Summary: Active Liberty
Author: BusinessNews Publishing
The must-read summary of Stephen Breyer's book: "Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution". This complete summary of "Active Liberty" by Stephen Breyer, a liberal-leaning Supreme Court Justice in the United States, outlines the author's argument that the American Constitution should be used as a guide for the application of American principles. He highlights the fact that the Constitution must not be rigid but adapt to the needs of society, and that American citizens should have more participation in the shaping of the country's laws, a principle which requires more deference to Congress and judicial modesty. Added-value of this summary: • Save time • Gain understanding of the American Constitution and its implications • Expand your knowledge of American politics and society To learn more, read "Active Liberty" and discover Breyer's views on active liberty and the role of the Constitution in the modern age.
Author: Stephen Breyer
A brilliant new approach to the Constitution and courts of the United States by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.For Justice Breyer, the Constitution’s primary role is to preserve and encourage what he calls “active liberty”: citizen participation in shaping government and its laws. As this book argues, promoting active liberty requires judicial modesty and deference to Congress; it also means recognizing the changing needs and demands of the populace. Indeed, the Constitution’s lasting brilliance is that its principles may be adapted to cope with unanticipated situations, and Breyer makes a powerful case against treating it as a static guide intended for a world that is dead and gone. Using contemporary examples from federalism to privacy to affirmative action, this is a vital contribution to the ongoing debate over the role and power of our courts. From the Trade Paperback edition.
"In this original, far-reaching, and timely book, Justice Stephen Breyer examines the work of the Supreme Court of the United States in an increasingly interconnected world, a world in which all sorts of activity, both public and private--from the conduct of national security policy to the conduct of international trade--obliges the Court to understand and consider circumstances beyond America's borders. It is a world of instant communications, lightning-fast commerce, and shared problems (like public health threats and environmental degradation), and it is one in which the lives of Americans are routinely linked ever more pervasively to those of people in foreign lands. Indeed, at a moment when anyone may engage in direct transactions internationally for services previously bought and sold only locally (lodging, for instance, through online sites), it has become clear that, even in ordinary matters, judicial awareness can no longer stop at the water's edge. To trace how foreign considerations have come to inform the thinking of the Court, Justice Breyer begins with that area of the law in which they have always figured prominently: national security in its constitutional dimension--how should the Court balance this imperative with others, chiefly the protection of basic liberties, in its review of presidential and congressional actions? He goes on to show that as the world has grown steadily "smaller," the Court's horizons have inevitably expanded: it has been obliged to consider a great many more matters that now cross borders. What is the geographical reach of an American statute concerning, say, securities fraud, antitrust violations, or copyright protections? And in deciding such matters, can the Court interpret American laws so that they might work more efficiently with similar laws in other nations? While Americans must necessarily determine their own laws through democratic process, increasingly, the smooth operation of American law--and, by extension, the advancement of American interests and values--depends on its working in harmony with that of other jurisdictions. Justice Breyer describes how the aim of cultivating such harmony, as well as the expansion of the rule of law overall, with its attendant benefits, has drawn American jurists into the relatively new role of "constitutional diplomats," a little remarked but increasingly important job for them in this fast-changing world."--Publisher's description.
We are all familiar with the image of the immensely clever judge who discerns the best rule of common law for the case at hand. According to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a judge like this can maneuver through earlier cases to achieve the desired aim—"distinguishing one prior case on his left, straight-arming another one on his right, high-stepping away from another precedent about to tackle him from the rear, until (bravo!) he reaches the goal—good law." But is this common-law mindset, which is appropriate in its place, suitable also in statutory and constitutional interpretation? In a witty and trenchant essay, Justice Scalia answers this question with a resounding negative. In exploring the neglected art of statutory interpretation, Scalia urges that judges resist the temptation to use legislative intention and legislative history. In his view, it is incompatible with democratic government to allow the meaning of a statute to be determined by what the judges think the lawgivers meant rather than by what the legislature actually promulgated. Eschewing the judicial lawmaking that is the essence of common law, judges should interpret statutes and regulations by focusing on the text itself. Scalia then extends this principle to constitutional law. He proposes that we abandon the notion of an everchanging Constitution and pay attention to the Constitution's original meaning. Although not subscribing to the “strict constructionism” that would prevent applying the Constitution to modern circumstances, Scalia emphatically rejects the idea that judges can properly “smuggle” in new rights or deny old rights by using the Due Process Clause, for instance. In fact, such judicial discretion might lead to the destruction of the Bill of Rights if a majority of the judges ever wished to reach that most undesirable of goals. This essay is followed by four commentaries by Professors Gordon Wood, Laurence Tribe, Mary Ann Glendon, and Ronald Dworkin, who engage Justice Scalia’s ideas about judicial interpretation from varying standpoints. In the spirit of debate, Justice Scalia responds to these critics. Featuring a new foreword that discusses Scalia’s impact, jurisprudence, and legacy, this witty and trenchant exchange illuminates the brilliance of one of the most influential legal minds of our time.
