The late justice Antonin Scalia boasted that his United States Constitution was definitively “dead.” But in a mixed-up political season, what if our founding document wants a new lease on life? And what if we brought it, as a flawed and fungible 200-year-old wonder, back into the conventional conversation again?
Scalia’s “originalist” literalism about a 225-year-old document made him a conservative force on the court — a kind of bad cop for a Constitution that is still cherished by its nation. But our guest, the law professor Sanford Levinson wants us to ask, in a chaotic political season, how is it that we still love the Constitution so much when we’ve long hated the government it produces? He’d argue that the time has come for a second Constitutional Convention, with a very full laundry list of structural changes:
With that in mind, we’ve convened a panel of our favorite lawyers: Lawrence Lessig, a former Scalia clerk and an advocate-turned-candidate against money in politics; Jedediah Purdy, of Duke, a philosopher of modernity and democracy along with a professor of law; and Katharine Young of Boston College, in the business of comparing the world’s constitutions with an eye toward improving them.