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New York University Press
To Secure These Rights: The Declaration of Independence and Constitutional Interpretation

To Secure These Rights: The Declaration of Independence and Constitutional Interpretation

by Scott Douglas Gerber, Henry Julian Abraham
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To Secure These Rights enters the fascinating—and often contentious—debate over constitutional interpretation. Scott Douglas Gerber here argues that the Constitution of the United States should be interpreted in light of the natural rights political philosophy of the Declaration of Independence and that the Supreme Court is the institution of American government that should be primarily responsible for identifying and applying that philosophy in American life.
Importantly, the theory advanced in this book—what Gerber calls liberal originalism—is neither consistently liberal nor consistently conservative in the modern conception of those terms. Rather, the theory is liberal in the classic sense of viewing the basic purpose of government to be safeguarding the natural rights of individuals. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men. In essence, Gerber maintains that the Declaration articulates the philosophical ends of our nation and that the Constitution embodies the means to effectuate those ends. Gerber's analysis reveals that the Constitution cannot be properly understood without recourse to history, political philosophy, and law.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814730898
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 09/01/1996
Pages: 330
Sales rank: 790,681
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.74(d)

About the Author

Scott Douglas Gerber, Ph.D., J.D., is author of To Secure These Rights: The Declaration of Independence and Constitutional Interpretation and editor of Seriatim: The Supreme Court before John Marshall , both available from New York University Press. He teaches at Ohio Northern University College of Law.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A delight to read. . . . Gerber states the principles of a liberal originalism far more clearly and accessibly than any other work on constitutional interpretation. . . . a rare and welcome addition."

-American Political Science Review,

"Highly recommended. To be commended for seeking to find a firmer guide to constitutional meanings than the personal predilections of judges."

-Law and Politics Book Review,

"A distinctive contribution to the debate over the 'return to a jurisprudence of original intent.' Gerber's thesis is provocative and will not sit well with either liberal or conservative advocates of a 'jurisprudence of original intent' or their critics."

-David M. O'Brien,University of Virginia

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