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Restoring the Lost ConstitutionThe Presumption of Liberty$
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Randy E. Barnett

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159737

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159737.001.0001

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Why Care What the Constitution Says?

Why Care What the Constitution Says?

(p.1) Introduction Why Care What the Constitution Says?
Restoring the Lost Constitution

Randy E. Barnett

Princeton University Press

This book examines whether the U.S. Constitution—either as written or as actually applied—is legitimate. It argues that the most commonly held view of constitutional legitimacy—the “consent of the governed”—is wrong because it is a standard that no constitution can meet. It shows why holding the Constitution to this unattainable ideal both undermines its legitimacy and allows others to substitute their own meaning for that of the text. The book considers the notion of “natural rights” as “liberty rights,” along with the nature and scope of the so-called police power of states. Furthermore, it analyzes the original meaning of key provisions of the text that have been either distorted or excised entirely from the judges' Constitution and ignored: the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause in the original Constitution, the Ninth Amendment, and the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Keywords:   constitutional legitimacy, consent of the governed, U.S. Constitution, natural rights, liberty rights, police power, Commerce Clause, Necessary and Proper Clause, Ninth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment

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