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The Constitution of the United States of America: A Contextual Analysis (Constitutional Systems of the World) (Anglais) Broché – 1 juillet 2008

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Broché, 1 juillet 2008
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Revue de presse

Review of the 1st instructive reference that studies in depth the history and current status of the United States' Constitution...A thoughtful and highly scholarly text, especially recommended for college and university library collections. --The Midwest Book Review, Wisconsin Bookwatch July 2009

Review of the 1st Edition: The book is a very appealing introduction to US constitutional thinking for foreign readers, especially those from continental Europe. Unlike many other books on the same topic, it does not deal with all the intricate details and specific normative concepts in a black letter way, but rather provides a birds-eye analysis of the underlying concepts and ways of thinking. The book focuses on interpretation and political structures. This way of looking at the Constitution is typically American, but, generally speaking, very unusual to continental European and in particular to German eyes. The usual black-letter book, thus, tends to give continental Europeans a false impression of what is really going on in the US constitutional debate; it lulls them into believing (erroneously) that the basic way of looking at the Constitution at home and in the US is not all that much different. Therefore, this book is a very much needed, maybe even indispensable addition to the introductions I have so far found on the market. --Professor. Dr. Uwe Kischel, LL.M (Yale), Universitat Greifswald, March 2009

Review of the 1st Edition:...Tushnet does an outstanding job dealing with the daunting task of providing a concise yet informative overview of over two hundred years of American history...He provides enough textual references in footnotes to substantiate his assertions while not disrupting the flow of the text in a material way. Moreover, at the end of each chapter he assembles a brief list of additional resources that can be used to extend the discussion. --Michael P. Allen Law & Politics Book Review Vol.19, No.7, July 20, 2009 --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Présentation de l'éditeur

This book provides a critical introduction to the history and current meaning of the United States' Constitution. It is organised around two themes: Firstly, the U.S. Constitution is old, short, and difficult to amend. These characteristics have made constitutional 'interpretation,' especially by the U.S. Supreme Court, the primary mechanism for adapting the Constitution to ever-changing reality. Secondly, the Constitution creates a structure of political opportunities that allows political actors, including political parties, to pursue the preferred policy goals even to the point of altering the very structure of politics. Politics, that is, often gives meaning to the Constitution. Deploying these themes to examine the structure of the national government, federalism, judicial review, and individual rights, the book provides basic information about, and deeper insights into, the way the U.S. constitutional system has developed and what it means today.

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4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Atypical but stimulating perspective 14 août 2012
Par A. J. Sutter - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book is different from many others on the US Constitution: its thesis is that although the US Constitution is regarded as the paradigmatic written constitution, it's far more of an unwritten one, like Britain's, than we may realize. By the end of the book, it's hard to disagree. Rather than marching through specific provisions of the written Constitution in sequence, the author (MT) more often "cuts to the chase" and describes the practical political realities underlying the main Constitutional topics, namely, the three branches, federalism, human rights and amendment. For example, political parties aren't mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, and yet, as MT points out, they dominate how the legislative, executive and judicial branches function and how they interact with each other. The written Constitution simply provides a kind of framework within which the parties operate.

MT's discussion of human rights also might surprise (or frustrate) some readers. Rather than discussing specific rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, he gives instead a detailed historical survey of the notion of "rights" in US politics and jurisprudence. For example, during the Progressive era (early 20th Century), "rights" were regarded mainly as things the rich and powerful used to suppress working people and the poor -- "civil rights" were things like freedom of contract and the right to own property. Labor activists and others who'd be called "liberals" in the US today preferred to speak of "balancing interests," and looked to Congress rather than the courts for help. That changed during the New Deal, when a famous footnote in a Supreme Court opinion (dicta, though MT doesn't use that term) laid out a strategy for extending civil rights (in the modern sense) to African-Americans and other racial minorities. MT also talks about the role of different groups of lawyers -- such as those working for the ACLU, NAACP and, later, conservative public-interest foundations -- in expanding "rights" discourse. Since my own interest is tilted more toward democratic institutions than human rights jurisprudence, I'd initially expected just to skim this chapter, but once I began it I was hooked into a close read.

