You are now entering the Jewish Currents archive.

June 17: A Critic of the Constitution

June 17, 2014
f829c8_b86e474fb2fff3b0421bc8b225c4026b.png_srz_1219_739_85_22_0.50_1.20_0Sanford Levinson, a progressive critic of the U.S. Constitution and a supporter of the idea of a Second Constitutional Convention, was born on this date in 1941. A professor at the University of Texas Law School, Levinson is widely quoted for opposing the expanding powers of the U.S. Presidency (which he has described as “constitutional dictatorship”), lifetime tenure for Supreme Court justices, the lack of proportionate federal representation for large-population states, and the difficulties imposed by the Constitution on amending it. “Instead of being fixated on what the Constitution means,” he writes, “one instead asks whether the Constitution, given a stipulated meaning that may in fact not be at all difficult to discern, is in fact wise.” Levinson’s four books (he has co-edited numerous others) include Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (and How We the People Can Correct It), 2006, and Framed: America’s 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance, 2012. To see him speaking briefly about “exporting democracy,” look below. “It is time for Americans to talk about what a sensible political system for the 21st century might look like and consider the possibility that it would be far different from the one designed by the country’s founders in 1787.” —Sanford Levinson