The Constitution Notes for February 25

Main points

We have been talking about law in general: how is law derived from fundamental rules or sovereign powers, what are judges’ roles, and so on. So I thought it would be revealing to take a look at a document that is treated as a source of law and judicial authority.

In addition, our next two authors are primarily interested in the interpretation of the US Constitution. Having a sense of how much it says will throw some light on their disagreement, I think.

Tribe’s point

Tribe’s point is that there are several propositions that are widely taken to be part of Constitutional law in the legal profession and the society at large despite the fact that they cannot be derived from the written language of the document itself.

Some of these are more debatable than others, I grant. But the general point that we get a fair amount of our Constitutional commonsense from something other than the document itself is a good one.

This page was written by Michael Green for Philosophy of Law, Philosophy 34, Spring 2009. It was posted February 25, 2009.
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