In The Public Square

"The Limits of Constitutional Democracy" now published

Edited by Jeffrey K. Tulis & Stephen Macedo

Click for more infoPrinceton University Press has just released the result of a conference and  multi-year study co-sponsored by LAPA (together with UCHV, James Madison Program, and Bobst Center).  Sixteen constitutional scholars probe the meaning of constitutional failure and the prospects for constitutional democracy in situations of emergencies, war, religious resurgence, and globalization. 

Constitutional democracy is at once a flourishing idea filled with optimism and promise—and an enterprise fraught with limitations.  Uncovering the reasons for this ambivalence, this book looks at the difficulties of constitutional democracy, and reexamines fundamental questions: What is constitutional democracy?  When does it succeed or fail? Can constitutional democracies conduct war?  Can they preserve their values and institutions while addressing new forms of global interdependence?  The authors gathered here interrogate constitutional democracy’s meaning in order to illuminate its future.

The book examines key themes—the issues of constitutional failure; the problem of emergency power and whether constitutions should be suspended when emergencies arise; the dilemmas faced when constitutions provide and restrict executive power during wartime; and whether constitutions can adapt to such globalization challenges as immigration, religious resurgence, and nuclear arms proliferation.

In addition to the editors, the contributors are Sotirios Barber, Joseph Bessette, Mark Brandon, Daniel Deudney, Christopher Eisgruber, James Fleming, William Harris II, Ran Hirschl, Gary Jacobsohn, Benjamin Kleinerman, Jan-Werner Müller, Kim Scheppele, Rogers Smith, Adrian Vermeule, and Mariah Zeisberg.

Jeffrey K. Tulis teaches political science at the University of Texas, Austin. His books include The Rhetorical Presidency (Princeton).  Stephen Macedo is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics at Princeton University.  His books include Democracy at Risk.