Contributions by ‘Anthony Michael Kreis’

Clause Essentialism and the Third Reconstruction

Reading Constructing Basic Liberties, one greatly appreciates how Fleming’s defense of substantive due process is doctrinally grounded. The book focuses on case law development in the Supreme Court rather than attempting to create some new constitutional theory from the 40,000-foot level to advance common law constitutionalism. The book deftly articulates a defense of a liberal constitutional order, sensitive and receptive to new rights claims, without droning on and waxing philosophical. Nevertheless, setting the book down, I had hoped for something a little more shiny and new. Perhaps, I was slightly let down because I (and other liberals) have been longing for something catchy like “originalism” to serve as a counterweight to the conservative legal movement, which has pilloried living constitutionalism and substantive due process as unprincipled and wishy-washy. But, then again, there might be a lesson in this reader’s experience. I pondered whether there was any real value in the hunt for a bumper sticker theory.

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