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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Theorizing American Freedom (Review Essay), Anthony O'Rourke Apr 2018

Theorizing American Freedom (Review Essay), Anthony O'Rourke

Anthony O'Rourke

This is a review essay of The Two Faces of American Freedom, by Aziz Rana. The book presents a new and provocative account of the relationship between ideas of freedom and the constitutional structure of American power. Through the nineteenth century, Rana argues, America’s constitutional structure was shaped by a racially exclusionary, yet economically robust, concept that he calls “settler freedom.” Drawing on the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of settler colonial studies, as well as on the vast historical literature on civic republicanism, Rana contends that the concept of settler freedom necessitated a constitutional framework that enabled rapid territorial expansion ...


America's Forgotten Constitutions: Defiant Visions Of Power And Community, Robert Tsai Mar 2014

America's Forgotten Constitutions: Defiant Visions Of Power And Community, Robert Tsai

Robert L Tsai

The U.S. Constitution opens by proclaiming the sovereignty of all citizens: "We the People." Robert Tsai's gripping history of alternative constitutions invites readers into the circle of those who have rejected this ringing assertion--the defiant groups that refused to accept the Constitution's definition of who "the people" are and how their authority should be exercised. America's Forgotten Constitutions is the story of America as told by dissenters: squatters, Native Americans, abolitionists, socialists, internationalists, and racial nationalists. Beginning in the nineteenth century, Tsai chronicles eight episodes in which discontented citizens took the extraordinary step of drafting a ...


Public Reason As Higher Law, Gordon D. Ballingrud Jan 2014

Public Reason As Higher Law, Gordon D. Ballingrud

Gordon D Ballingrud

This paper presents a model of higher-law formation by employing a modified version of John Rawls’ idea of public reason. The model specifies a theory of public reason that combines the procedural and substantive aspects of public reason, and extends the concept over a third dimension, time. This concept, by virtue of its multi-generational democratic pedigree, forms a repository of political and legal concepts of justice that conform to the duty of civility, and the broad consensus on political and legal norms required of the content of public reason, which forms the overlapping consensus. Thus, public reason as higher law ...


E Pluribus Unum: Liberalism's March To Be The Singular Influence On Civil Rights At The Supreme Court, Aaron J. Shuler Jan 2013

E Pluribus Unum: Liberalism's March To Be The Singular Influence On Civil Rights At The Supreme Court, Aaron J. Shuler

Aaron J Shuler

Rogers Smith writes that American political culture can best be understood as a blend of liberal, republican and illiberal ascriptive ideologies. The U.S. Supreme Court’s constitutional jurisprudence has largely reflected this thesis. While the Court moved away from permitting laws that explicitly construct hierarchies in the 20th century and made tepid references to egalitarian principles during the Warren Court, liberalism has prevailed in the majority of the Court’s decisions. Gains in civil rights through the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection and Substantive Due Process clauses were achieved primarily through liberal notions of de-regulation, a market economy and ...


Neoliberalism And The Law Reassessing Historical Materialist Analysis Of The Law For The 21st Century, Justin Schwartz Jan 2013

Neoliberalism And The Law Reassessing Historical Materialist Analysis Of The Law For The 21st Century, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

Historical materialism has been called in question by the triumph of neoliberalism and the fall of Communism. I show, by consideration of two examples, the 2008 crisis and recent Supreme Court campaign spending First Amendment jurisprudence, that neoliberalism instead vindicates the explanatory power of (non-mechanical and non-deterministic) historical materialism in accounting for a wide range of recent legal developments in legislation, executive (in)action, and judicial decision-making.


Theorizing American Freedom (Reviewing Aziz Rana, The Two Faces Of American Freedom (2010)), Anthony O'Rourke Apr 2012

Theorizing American Freedom (Reviewing Aziz Rana, The Two Faces Of American Freedom (2010)), Anthony O'Rourke

Book Reviews

This is a review essay of The Two Faces of American Freedom, by Aziz Rana. The book presents a new and provocative account of the relationship between ideas of freedom and the constitutional structure of American power. Through the nineteenth century, Rana argues, America’s constitutional structure was shaped by a racially exclusionary, yet economically robust, concept that he calls “settler freedom.” Drawing on the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of settler colonial studies, as well as on the vast historical literature on civic republicanism, Rana contends that the concept of settler freedom necessitated a constitutional framework that enabled rapid territorial expansion ...


How The British Gun Control Program Precipitated The American Revolution, David B. Kopel Jan 2012

How The British Gun Control Program Precipitated The American Revolution, David B. Kopel

David B Kopel

Abstract: This Article chronologically reviews the British gun control which precipitated the American Revolution: the 1774 import ban on firearms and gun powder; the 1774-75 confiscations of firearms and gun powder, from individuals and from local governments; and the use of violence to effectuate the confiscations. It was these events which changed a situation of rising political tension into a shooting war. Each of these British abuses provides insights into the scope of the modern Second Amendment.

