Chapter

Conclusion To Govern Ourselves in a Certain Manner

in Constitutional Conscience

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780226677255
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226677309 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226677309.003.0007
Conclusion To Govern Ourselves in a Certain Manner

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The Supreme Court's first great constitutional decision, Chisholm v. Georgia, was also its first great public relations disaster. Chisholm held that Article III authorized the Court to exercise jurisdiction over a state at the suit of a citizen of another state; within two years of the decision, the cumbersome amendment process of Article V had overturned the decision through what is now known as the Eleventh Amendment. This chapter raises what it believes to be the most fundamental question about American constitutionalism: is it a good idea? American constitutional law has permitted great evil at times—one need only think of slavery. And the U.S. constitutional law does privilege, for some purposes, the decisions of a professional elite headed by the Court. The Constitution, and the practices that give it life, offer no guarantees: they are an experiment, one that rests political community on a law and a politics that must be informed by the conscience of those who make up, and speak for, that community.

Keywords: Supreme Court; Chisholm v. Georgia; Eleventh Amendment; constitutionalism; constitutional law; Constitution; conscience; politics

Chapter.  1589 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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