Constructing civil liberties: discontinuities in the by Ken I. Kersch

By Ken I. Kersch

This account of the improvement of the excellent Court's smooth civil liberties and rights jurisprudence argues that the courts' intended "new quandary" for "personal freedoms" (after the recent Deal) really constructed because the outgrowth of a series of hugely specific progressive-reformist ideological currents that shaped the fashionable American country. The book's theoretically-informed account of key paths of constitutional improvement hence weaves American political suggestion, American political improvement, and constitutional legislations jointly.

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But then, at the urging of progressive and civil libertarian legal and political activists who cared about those rights, these protections were finally nursed to fulfillment, achieving their apotheosis during the Supreme Court’s liberal Warren years (1953–69). Since then, the belatedly realized criminal process guarantees of the Bill of Rights are held to have either been institutionalized as a quasi-permanent part of the contemporary constitutional order, holding their place amidst either public indifference or even hostility; or, alternatively, they are held to be in genuine peril from the persistent predations of a political right that seeks to “turn back the clock” on those hard-won constitutional rights.

Supreme Court, dealing a potentially crippling blow to the entire progressive statebuilding project. The successful building of the New American State required that the Boyd ruling, and the broad constitutional protections for privacy rights it seemed to reinforce, be overcome. This was essential, as the possibility that a progressive constitutional triumph 4 5 6 7 Scott, Seeing Like a State, 24. My main interest in Scott’s work here is in his definition and description of state projects of legibility.

In this chapter, however, I situate these late, idiosyncratic constitutional developments in the broader stream of statebuilding and political development involving the schools and education. In a trajectory that until recently had been almost completely erased from narratives of constitutional development, there have been efforts from the country’s very beginnings to build a national, centrally administered system of education with the aim of constructing truly “national” citizens. These efforts were frequently (though not exclusively) taken up in a reformist, progressive spirit.

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