From the events of 1774-75, we can discern that import restrictions or bans on firearms or ammunition are constitutionally suspect — at least if ...


Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz Jan 2011

Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

This short nontechnical article reviews the Arrow Impossibility Theorem and its implications for rational democratic decisionmaking. In the 1950s, economist Kenneth J. Arrow proved that no method for producing a unique social choice involving at least three choices and three actors could satisfy four seemingly obvious constraints that are practically constitutive of democratic decisionmaking. Any such method must violate such a constraint and risks leading to disturbingly irrational results such and Condorcet cycling. I explain the theorem in plain, nonmathematical language, and discuss the history, range, and prospects of avoiding what seems like a fundamental theoretical challenge to the possibility ...


Aryans, Gender, And American Politics, Robert Tsai Dec 2010

Aryans, Gender, And American Politics, Robert Tsai

Robert L Tsai

This short essay discusses some of the ways in which the Aryan movement in America activates gendered beliefs for the goal of cultural, legal, and political transformation. It is drawn from "Defiant Designs: America's Forgotten Constitutions" (forthcoming, Harvard, 2012)


Constituent Authority, Richard Kay Dec 2010

Constituent Authority, Richard Kay

Richard Kay

The force of a constitution, like the force of all enacted law, derives, in significant part, from the circumstances of its enactment. Legal and political theory have long recognized the logical necessity of a “constituent power.” That recognition, however, tells us little about what is necessary for the successful enactment of an enduring constitution. Long term acceptance of a constitution requires a continuing regard for the process that brought it into being. There must be, that is, recognition of the “constituent authority” of the constitution-makers. This paper is a consideration of the idea of “constituent authority” drawing on a comparison ...


James Wilson And The Drafting Of The Constitution, William Ewald Jun 2008

James Wilson And The Drafting Of The Constitution, William Ewald

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Alternative Career Resolution Ii: Changing The Tenure Of Supreme Court Justices, Stephen B. Burbank Jan 2006

Alternative Career Resolution Ii: Changing The Tenure Of Supreme Court Justices, Stephen B. Burbank

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Boyakasha, Fist To Fist: Respect And The Philosophical Link With Reciprocity In International Law And Human Rights, Donald J. Kochan Dec 2005

Boyakasha, Fist To Fist: Respect And The Philosophical Link With Reciprocity In International Law And Human Rights, Donald J. Kochan

Donald J. Kochan

From Grotius to Hobbes to Locke to an unconventional modern pop-culture manifestation in Ali G, the concept of “respect” has always been understood as important in human interaction and human agreements. The concept of mutual understanding and obligation pervades human interaction, and, for purposes of this Article, international relations. Almost all basic principles in English, United States, and other country’s laws that value human and individual rights have based, over time, the development of their laws on the philosophical principle of respect. So much of common and statutory law is designed to enforce respect for others. The principle question ...


Torture Lite, Full-Bodied Torture, And The Insulation Of Legal Conscience, Seth F. Kreimer Jan 2005

Torture Lite, Full-Bodied Torture, And The Insulation Of Legal Conscience, Seth F. Kreimer

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Secession Reference And The Limits Of Law, Richard Kay Dec 2002

The Secession Reference And The Limits Of Law, Richard Kay

Richard Kay

When the Supreme Court of Canada issued its judgment on the legality of "unilateral" Quebec secession in August 1998 many Canadians did not know what to make of it. The Court held that the only lawful way in which Quebec might depart the Canadian federation was through one of the amendment mechanisms provided in the Constitution Act 1982. It thus affirmed that Quebec could not secede without the agreement of at least the Houses of the federal Parliament and some number of provincial legislative assemblies. Prime Minister Chretien declared the next day that the judgement was a "victory for all ...


Relativism, Reflective Equilibrium, And Justice, Justin Schwartz Jan 1997

Relativism, Reflective Equilibrium, And Justice, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

THIS PAPER IS THE CO-WINNER OF THE FRED BERGER PRIZE IN PHILOSOPHY OF LAW FOR THE 1999 AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE BEST PUBLISHED PAPER IN THE PREVIOUS TWO YEARS.

The conflict between liberal legal theory and critical legal studies (CLS) is often framed as a matter of whether there is a theory of justice that the law should embody which all rational people could or must accept. In a divided society, the CLS critique of this view is overwhelming: there is no such justice that can command universal assent. But the liberal critique of CLS, that it degenerates into ...