Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jack Balkin — Dysfunctional Constitution or Regime Change?

If we are in a period of political transition, it is no wonder that things seem difficult. And that may be why, at this particular period of time, people are casting about for solutions to dysfunction, and calling for constitutional amendments. But within five years or so, all that will change, and it will change without the need for new constitutional amendments, much less a new constitutional convention. To be sure, I do not oppose the idea of new constitutional amendments; I simply think that the current dissatisfaction and urge for profound change is symptomatic of something else.
The most interesting conclusion that I took from the conference, then, is that the diagnosis of dysfunction may be a misdiagnosis. Our constitutional system may not be unworkable. America may not be ungovernable. Rather, we are in the middle of a transition from an older, exhausted political regime to a new one. That transition may be difficult, but it will also be temporary.
Dysfunctional Constitution or Regime Change?
Jack Balkin | Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School. Professor Balkin received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Cambridge University, and his A.B. and J.D. degrees from Harvard University.

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