Constitutional Theory: A Means to an End?

Jack Goldsmith recently reviewed John Yoo’s new book on presidential power. Goldsmith, you might recall, was named under George W. Bush to head the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, where he ended up repudiating Yoo’s torture memos.

Goldsmith spends a lot of time discussing the history of a strong executive, and how liberals used to like it and conservatives hated it, and how that has changed since Reagan. He also discusses at length the Federalist Papers, as all such articles do.

But let me boil it all down for you, because here is the money quote:

“…constitutional theory is usually grounded in a theory of preferred outcomes.”

So take that, not just John You, but John Roberts, and Tony Scalia, and every other snotty jurist who thinks he or she has a monopoly on understanding the constitution.

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One response to “Constitutional Theory: A Means to an End?

  1. zeusiswatching

    Well, we certainly saw a strong executive interpretation of the Constitution during the Progressive Era, especially with T.R. More so than with Abraham Lincoln, we see a clearly, articulately argued and practiced strong Chief Executive theory in action.

    Teddy left behind a wealth of correspondence, and a very well written autobiography and much of what he has written is still in print or was so recently that it can be acquired second hand very easily. The Theodore Roosevelt Association is also a useful resource that I like to recommend.

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