The Usefulness of Constitutional Law
Liberty Forum, January 2012
6 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2012 Last revised: 22 Nov 2013
Date Written: January 31, 2012
This short comment responds to Michael Stokes Paulsen’s “The Uselessness of Constitutional Law.” Paulsen makes the provocative suggestion that Constitutional Law be removed from the required curriculum at every law school in the country, and offered only as a Great Books/Great Cases elective. His goal is to foster a general liberal education that does not contribute to the corrupt, result-oriented culture of legal reasoning fostered by the Supreme Court and the legal professoriate.
This response to Paulsen suggests that if his entirely plausible accusations are valid, his proposed correction is simultaneously too bold and too timid. Too bold because it sacrifices an opportunity to help students become better lawyers. Too timid because it does not propose the kind of genuinely liberal education that would equip students to undertake a serious rethinking and reform of the degenerate culture that he condemns.
Keywords: Akhil Amar, Anti-Federalist, apprenticeship, bar exam preparation, Blackstone, Cicero, civics, classical literature, Federalist Papers, founding era, government, jurisprudence, Magna Carta, Montesquieu, Plato, political science, Rousseau, Socratic Method, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, training
JEL Classification: I21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation