Constitutional Statutes or Overriding the Court-On Bruce Ackerman’s We the People: The Civil Rights Revolution
13 Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies 1 (2016)
18 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2015 Last revised: 29 Jun 2019
Date Written: March 2, 2015
This comment reviews Bruce Ackerman's We the People: The Civil Rights Revolution. It traces the major innovations suggested in the book and explains the motivation for writing the book. It then looks at Ackerman's work through the eyes of comparative constitutional law. It suggests that while Ackerman embarked on an American historical journey, his work makes the U.S. Constitution less "exceptional" and more accessible and even relevant in comparative terms. Ackerman's work blurs the fundamental distinctions between the "formal" and the "material" constitution. The comment argues that this blurring results from the need to supplement formal mechanisms of constitutional amendment with commonlaw ones that may exist in any constitutional system that is based on popular sovereignty. But while accepting that the U.S. Constitution may be amended via extra-constitutional means, the comment questions whether the landmark statutes identified by Ackerman are amendments to the Constitution or present mere override of judicial decisions.
Keywords: constitutional statutes, super-statutes, landmark statutes, override, notwithstanding clause
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