Reading Assignment

Jan. 25

The Constitution in American Political Culture Today

Assigned Readings
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Assigned readings

To access readings on electronic reserve (Ares), click on the "Ares" link and log in with your WUSTL Key password. For help in using Ares, Begin here.

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Ares Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures. Basic Books, 1973. Chapter 1, "Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture" (pp. 3-30).

Ares Gabriel A. Almond and Sidney Verba, The Civic Culture. Little, Brown & Co., 1963. Chapter 1, "An Approach to Political Culture," pages 1-35, 40-44 only.

or web
Thurgood Marshall, "Commentary: Reflections on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution." Harvard Law Review Vol. 101, No. 1 (Nov. 1987), pp. 1-5.

or web
William Bradford Reynolds, "Another View: Our Magnificent Constitution." Vanderbilt Law Review 40 (Nov. 1987), pp. 1343-1351.

(individual web links) Divine constitutionalism
  • Ezra Taft Benson, "Our Divine Constitution." Ensign (LDS online magazine), Nov., 1987. Online.
    • Note the hyperlink references to the Book of Mormon and to the Doctrine and Covenants of the LDS Church. Although the church occasionally adds to the Doctrine and Coventants, the references here are all to sections originating in the early 19th century.
  • "Was the Constitution Divinely Inspired?" A page of commonly used quotations from the Founders. Online, originally linked from another NCCS-related page, Constitution Week USA.
  • Jeffrey Rosen, "Radical Constitutionalism." New York Times Magazine (Nov. 26, 2010). Online.

(individual web links) Tea party constitutionalism, and responses
  • Adam Liptak, "Tea-ing Up the Constitution." New York Times, March 12, 2010. Online.
  • Mara Liasson, "Tea Party: It's Not Just Taxes, It's The Constitution." Transcript of NPR story, July 14, 2010. Online.
  • John Nichols, "The Tea Party Constitution Versus the Thomas Jefferson Constitution." The Nation, Oct. 30, 2010. Online.
  • Doug Kendall and Judith Schaeffer, "'The Whole Constitution Pledge' -- Taking our Nation's Charter Back from the Tea Party." ACSBlog, posted 9/15/2011 online.

(individual web links) Magical thinking about law
  • Cecil Adams, "Is U.S. income tax invalid because Ohio wasn't legally a state when the 16th amendment was ratified?" Posted at The Straight Dope, a website debunking such arguments.
  • "Pseudolaw", posted on RationalWiki, another website devoted to debunking. This one offers some conceptual structure.
  • I wanted to protect you from this, but here's the real item -- just explore it a little, especially under Taxation: The Family Guardian website.

(individual web links) The obsolete constitution; or, the war on the constitution
  • Sanford Levinson, "Our undemocratic Constitution: The Lame Duck Congress." Posted on the blog Balkinization, Nov., 2006. Online.
  • Stephen Griffin, "Levinson on Constitutional Reform." Posted on the blog Balkinization, Nov., 2006. Part I and Part II.
  • Richard Stengel, "One Document, Under Siege." Time (June 23, 2011) online.
  • (skim for content and approach) Aaron Worthing, "Thirteen Clear Factual Errors in Richard Stengel's Essay on the Constitution.", posted 6/28/2011 online.
  • "The Elite Are Not Even Trying To Hide How Much They Hate The U.S. Constitution Anymore," posted at The American Dream website online. Undated, but responds to a Sept. 2010 lecture by Michael Klarman. Enjoy the video rant as well.

(individual web links) Recent issues in economic regulation
  • Bruce Bartlett, "The Debt Limit Option President Obama Can Use." The Fiscal Times, dated 29 Apr. 2011 online.
  • Viveca Novak, "Health Care Overhaul: Constitutional?", posted Oct. 2, 2009 online.

(individual web links) Recent issues in war powers
  • Bruce Ackerman, "Obama's Unconstitutional War." Foreign Policy, dated Mar. 24, 2011 online.
  • Jack Goldsmith, "War Power: The president's campaign against Libya is constitutional." Slate, posted Mar. 21, 2011 online.

web Recent issues in international influences and religion
  • Garrett Epps, "In Sharia Law Ban, Oklahoma Juggles Dynamite." The Atlantic, dated Nov. 16, 2010 online.

(individual web links) Recent issues in legislative-executive relations: Recess appointments
  • Helene Cooper and Jennifer Steinhauer, "Bucking Senate, Obama Appoints Consumer Chief," New York Times, January 4, 2012 online.
  • Charlie Savage, "Obama Tempts Fight Over Recess Appointments." New York Times, January 4, 2012 online.

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Assigned Readings

This page written by Randall Calvert © 2012. Email comments and questions to calvert at wustl