The Case for Constitutional Amendments

I have an essay at Law and Liberty today on constitutional amendments. Law and Liberty has a terrific series called “Liberty Forum” that includes an essay and several responses. My essay today is a response to Professors John McGinnis and Michael Rappoport, who made an originalist case for more amendments. The response draws on work Ben Kleinerman and I did several years ago on how Federalist 49’s case for constitutional veneration has been misunderstood to make the Constitution untouchable. Continue reading The Case for Constitutional Amendments

Endurance and the Canon

I appreciate, and generally agree with the conclusions of, Ben Kleinerman’s recent post on the universal relevance of great books. But I would take issue with one point. Ben writes: It is insufficiently appreciated that the Western Tradition isn’t simply the preserve of old white men dedicated to the preservation of what’s old merely because it’s what’s old. At its worst, “tradition-preservers” defend it on those grounds. Those grounds, however, are both insufficient as a defense and insufficient even as an explanation for why we should take it seriously. I am unaware of traditionalists who seek to preserve what is … Continue reading Endurance and the Canon

Syrian Airstrikes: A Friendly Amendment to Ben Kleinerman’s Post?

Ben Kleinerman has made a compelling case that the partisan reversal on constitutional authority for U.S. airstrikes in Syria shows the separation of powers at work. I have a friendly amendment, or at least one to propose: Ben’s case is true with two qualifications. First, the reversal should be institutional, not partisan. That is, members of Congress should question presidential authority as members of Congress, not based on partisan alignments for or against President Biden. If Democrats and Republicans who stay in Congress across changes in presidential administrations are situational constitutionalists based on who occupies the White House, Madison’s case … Continue reading Syrian Airstrikes: A Friendly Amendment to Ben Kleinerman’s Post?