Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1962580
 
 

Footnotes (138)



 


 



Making Popular Constitutionalism Work


Tom Donnelly


Harvard Law School

November 21, 2011

Wisconsin Law Review, Vol. 2012
Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 11-29

Abstract:     
Popular constitutionalism defies easy definition. Its leading theorists fail to offer a common reading of constitutional history, a common methodology, or even a common set of remedies. Given these diverse approaches, it is little wonder that one recurring complaint among popular constitutionalism’s critics is that the theory itself is incoherent. This criticism is overstated. Even as there are various strands of popular constitutionalism, its leading theorists do share one key attribute, a populist sensibility — a common belief that the American people (and their elected representatives) should play an ongoing role in shaping contemporary constitutional meaning. The question remains how best to achieve this shared goal, while also increasing popular constitutionalism’s normative appeal. In my view, the solution lies in committing to a broad-based agenda of both civic renewal and institutional reform — one that is as focused on the problems of legislative paralysis, incumbent entrenchment, and citizen apathy as it is on the threat posed by an aggressive judiciary. In this Article, I outline such an agenda. In addition, I consider one reform proposal in detail — the public reconsideration of judicial decisions — or, as I shall call it, the “People’s veto.” In the end, I seek to show that one does not have to hold anti-Court views (or unrealistic expectations about the capacities of ordinary citizens) in order to accept that the American people should play a more direct, ongoing, deliberative role in constitutional decision-making.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 36

Keywords: popular constitutionalism, judicial review, institutional reform, constitutional law

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: November 21, 2011 ; Last revised: March 25, 2012

Suggested Citation

Donnelly, Tom, Making Popular Constitutionalism Work (November 21, 2011). Wisconsin Law Review, Vol. 2012; Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 11-29. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1962580

Contact Information

Tom Donnelly (Contact Author)
Harvard Law School ( email )
107 Griswold
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,764
Downloads: 258
Download Rank: 68,492
Footnotes:  138

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo5 in 0.281 seconds