Book Review Colloquy: How Do We Redeem the Time?

21 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2012

Date Written: October 24, 2012


This is a review of Jack Balkin’s two recent books, Constitutional Redemption: Political Faith in an Unjust World (2011) and Living Originalism (2011). I concentrate on understanding Balkin’s encompassing vision of American constitutionalism along two dimensions – his theory of constitutional change and his theory of constitutional “construction.” I applaud Balkin’s historicist approach to constitutional change, although I am skeptical of his treatment of the New Deal and a crucial aspect of his argument with respect to the adoption of the Constitution. On matters of interpretation or “construction,” I react against Balkin’s denial of the relevance of judicial supremacy and have a more skeptical take on judicial review generally. I conclude that both of these books are well worth reading and Living Originalism, in particular, may well become a standard touchstone for constitutional theory.

Keywords: constitutional change, constitutional interpretation, constitutional construction, judicial supremacy, originalism, living constitutionalism

Suggested Citation

Griffin, Stephen M., Book Review Colloquy: How Do We Redeem the Time? (October 24, 2012). Texas Law Review, Forthcoming, Tulane Public Law Research Paper No. 12-22, Available at SSRN:

Stephen M. Griffin (Contact Author)

Tulane University Law School ( email )

6329 Freret Street
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States
504-865-5910 (Phone)
504-862-8857 (Fax)

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