage counsel of three of its contributors: my Stanford colleague Pam Karlan, my New York University colleague Larry Kramer, and my old Leverett House colleague, Alex Keyssar. I also received useful advice from several other Stanford colleagues, notably Mo Fiorina, David Kennedy, and Barry Weingast. To Dedi Felman, we owe both bittersweet thanks (and an apology) for helping us conceive the basic idea. At Basic, Vanessa Mobley has been an enthusiastic supporter and editor. I owe special thanks to Andrea Talbott, a favorite student, for making other inquiries on behalf of this project and for providing me with additional editorial distractions.
The preparation of this book took place at the Stanford Humanities Center, amid the bonhomie made possible by its acting director, Peter Stansky, its wonderful staff, and the good company of all its fellows this past year, the last spent in the pleasant surroundings of Mariposa and Rogers houses. I especially enjoyed all the probing questions that Wang Zheng asked me about the arcana of the American political and constitutional system. I hope that none of the "humanites" (as they were called during my last tour here) regret too much the distraction this book provided from my original project or the excessive interest I may have demonstrated in discussing the subject during the memorable fall of 2000.