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

MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 03-01

17 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2005  

Brian C. Kalt

Michigan State University College of Law

Abstract

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

Kalt, Brian C., 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; MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 03-01 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=692765

Brian C. Kalt (Contact Author)

Michigan State University College of Law ( email )

318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States
517-432-6987 (Phone)
517-432-6879 (Fax)

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