Who Celebrates What? A Response to Professor Levinson
10 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2020 Last revised: 22 May 2020
Date Written: February 28, 2020
This invited contribution responds to Sanford Levinson’s 2019 Constitution Day lecture delivered at Northeastern University. Levinson asks what is worth celebrating, the Constitution or the Framers? He is willing to celebrate the Framers who, in his assessment, “were truly concerned citizens of a new, and extremely vulnerable, United States of America.” He cautions, however, against “thoughtless praise of our founding document.” And he encourages deeper thinking about what it means to celebrate founders and innovators.
This response focuses on the German Basic Law, examining a variety of contributions by German and U.S. scholars as well as German judges and politicians on the occasions of the Basic Law’s 50th, 60th and 70th anniversaries. In comparative perspective, I address the question of what there is to celebrate about constitutions, or more broadly, constitutionalism.
Keywords: U.S. Constitution, German Basic Law, constitutional law, comparative constitutional law, constitutional patriotism
JEL Classification: K1, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation