Chapter

Bruce Ackerman's Magic Amendment Machine

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226238104.003.0006
Bruce Ackerman's Magic Amendment Machine

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This chapter provides a glimpse of how Bruce Ackerman, a Yale-educated professor, attempts to use originalism to entrench Warren Court precedents and to protect them against a potential Republican revolution. He calls himself a constitutional dualist, by which he means that the Constitution contemplates two types of politics, that is, normal or ordinary politics and higher lawmaking or constitutional politics. The keys to Ackerman's theory lie in two propositions about American history—that the founders of the 1787 Constitution both contemplated and implemented a particular mode of constitutional politics, and that later innovators altered the details but followed the general framework of higher lawmaking. The reelection of the president and his constitutional proposal serve the signaling and proposing functions of Ackerman's five-stage process.

Keywords: Bruce Ackerman; originalism; constitutional dualist; Constitution; lawmaking

Chapter.  9676 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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