The “Common-Good” Manifesto is Now Published
Here is the introduction:
Two prominent scholars once described a “genre” of literature — the “constitutional manifesto” — that “sits uneasily between the scholarly or theoretical analysis of constitutional law and the buzzwords of day-to-day constitutional politics.” Such a work must “expound a philosophical vision of constitutional law and politics” that’s intellectually serious but “nonetheless accessible to a broad audience.” Not only that, it must be “politically savvy, so that it may guide a political and legal movement in particular directions over time.” Yet the case for its constitutional method, “openly defended as a tactic for achieving a political agenda,” can’t succeed as a political matter if it also adheres to traditional academic values like “a commitment to public candor.” If it tries to split the difference, the wires will show.
One of those scholars, Professor Adrian Vermeule, has now tried his own hand at the genre. Three years ago, he announced that originalism had “outlived its utility” for producing a “substantively conservative approach to constitutional law and interpretation.” In Common Good Constitutionalism, he offers a new constitutional manifesto, expounding a philosophical vision that might “direct persons, associations, and society generally toward the common good.” Alas, the wires still show.
Common Good Constitutionalism has been accompanied by an impressive intellectual and rhetorical campaign, and it has already been widely (if mostly skeptically) reviewed. We share the skeptical bottom line, but we worry that the book’s critics ha
Article from Reason.com