Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Toward a much-needed new Constitution

Sandy Levinson

 For the past year--but particularly since Thanksgiving--I have been working, at the instigation of Michael Tomasky, the editor of Democracy Journal (and the new editor as well of The New Republic), with an extraordinary group of people who were charged to be audacious in imagining what kind of constitution the United States needed in the 21st century.  Our collective deliberations--and text--are now available at Any regular readers of Balkinization will recognize a number of the names of the delegates.  Steve Griffin, for example, was the indispensable and indefatigable Chair of our own Committee of Detail that took charge of putting our debates into the form of the document now before you.  

For obvious reasons, known to any of you who are actually familiar with my work, I hope this project gets wide attention because more than ever I view the Constitution as a clear and present danger to our national (and perhaps even the world's) survival.  Not everyone even within what I called the Tomasky project agrees, especially another well known Balkiinization name, Mark Graber, who publishes his dissent to our project for radical constitutional reform.  And in my own lengthy article of introduction, I conclude by acknowledging the debate between between Jack Balkin and myself over the respective weight of "constitutional rot" and "constitutional design."  It is not that I disagree with Jack about our actual condition of constitutional rot.  All one has to do is to read the daily newspapers to realize how truly terrible our constitutional culture is.  But I continue to believe that our 1787 design, remarkably unchanged in too many respects since then, make their own contribution.  One should not be forced to choose between them.  

I suspect that Jack would be open to offering guest appearances to those who wish to offer extended responses, pro or con, to the overall project or to some of the particular ideas.  

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