Fidelity to Our Imperfect Constitution
For Moral Readings and Against Originalisms
James E. Fleming
Reviews and Awards
"Building on the work of Ronald Dworkin and other scholars, Fleming (Boston Univ. School of Law) challenges the intellectual honesty and practical vitality of originalism. More importantly, though, Fleming develops a positive case for living constitutionalism as a theory that reflects the Constitutions aspirational spirit." - S. B. Lichtman, Shippensburg University, Choice: US Politics
"James Fleming exhorts us to recognize both the good and the bad in our nation's history, to honor the Constitution's aspirational commitments, and to realize our country's potential for a more perfect union. This remarkable book is a powerful statement of Fleming's moral reading of the Constitution and an excellent guide to contemporary constitutional theory." Jack M. Balkin Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Yale University Law School"
"Fidelity to Our Imperfect Constitution surveys the landscape of contemporary American constitutional theory with critical imagination and insight. In addition to mounting forceful attacks on the 'originalist' and 'living constitutionalist' approaches that have recently dominated the field, James Fleming emerges in this book as the ablest current defender of a 'moral reading' approach (long championed by Ronald Dworkin) that calls upon judges to make candid moral judgments in interpreting the Constitution that we have, not fashioning a new one." Richard Fallon Ralph S. Tyler, Jr. Professor of Constitutional Law Harvard University Law School "
"In Fidelity to Our Imperfect Constitution, James Fleming argues persuasively against all forms of originalism: 'old time originalism,' which ties constitutional meaning to the specific and concrete applications envisioned by framers or ratifiers, 'new originalism,' which allows for the Courts to 'construct' a constitutional law as well as determine constitutional meaning, and 'living originalism' which looks for originalist meanings that are sufficiently abstract so as to accommodate contemporary decisions that are at odds with, or simply beyond the purview of the Constitution's framers. He presents in their stead a vigorous defense of a moral and philosophical approach to Constitutional meaning. The book is a welcome elucidation of neo-Dworkinian constitutional analysis, from a generous and thoughtful critic of our seeming rush to the false comfort of the authority of the Constitution's framers." Robin West Frederick Haas Professor of Law Georgetown University Law Center "