The People's Forest and Levy's Trees: Popular Sovereignty and the Origins of the Bill of Rights
Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 17, No. 1, p. 119, 2000
17 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2005
This is a 2000 book review of Leonard Levy's Origins of the Bill of Rights. Levy presents a stirring account of the history and tradition of specific rights in pre-Bill-of-Rights America, but he gives no sense of how deeply important popular sovereignty is to the Bill of Rights as a whole, both at its origins and in the present day. This review argues that Levy's view of rights is anachronistic, and that the Bill of Rights is better understood as a declaration of rights intended to be protected by political processes (and to preserve those processes), not just by courts.
Keywords: Bill of Rights, Leonard Levy, Ninth Amendment, Constitutional Law
JEL Classification: K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation