The Constitution, the Leviathan, and the Common Good

Constitutional Commentary, Forthcoming

San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 22-005

20 Pages Posted: 3 May 2022

Date Written: May 2, 2022


On its face, Adrian Vermeule’s Common Good Constitutionalism appears to do battle with the entire corpus of contemporary legal and constitutional theory. But the conflicts are mostly contrived. Vermeule picks gratuitous fights based on skewed descriptions of generic opponents; meanwhile, although seeking to revive “the classical legal tradition,” he does not systematically defend that tradition at the points where real, substantive disagreements exist. As a result, the book provides little illumination of any of its major themes-- the classical legal tradition, the American Constitution, or contemporary constitutional theory.

Keywords: constitutional theory, classical legal tradition, American Constitution, legal positivism

Suggested Citation

Smith, Steven Douglas, The Constitution, the Leviathan, and the Common Good (May 2, 2022). Constitutional Commentary, Forthcoming, San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 22-005, Available at SSRN:

Steven Douglas Smith (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States
619-260-7969 (Phone)
619-260-2492 (Fax)

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