The chapter on updating the Constitution was also quite good. As many readers will already know, more updating comes from interpretation than from formal amendment. MT provides a survey of the many interpretative techniques the Supreme Court uses (almost all of which were used by the first Chief Justice in the 1819 case of McCulloch v Maryland). A bonus is a very matter-of-fact exposure of the fallacies of "originalism," the interpretive style favored by the Court's current conservative majority. And MT also makes the easily-overlooked point that the political branches do a great deal of updating themselves, expanding their power "with the courts letting them get away with it in the face of the written Constitution" (@242).

MT's approach is consistent with the subtitle of this book and of all others in the same series from Hart Publishing: "A contextual analysis." The point of the series is to emphasize the constitution in practice, not the one on paper. Common to all books in the series is that the actual text of the constitution being discussed is NOT included. I'm a US lawyer, so the lack of a systematic section-by-section exposition of the Constitution didn't faze me, but some readers might at least want to look at a book like Richard Beeman's "Penguin Guide to the United States Constitution" before attempting this one.

I expect, though, that the Hart series will have many readers from outside the US, and in this regard MT's treatment isn't as user-friendly as it could be. E.g., most readers who aren't from English-speaking countries (actually, anyone who didn't read Orwell's "1984" in school) won't know that Winston Smith is a fictional character (@211-212), or catch the irony of MT's reference to "enhanced interrogation" in this context (@id.). "Lynch law" (@226) is another example of reference that may go over many readers' heads. Even many Americans who aren't of a certain age won't know who Samuel Gompers is (@195). References like these might be glossed with a terse footnote, at least. The editing could also be tightened up. Occasionally a case is referred to familiarly (e.g., "the Lopez case" @179) when previously the name appeared only in a footnote, and the shortened name can't be found easily in the index of cases (you'd need to know to look under 'U', for US v. Lopez). And even I was confused by the references to substantive due process. At p. 213, MT talks about this topic as if he's discussed it before, but actually up till then it was only mentioned in a footnote (@26); and even later it only gets a few more words, @251. The index won't help you here -- it doesn't mention substantive due process at all, and short-changes some other topics, too. I hope that all of these glitches, and others like them, could be fixed in a second edition. At that time, too, I hope MT will include at least a couple of paragraphs on the subject of pre-emption, which I was surprised to find was absent from the chapter on federalism.

The writing style is clear and jargon-free by the standards of US legal scholarship, though also somewhat dry. A few more gentle touches like the ironic Orwell-Bush reference and the passing mention of "sex, drugs and rock-and-roll" (@214) might be welcome sustenance for readers of the next edition. Nonetheless, the present one is well worth reading -- particularly if you already know something about the general shape of America's written Constitution, and want to look at it from a new angle.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A thoughtful and highly scholarly text 11 juillet 2009
Par Midwest Book Review - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Written by Mark Tushnet (William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School), The Constitution of the United States of America: A Contextual Analysis is an instructive reference that studies in depth the history and current status of the United States' Constitution. Two core principles about the constitution are noted: first that it is an old document, quite brief, and very difficult to amend. These traits have made constitutional "interpretation", particularly as practiced by the U.S. Supreme Court, the primary means by which the Constitution is adapted to the continually changing needs of the modern day. Second, it is readily apparent that the Constitution builds a structure of political opportunities that allows politicians and/or political parties the opportunity to pursue their policy goals to the point of changing the structure of politics. Therefore, it is politics itself that gives meaning to the Constitution. With these principles in mind, The Constitution of the United States of America examines national government structure, federalism, judicial review, individual rights, the process of constitutional change, and much more. A thoughtful and highly scholarly text, especially recommended for college and university library collections.
0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 No need 26 mai 2016
Par Miss Lee - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Not worth buying because con law is taught very differently, varying by professor. Stick to the Chemerinsky supp.
0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Five Stars 25 août 2014
Par jingyun zhao - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Brand new, good
0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Five Stars 25 juillet 2014
Par Mengyuan Zhou - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
nice and fast
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