On Ackerman's Justification of Irregular Constitutional Change: Is Any Vice You Get Away With a Virtue?
- Robert Higgs
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In We the People: 2. Transformations, Bruce Ackerman makes a case for irregular change of the U.S. Constitution, as opposed to the amendment procedure stipulated in Article V. He argues that such irregular--even revolutionary--change has occurred in the past, most notably after the war of secession and during the New Deal era, and he proffers those episodes as suitable models for future constitutional change. In making his argument for moving “beyond formalism,” Ackerman misconstrues the meaning of ordinary electoral victories, employs misleading rhetorical flourishes, places unwarranted weight on the Supreme Court's “validation” of irregular constitutional change, and overlooks the capacity of electoral winners to rig subsequent elections.
- Ackerman, B. (1998) We the People 2: Transformations. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
- DiLorenzo, T. J. (1998) "The Great Centralizer: Abraham Lincoln and theWar between the States." Independent Review 3: 243–71.
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- Hummel, J. R. (1996) Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War. Chicago: Open Court.
- On Ackerman's Justification of Irregular Constitutional Change: Is Any Vice You Get Away With a Virtue?
Constitutional Political Economy
Volume 10, Issue 4 , pp 375-383
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers
- Additional Links
- Robert Higgs (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Seattle University, Independent Institute, 714 Laurel, Edmonds, WA, 98020, USA