Author: John Stuart Mill
Publisher: Penguin UK
'Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.' To this 'one very simple principle' the whole of Mill's essay On Liberty is dedicated. While many of his immediate predecessors and contemporaries, from Adam Smith to Godwin and Thoreau, had celebrated liberty, it was Mill who organized the idea into a philosophy, and put it into the form in which it is generally known today. The editor of this essay, Gertrude Himmelfarb records responses to Mill's books and comments on his fear of 'the tyranny of the majority'. Dr Himmelfarb concludes that the same inconsistencies which underlie On Liberty continue to complicate the moral and political stance of liberals today.
A Supreme Court justice outlines an accessible profile of the legislative branch's duties that explains its responsibility to safeguard the public while ensuring the cooperation of other government branches, sharing the stories behind key historical decisions. By the author of Active Liberty. Reprint. A best-selling book.
Against the Death Penalty
Author: Stephen Breyer
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
A landmark dissenting opinion arguing against the death penalty Does the death penalty violate the Constitution? In Against the Death Penalty, Justice Stephen G. Breyer argues that it does: that it is carried out unfairly and inconsistently, and thus violates the ban on "cruel and unusual punishments" specified by the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. "Today’s administration of the death penalty," Breyer writes, "involves three fundamental constitutional defects: (1) serious unreliability, (2) arbitrariness in application, and (3) unconscionably long delays that undermine the death penalty’s penological purpose. Perhaps as a result, (4) most places within the United States have abandoned its use." This volume contains Breyer's dissent in the case of Glossip v. Gross, which involved an unsuccessful challenge to Oklahoma's use of a lethal-injection drug because it might cause severe pain. Justice Breyer's legal citations have been edited to make them understandable to a general audience, but the text retains the full force of his powerful argument that the time has come for the Supreme Court to revisit the constitutionality of the death penalty. Breyer was joined in his dissent from the bench by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Their passionate argument has been cited by many legal experts — including fellow Justice Antonin Scalia — as signaling an eventual Court ruling striking down the death penalty. A similar dissent in 1963 by Breyer's mentor, Justice Arthur J. Goldberg, helped set the stage for a later ruling, imposing what turned out to be a four-year moratorium on executions.
Author: Linda Glaser
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Give me your tired, your poor Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...Who wrote these words? And why? In 1883, Emma Lazarus, deeply moved by an influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe, wrote a sonnet that was to give voice to the Statue of Liberty. Originally a gift from France to celebrate our shared national struggles for liberty, the Statue, thanks to Emma's poem, slowly came to shape our hearts, defining us as a nation that welcomes and gives refuge to those who come to our shores. This title has been selected as a Common Core Text Exemplar (Grades 4-5, Poetry)
Constant: Political Writings
Author: Benjamin Constant, Biancamaria Fontana
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Classic definitions of modern liberal doctrine emerge from the first English translation of the major political works of Benjamin Constant (1767-1830), one of the most important of the French political theorists.
A guide to the technologies, methods, and materials that can help writers of research papers
Working after the war, Hayek's writing was very much against the tide of mainstream Keynesian economic thought. But in the 1970s and 1980s - the eras of Thatcherism and Reaganomics - he was championed as a prophet of neo-liberalism by those who were seeking to revolutionize the post-war social consensus. The Constitution of Liberty is crucial reading for all those seeking to understand ideas that have become the orthodoxy in the age of the globalized economy.
Throughout history, personal liberty, free markets, and peaceable, voluntary exchanges have been roundly denounced by tyrants and often greeted with suspicion by the general public. Unfortunately, Americans have increasingly accepted the tyrannical ideas of reduced private property rights and reduced rights to profits, and have become enamored with restrictions on personal liberty and control by government. In this latest collection of essays selected from his syndicated newspaper columns, Walter E. Williams takes on a range of controversial issues surrounding race, education, the environment, the Constitution, health care, foreign policy, and more. Skewering the self-righteous and self-important forces throughout society, he makes the case for what he calls the "the moral superiority of personal liberty and its main ingredient—limited government." With his usual straightforward insights and honesty, Williams reveals the loss of liberty in nearly every important aspect of our lives, the massive decline in our values, and the moral tragedy that has befallen Americans today: our belief that it is acceptable for the government to forcibly use one American to serve the purposes of another.
The Cost of Rights
Author: Stephen Holmes, Cass R. Sunstein
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
A cogent and timely analysis of the economic realities lying beneath our arguments about rights and their protection and enforcement shows how both conservative and progressive forces selectively ignore the often harsh truths about the cost of these rights. Reprint.
In a major reinterpretation of American political thought in the revolutionary era, Marc Kruman explores the process of constitution making in each of the thirteen original states and shows that the framers created a distinctively American science of poli