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The Stealth Revolution, Continued

Bruce Ackerman: Samuel Alito and the Supreme Court, 9 February 2006

... Suppose 2005 had fulfilled President Bush’s fondest hopes. His intervention in Iraq was now successfully winding down, to reveal the first vibrant democracy in the Islamic world – vindicating the higher morality of his assault on the Old World Order that America helped create in the aftermath of World War Two. On the home front, the Republican Congress was proving equally responsive to his call to privatise Social Security – replacing tired New Deal notions of communal solidarity with a bright individualistic future in an Ownership Society ...

At the Crossroads

Bruce Ackerman: Electoral Reform, 9 September 2010

... Britain’s constitutional revolution is proceeding at such a pace that it is easy to lose sight of the meaning of it all. The reforms of the past generation – the delegation of quasi-sovereignty to Brussels, devolutions to assemblies in Northern Ireland and Wales and a parliament in Scotland, the passage of the Human Rights Act and the creation of the Supreme Court, the continuing transformation of the House of Lords – have already begun to shake the foundations ...

Don’t Panic

Bruce Ackerman: States of Emergency, 7 February 2002

... Like it or not, terrorist attacks will be a recurring part of our future. The balance of technology has shifted, making it possible for a small band of zealots to wreak devastation where we least expect it – not a plane next time, but perhaps an atomic bomb in a suitcase or a biotoxin in the water supply. The attack of 11 September is the prototype of similar events that will litter the 21st century ...

Meritocracy v. Democracy

Bruce Ackerman: What to do about the Lords, 8 March 2007

... The ghost of Montesquieu is haunting Britain. His theory of the separation of powers famously misdescribed the political dynamics of 18th-century England, which was already moving in the direction of parliamentary government. Yet his arguments for dividing political power hit home in America, and as the United States rose to prominence, its Montesquieuan model proved attractive to the Latin American countries in its sphere of influence ...

Anatomy of a Constitutional Coup

Bruce Ackerman: The 2000 US Election, 8 February 2001

... It was a curious time for a crisis. An extraordinary boom had provided the rich with fabulous wealth and America with full employment. The disappearance of the Red menace gave the nation an effortless cultural primacy. The Air Force had even established that wars could be won without casualties. What was there to worry about? Certainly Al Gore and George W ...

The Art of Stealth

Bruce Ackerman: The Supreme Court under Threat, 17 February 2005

... The American Constitution is the oldest in the world, but appearances are deceiving. Over the past two centuries, the Supreme Court has given very different meanings to the grand abstractions and cryptic formulae of the Constitution, and in doing so has ratified a series of great transformations in American government. From age to age, the court’s decisions have revolutionised the relationships between the presidency and Congress, between the federal government and the states, and between the individual and the state ...

Quibbling, Wrangling

Jeremy Waldron: How to draft a constitution, 12 September 2019

Revolutionary Constitutions: Charismatic Leadership and the Rule of Law 
by Bruce Ackerman.
Harvard, 457 pp., £25.95, May 2019, 978 0 674 97068 7
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... even between the main protagonists there was little or no consensus on constitutional principles. Bruce Ackerman says that the events he describes in his new book do ‘not support the now standard view of South Africa as a paradigmatic case of “negotiated transition” in which elites managed the tricky business of change through enlightened ...


Richard Tuck, 16 July 1981

Social Justice in the Liberal State 
by Bruce Ackerman.
Yale, 392 pp., £11, October 1980, 0 300 02439 8
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Justice and Liberty 
by David Raphael.
Athlone, 192 pp., £13, November 1980, 0 485 11195 0
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... difficult it has proved for them fully to disentangle themselves from the old ways of thinking. Bruce Ackerman’s Social Justice in the Liberal State is the latest work to consider these matters. It is distinguished by two features: one is its unusual heuristic device of what he calls ‘dialogic’ method, and the other is the seriousness with which ...

Give me the man

Stephen Holmes: The pursuit of Clinton, 18 March 1999

Sexual McCarthyism: Clinton, Starr and the Emerging Constitutional Crisis 
by Alan Dershowitz.
Basic Books, 275 pp., £15.95, January 1999, 0 465 01628 6
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The Case against Lameduck Impeachment 
by Bruce Ackerman.
Seven Stories, 80 pp., $8, February 1999, 1 58322 004 6
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... Harvard professor of criminal law, Alan Dershowitz, and the Yale professor of constitutional law, Bruce Ackerman, are two of the country’s most renowned teachers. So while issuing what are essentially interim reports from the battlefront, they together provide a comprehensive overview of the potential consequences for the rule of law of this ...

Guantanamo Bay

Martin Puchner: A state of exception, 16 December 2004

... a scenario in which the law might be suspended. The chief supporter of such a provision is Bruce Ackerman who teaches at Yale (and is an LRB contributor). According to Ackerman, who is associated with the left, it should be specified in the constitution exactly when and how it can be suspended precisely so that ...

Get over it!

Corey Robin: Antonin Scalia, 10 June 2010

American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia 
by Joan Biskupic.
Farrar, Straus, 434 pp., $28, November 2009, 978 0 374 20289 7
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... when a word or passage became part of the text and acquired its meaning. Not only on the right. Bruce Ackerman, Akhil Amar and Jack Balkin are just three of the most prominent liberal originalists writing today. Liberals on the court have undergone a similar shift. In his Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission dissent, Stevens wrote a lengthy ...

How do you like your liberalism: fat or thin?

Glen Newey: John Gray, 7 June 2001

Two Faces of Liberalism 
by John Gray.
Polity, 161 pp., £12.99, August 2000, 0 7456 2259 3
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... has claimed a number of prominent victims, including John Rawls, Thomas Nagel, Dworkin, Bruce Ackerman, Brian Barry and even Jürgen Habermas.Surprisingly, Gray pays little attention to it, mentioning the idea only as a historical aberration. It poses problems for him, however, since it cuts across his two-face taxonomy. Neutrality matches part ...

Lords loses out

R.W. Johnson: Basil D’Oliveira and racism in sport, 16 December 2004

Basil D’Oliveira: Cricket and Conspiracy: The Untold Story 
by Peter Oborne.
Little, Brown, 274 pp., £16.99, June 2004, 0 316 72572 2
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Reflections on a Life in Sport 
by Sam Ramsamy and Edward Griffiths.
Greenhouse, 168 pp., £7.99, July 2004, 0 620 32251 9
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... generation I saw rising around me. Playing against Hilton College, I came up against Hylton Ackerman and Mike Procter – the latter opening both the batting and bowling at the age of 13 – while at Durban High School the opening pair of Lee Irvine and Barry Richards had century or double-century partnerships every week; it was impossible to bowl to ...

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