'We the People' and Our Enduring Values (Reviewing Akhil Reed Amar, the Constitution and Criminal Procedure: First Principles) (Yale University Press, 1997)
45 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 1998 Last revised: 23 May 2012
This review critiques the notion that the first principles underlying the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments are the pursuit of truth and the protection of innocence. In identifying these principles, Professor Amar claims to be describing societal values that are both deeply rooted in history and at the core of contemporary concerns. It is crucial to examine these claims, not only to respond to Amar's thesis, but also because the Supreme Court has increasingly espoused - and relied upon - similar views.
The first part of the article examines the inadequacies and dangers of truth and innocence as animating principles. The second part discusses the ways in which Amar and others tend to treat the criminal procedure amendments as a world apart from the rest of the Bill of Rights. It argues that, despite Amar's desire to identify overarching constitutional principles, he instead advocates a set of principles for criminal procedure that conflict with the substantive and remedial values he elsewhere holds dear.
Keywords: criminal procedure, Akhil Amar, innocence protection, search for truth
JEL Classification: K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation