Lessons from the Past: Is There Anything New in Constitutional Law?
Green Bag, 2nd Edition, Vol. 5, p. 207, Winter 2002
11 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2006
Review of David P. Currie, The Constitution in Congress: The Jeffersonians, 1801-1829 (Univ. of Chicago Press 2001).
Modern-day constitutional lawyers learn their trade largely from reading and discussing judicial opinions, but there is in our nation's history a rich tradition of constitutional debate in the other branches of the government. In this volume - the second in his look at constitutional debates in Congress, Professor David Currie does a masterful job not only describing the most significant constitutional debates of the Jeffersonian-era Congresses, but also demonstrating how relevant those debates are for current constitutional disputes, whether it be the impeachment of former President Clinton or the ongoing fight over judicial confirmations. The article does take issue with Professor Currie's dismissiveness toward the notion that the debates must be read against the backdrop of the principles of the Declaration of Independence in order to be understood fully, however, noting that the debates in Congress demonstrate a much greater inclinitation toward that position than Currie is willing to credit.
Keywords: Constition, Congress, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Election of 1800
JEL Classification: H10, H11, H41, H50, H51, H52, H53, H54, H77,
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation