Chapter

Introduction: the Subtle Judge and Moderate Liberalism

in The Cloaking of Power

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780226094823
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226094830 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226094830.003.0001
Introduction: the Subtle Judge and Moderate Liberalism

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This book describes the twentieth-century argument that judicial power in America largely concerns legal interpretation, the original intent of particular constitutional clauses, and the comparison of evolving ideas of law and judging to the views of the American framers. The eighteenth-century French philosopher Montesquieu (1689–1755) was the most cited European author in America at the time of the Constitution's framing, but his complicated style and the criticism that his republicanism was aristocratic led to a gradual decline in his status for leading American thinkers. This book discusses the history of modern judicial power by examining Montesquieu's constitutionalism of liberty, which points to his development of a new jurisprudence and constitutionalism throughout The Spirit of the Laws. The foundation of America's moderate constitutionalism and jurisprudence is at hand if the classic common-law traditions are studied alongside it and if it is understood that both Montesquieu and Blackstone admired and tried to reform.

Keywords: judicial power; America; legal interpretation; law; Montesquieu; jurisprudence; constitutionalism

Chapter.  4066 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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