UPDATE: Fri. May 1, 2009, 10:23 a.m. (EST)
You can now download Keeping Faith with the Constitution at www.ACSLaw.org/KeepingFaith.
Keeping Faith with the Constitution presents a common-sense approach to interpreting the U.S. Constitution and explains why it is the world's most enduring written Constitution. Authored by legal scholars Goodwin Liu, Pamela S. Karlan and Christopher H. Schroeder, the book shows how the Framers inscribed the fundamental values of liberty, equality and democracy into the Constitution and offers an approach to interpreting the Constitution that, as its Framers envisioned, applies the Constitution's text and broad principles to the changing needs and conditions of our society.
The authors call their approach "constitutional fidelity," and argue that being faithful to the Constitution requires judges to ask not how the Constitution's general principles would have been applied in 1789 or 1868, but rather how those principles should be applied today. As the authors explain, this approach is true to the vision of the Framers, who deliberately left the words and broad principles in the document open to future interpretation and adaptation.
The book notes the shortcomings of originalism and so-called "strict construction." The authors argue, for example, that if originalism means resolving constitutional disputes according to how those who wrote the text would have resolve them at the time, it would not be faithful to the Framers' own vision. The Framers, they explain, were not so parochial as to bind future generations to their own specific understandings of broad principles. The genius of their accomplishment is that they correctly anticipated that a constitution written in general terms, open to interpretation and adaptation by succeeding generations, would endure and retain its legitimacy even as the nation experienced profound social, economic and political transformations.