The Limits of Constitutional Democracy

Princeton University Press

Constitutional democracy is at once a flourishing idea filled with optimism and promise--and an enterprise fraught with limitations. Uncovering the reasons for this ambivalence, this book looks at the difficulties of constitutional democracy, and reexamines fundamental questions: What is constitutional democracy? When does it succeed or fail? Can constitutional democracies conduct war? Can they preserve their values and institutions while addressing new forms of global interdependence? The authors gathered here interrogate constitutional democracy's meaning in order to illuminate its future.

The book examines key themes--the issues of constitutional failure; the problem of emergency power and whether constitutions should be suspended when emergencies arise; the dilemmas faced when constitutions provide and restrict executive power during wartime; and whether constitutions can adapt to such globalization challenges as immigration, religious resurgence, and nuclear arms proliferation.

In addition to the editors, the contributors are Sotirios Barber, Joseph Bessette, Mark Brandon, Daniel Deudney, Christopher Eisgruber, James Fleming, William Harris II, Ran Hirschl, Gary Jacobsohn, Benjamin Kleinerman, Jan-Werner Müller, Kim Scheppele, Rogers Smith, Adrian Vermeule, and Mariah Zeisberg.

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About the author

Jeffrey K. Tulis teaches political science at the University of Texas, Austin. His books include The Rhetorical Presidency (Princeton). Stephen Macedo is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics at Princeton University. His numerous books include Democracy at Risk.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Nov 14, 2010
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Pages
353
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ISBN
9780691147369
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / Constitutional
Political Science / Political Freedom
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Democracy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Stephen Macedo
The institution of marriage stands at a critical juncture. As gay marriage equality gains acceptance in law and public opinion, questions abound regarding marriage's future. Will same-sex marriage lead to more radical marriage reform? Should it? Antonin Scalia and many others on the right warn of a slippery slope from same-sex marriage toward polygamy, adult incest, and the dissolution of marriage as we know it. Equally, many academics, activists, and intellectuals on the left contend that there is no place for monogamous marriage as a special status defined by law. Just Married demonstrates that both sides are wrong: the same principles of democratic justice that demand marriage equality for same-sex couples also lend support to monogamous marriage.

Stephen Macedo displays the groundlessness of arguments against same-sex marriage and defends marriage as a public institution against those who would eliminate its special status or supplant it with private arrangements. Arguing that monogamy reflects and cultivates our most basic democratic values, Macedo opposes the legal recognition of polygamy, but agrees with progressives that public policies should do more to support nontraditional caring and caregiving relationships. Throughout, Macedo explores the meaning of contemporary marriage and the reasons for its fragility and its enduring significance. His defense of reformed marriage against slippery slope alarmists on the right, and radical critics of marriage on the left, vindicates the justice and common sense of the emerging consensus.

Casting new light on today's debates over the future of marriage, Just Married lays the groundwork for a stronger institution.

Stephen Macedo
What are the proper aims of education in a liberal democracy? Given the deep disagreement about moral and religious values in modern societies, what is the proper balance between public and private claimants to educational authority? Should parents be given greater control over their children's formal education? Are today's public schools promoting a culture of rootless individualism? Do we increasingly resort to prisons and punishment instead of schooling and moral education to control young people? And what, finally, should be the fate of the great project of racially integrated schooling: a project that energized a vast expenditure of hopes and resources in the latter half of the 20th century in America? Should we recommit ourselves to the ideal of integration, or should we embrace other, perhaps better, ways to help the disadvantaged and promote social integration? Should we go further, and affirm that predominantly black educational institutions have intrinsic benefits, such as preserving black culture and providing role models for black youngsters?

As education reform takes center stage these questions are at the heart of what it means to be an American and participate in a democratic society. The essayists in this volume bring philosophical, political, and legal reflection to bear on the practical questions of how education should be changed to meet the needs of the twenty-first century. In so doing they display a determination to illuminate the educational choices that lie before all modern democracies.

Contributors: Anita L. Allen, Lawrence Blum, Harry Brighouse, Randall Curren, Peter de Marneffe, James G. Dwyer, Christopher Eisgruber, William A. Galston, Amy Gutmann, Michael W. McConnell, Rob Reich, Nancy L. Rosenblum, Yael Tamir, John Tomasi, and Andrew Valls.

Stephen Macedo
Voter turnout was unusually high in the 2004 U.S. presidential election. At first glance, that level of participation—largely spurred by war in Iraq and a burgeoning culture war at home—might look like vindication of democracy. If the recent past is any indication, however, too many Americans will soon return to apathy and inactivity. Clearly, all is not well in our civic life. Citizens are participating in public affairs too infrequently, too unequally, and in too few venues to develop and sustain a robust democracy. This important new book explores the problem of America's decreasing involvement in its own affairs. D emocracy at Risk reveals the dangers of civic disengagement for the future of representative democracy. The authors, all eminent scholars, undertake three main tasks: documenting recent trends in civic engagement, exploring the influence that the design of political institutions and public policies have had on those trends, and recommending steps that will increase the amount and quality of civic engagement in America. The authors focus their attention on three key areas: the electoral process, including elections and the way people get involved; the impact of location, including demographic shifts and changing development patterns; and the critical role of nonprofit organizations and voluntary associations, including the philanthropy that help keep them going.

This important project, initially sponsored by the American Political Science Association, tests the proposition that social science has useful insights on the state of our democratic life. Most importantly, it charts a course for reinvigorating civic participation in the world's oldest democracy.

The authors: Stephen Macedo (Princeton University), Yvette Alex-Assensoh (Indiana University), Jeffrey M. Berry (Tufts), Michael Brintnall (American Political Science Association), David E. Campbell (Notre Dame), Luis Ricardo Fraga (Stanford), Archon Fung (Harvard), William A. Galston (University of Maryland), Christopher F. Karpowitz (Princeton), Margaret Levi (University of Washington), Meira Levinson (Radcliffe Institute), Keena Lipsitz (California–Berkeley), Richard G. Niemi (University of Rochester), Robert D. Putnam (Harvard), Wendy M. Rahn (University of Minnesota), Keith Reeves (Swarthmore), Rob Reich (Stanford), Robert R. Rodgers (Princeton), Todd Swanstrom (Saint Louis University), and Katherine Cramer Walsh (University of Wisconsin).

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