Richard J. Ross


Larry Kramer's depiction of pre-Revolutionary constitutionalism rests on two dichotomies that are valuable yet exclude middle positions. First, he distinguishes between fundamental law and ordinary law. Second, he argues that pre-Revolutionary judges could play one of two roles—since they were not supreme constitutional interpreters (the first of these roles), they must have possessed no special authority to determine constitutional meanings (the second, and remaining, possibility). Both of these dichotomies obscure middle positions that capture important aspects of the pre-Revolutionary constitutional tradition. My comments briefly identify these middle positions and suggest what is at stake in recovering them.

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