Religious Freedom and the Constitution
by Christopher L. Eisgruber and Lawrence G. Sager
Harvard University Press
Publication Date February 2007
Religion has become a charged token in a politics of division. In disputes about faith-based social services, public money for religious schools, the Pledge of Allegiance, Ten Commandments monuments, the theory of evolution, and many other topics, angry contestation threatens to displace America's historic commitment to religious freedom. Part of the problem, the authors argue, is that constitutional analysis of religious freedom has been hobbled by the idea of "a wall of separation" between church and state. In response, the authors offer an understanding of religious freedom called Equal Liberty. Equal Liberty is guided by two principles. First, no one within the reach of the Constitution ought to be devalued on account of the spiritual foundation of their commitments. Second, all persons should enjoy broad rights of free speech, personal autonomy, associative freedom, and private property. Together, these principles are generous and fair to a wide range of religious beliefs and practices.
The Roman Predicament: How the Rules of International Order
Create the Politics of Empire
by Harold James
Princeton University Press
Publication Date 13 March 2006
Modern America owes the Roman Empire for more than gladiator movies and the architecture of the nation's Capitol. It can also thank the ancient republic for some helpful lessons in globalization. So argues economic historian Harold James in this masterful work of intellectual history. The book addresses what James terms "the Roman dilemma"--the paradoxical notion that while global society depends on a system of rules for building peace and prosperity, this system inevitably leads to domestic clashes, international rivalry, and even wars. As it did in ancient Rome, James argues, a rule-based world order eventually subverts and destroys itself, creating the need for imperial action. The result is a continuous fluctuation between pacification and the breakdown of domestic order. James summons this argument, first put forth more than two centuries ago in Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, to put current events into perspective. The world now finds itself staggering between a set of internationally negotiated trading rules and exchangerate regimes, and the enforcement practiced by a sometimes-imperial America. These two forcesliberal international order and empirewill one day feed on each other to create a shakeup in global relations, James predicts. To reinforce his point, he invokes the familiar bon mot once applied to the British Empire: "When Britain could not rule the waves, it waived the rules." Despite the pessimistic prognostications of Smith and Gibbon, who saw no way out of this dilemma, James ends his book on a less depressing note. He includes a chapter on one possible way in which the world could resolve the Roman Predicamentby opting for a global system based on values as opposed to rules.
Law as Culture:
by Lawrence Rosen
Princeton University Press
Publication Date 3 July 2006
Law is integral to culture, and culture to law. Often considered a distinctive domain with strange rules and stranger language, law is actually part of a culture's way of expressing its sense of the order of things. In Law as Culture, Lawrence Rosen invites readers to consider how the facts that are adduced in a legal forum connect to the ways in which facts are constructed in other areas of everyday life, how the processes of legal decision-making partake of the logic by which the culture as a whole is put together, and how courts, mediators, or social pressures fashion a sense of the world as consistent with common sense and social identity. While the book explores issues comparatively, in each instance it relates them to contemporary Western experience. The development of the jury and Continental legal proceedings thus becomes a story of the development of Western ideas of the person and time; African mediation techniques become tests for the style and success of similar efforts in America and Europe; the assertion that one's culture should be considered as an excuse for a crime becomes a challenge to the relation of cultural norms and cultural diversity. Throughout the book, the reader is invited to approach law afresh, as a realm that is integral to every culture and as a window into the nature of culture itself.
The Idea That Is America:
The Founding Values That Make Our Nation Great
by Anne-Marie Slaughter
Publication Date 14 May 2007
When Army Captain Ian Fishback decided to blow the whistle on prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, he posed the central question facing America in the new century: Will we confront danger in order to preserve our ideals, or will courage and commitment to individual rights wither at the prospect of sacrifice?... I would rather die fighting than give up even the smallest part of the idea that is 'America.' But what is this idea? George W. Bush waged war in Iraq in the name of American values--liberty and democracy. His critics in the United States and around the world also use the language of values, and attack him for deceiving a nation to wage an unjust war. What are the values that America truly stands for? In The Idea That Is America, a preeminent foreign policy scholar eloquently reminds us of the essential principles on which our nation was established: liberty, democracy, equality, tolerance, faith, justice, and humility.
The True Force of Liberalism, The First Principles, Historic Strengths, Present Troubles, and Future Prospects of Liberalism
by Paul Starr
Publication Date 2 April 2007
Liberalism in America is in greater peril than at any other time in recent history. Conservatives treat it as an epithet, and even some liberals have confused it with sentimentality and socialism. But Paul Starr, one of America's leading intellectuals, claims that, properly understood, liberalism is a sturdy public philosophy, deeply rooted in our traditions, capable of making America a freer and more secure country. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness remains as good a definition of liberalism's aims today as it was when Thomas Jefferson borrowed the language of John Locke for the Declaration of Independence. From its origins as constitutional liberalism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to the complexities of today's global political systems liberalism has provided the basis of the most prosperous and powerful states in the world. At a time when conservative policies are weakening America's long-term fiscal, economic, and international strength as well as its liberties, reinstating the power of liberalism is more urgent than ever.
Foundations of Judicial Supremacy:
The Presidency, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in U.S.
by Keith Whittington
Princeton University Press
Publication Date March 2007
Should the Supreme Court have the last word when it comes to interpreting the Constitution? The justices on the Supreme Court certainly seem to think so and their critics say that this position threatens democracy. But Keith Whittington argues that the Court's justices have not simply seized power and circumvented politics. The justices have had power thrust upon themby politicians, for the benefit of politicians. In this sweeping political history of judicial supremacy in America, Whittington shows that presidents and political leaders of all stripes have worked to put the Court on a pedestal and have encouraged its justices to accept the role of ultimate interpreters of the Constitution. Whittington examines why presidents have often found judicial supremacy to be in their best interest, why they have rarely assumed responsibility for interpreting the Constitution, and why constitutional leadership has often been passed to the courts. The unprecedented assertiveness of the Rehnquist Court in striking down acts of Congress is only the most recent example of a development that began with the founding generation itself. Presidential bids for constitutional leadership have been rare, but reflect the temporary political advantage in doing so. Far more often, presidents have cooperated in increasing the Court's power and encouraging its activism. Challenging the conventional wisdom that judges have usurped democracy, Whittington shows that judicial supremacy is the product of democratic politics.
by Viviana A. Zelizer
Princeton University Press
Publication Date April 2007, Paperback Edition
In their personal lives, people consider it essential to separate economics and intimacy. We have, for example, a long-standing taboo against workplace romance, while we see marital love as different from prostitution because it is not a fundamentally financial exchange. In The Purchase of Intimacy, Viviana Zelizer mounts a provocative challenge to this view. Getting to the heart of one of life's greatest taboos, she shows how we all use economic activity to create, maintain, and renegotiate important tiesespecially intimate tiesto other people. In everyday life, we invest intense effort and worry to strike the right balance. For example, when a wife's income equals or surpasses her husband's, how much more time should the man devote to household chores or child care? Sometimes legal disputes arise. Should the surviving partner in a same-sex relationship have received compensation for a partner's death as a result of 9/11? Through a host of compelling examples, Zelizer shows us why price is central to three key areas of intimacy: sexually tinged relations; health care by family members, friends, and professionals; and household economics. She draws both on research and materials ranging from reports on compensation to survivors of 9/11 victims to financial management Web sites and advice books for same-sex couples. From the bedroom to the courtroom, The Purchase of Intimacy opens a fascinating new window on the inner workings of the economic processes that pervade our private lives.