We the People: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Supreme Court

By Michael J. Perry | Go to book overview

2
What Is "the Constitution"?
(And Other Fundamental Questions)

Several of the most divisive moral conflicts that have beset us Americans in the period since the end of World War II have been transmuted into constitutional conflicts -- conflicts about what the Constitution of the United States forbids -- and resolved as such. The most prominent instances include the conflicts over racial segregation, race-based affirmative action, sex-based discrimination, homosexuality, abortion, and physician-assisted suicide, each of which has been resolved -- at least in part, and at least for a time -- on the basis of a claim about what the Fourteenth Amendment does or does not forbid. 1 Which of the conflicts, if any, understood as constitutionalconflicts, have been resolved as they should have been resolved; that is, which have been resolved on the basis of the Constitution as they should have been resolved? If one wants, as I do, to pursue that inquiry, one must first answer three questions: What is "the Constitution"? What does it mean to interpret the Constitution? Is the Supreme Court supreme in interpreting the Constitution? Although this chapter is, then, preparatory, the questions I address here -- connected questions -- are fundamental.


I. What Is "the Constitution"?

A. Constitutional Text v. Constitutional Norms

The referent of the phrase "the Constitution of the United States" is sometimes the text -- the writing -- that we call the Constitution of the United States. But the referent is sometimes -- indeed, often -- "the supreme Law of the Land". (Article VI of the Constitution states: "This Constitution . . . shall be the supreme Law of the Land . . .") That there is no disagreement about what sentences the Constitution-in-the-first-sense (the constitutional text) contains 2 does not mean that there is no disagreement about what norms the Constitution-in-the-second-sense (the supreme law)

-15-

Notes for this page

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 book

This book 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 book

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

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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 page

Bookmark this page
We the People: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Supreme Court
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

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?

Help
Full screen
/ 280

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.