Akhil Amar and the People's Court

in Desperately Seeking Certainty

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780226238081
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226238104 | DOI:
Akhil Amar and the People's Court

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  • Constitutional and Administrative Law


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This chapter describes an interpretive strategy, and looks at the substantive agenda of Akhil Amar from Yale Law School who can be described as one of the first liberal foundationalists. He interprets the Constitution to allow freewheeling majority rule, including a right to amend the Constitution without following the rules laid down in Article V. Amar, who is one of the leading constitutional scholars of his generation, calls the interpretive approach that leads to these striking results “intratextualism” or “documentarianism.” He is the only constitutional scholar who has ever tried to defend the Court's reasoning on textual grounds. Therefore, his focus on popular sovereignty and his peculiar reading of the text puts juries at the center of protecting rights, and judges at the periphery.

Keywords: Akhil Amar; Foundationalists; Constitution; intratextualism; documentarianism

Chapter.  9161 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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