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Constitutional Self Government. By Christopher L. Eisgruber. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001. 260p. $45.00.

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 January 2003

Mark Tunick
Affiliation:
Florida Atlantic University

Extract

Christopher Eisgruber takes a pragmatic approach to judicial review. Most judges and scholars would decide whether a branch of government acts legitimately by asking whether its actions were authorized or prohibited by some provision in the Constitution. The common assumption is that during the constitutional convention, states agreed to give up some of their powers in order to establish a new federal government with enumerated powers, at the same time explicitly setting limits both to the federal government and to states. By turning to the terms of this agreement, Supreme Court Justices seek to answer whether Congress, the president, or the state or local government in question acted within its rights. Eisgruber regards such assumptions about state sovereignty as “mystical” (p. 186). Instead, he would have us question, in deciding whether, say, Congress should be permitted to regulate the possession of guns in school zones, that this is the sort of thing a national government can “do well” (p. 186). Whether it was the intention of those who wrote or ratified the Constitution to give Congress this power is, to Eisgruber, more or less irrelevant.

Type
Book Review
Copyright
© 2002 by the American Political Science Association

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Constitutional Self Government. By Christopher L. Eisgruber. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001. 260p. $45.00.
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Constitutional Self Government. By Christopher L. Eisgruber. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001. 260p. $45.00.
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Constitutional Self Government. By Christopher L. Eisgruber. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001. 260p. $45.00.
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