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Vol 21 No 10 Oct/Nov 2016

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Criminal Injuries Compensation Claims

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Our Unsettled Constitution

Louis Michael SeidmanProfessor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, USA

ISBN13: 9780300085310
ISBN: 0300085311
Published: February 2002
Publisher: Yale University Press
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Hardback
Price: £26.00



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Ours is an age of growing doubt about constitutional theory and of outright hostility to any theory that defends judicial review. Why should a tiny number of unelected judges be able to validate or invalidate laws on such politically controversial issues as abortion, religion, gender, and sex - or even determine how the president is elected? In this provocative book, a leading constitutional theorist offers an entirely original defence of judicial review. Louis Michael Seidman argues that judicial review is defensible if we set aside common but erroneous assumptions, namely that constitutional law should be independent from our political commitments and that the role of constitutional law is to settle political disagreement. Seidman develops a theory of "unsettlement". A constitution that unsettles, that destabilises outcomes produced by the political process, creates no permanent losers nursing deep-seated grievances, he says. An "unsettling" constitution helps to build a community founded on consent by enticing losers into a continuing conversation. The author applies this theory to an array of well-known cases heard by the Supreme Court over the past several decades, including the Autumn 2000 election decision.