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51 Imperfect Solutions

Nonfiction: Politics & Current Events
Unabridged   9.25 hour(s)
Publication date: 08/28/2018

51 Imperfect Solutions

States and the Making of American Constitutional Law

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781684415885
Digital Download ISBN:9781684415892


If there is a central conviction of this book, it's that an underappreciation of state constitutional law has hurt state and federal law and has undermined the appropriate balance between state and federal courts in protecting individual liberty. In trying to correct this imbalance, the book also offers several ideas for reform.

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Product Description

When we think of constitutional law, we invariably think of the United States Supreme Court and the federal court system. Yet much of our constitutional law is not made at the federal level. In 51 Imperfect Solutions, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton argues that American Constitutional Law should account for the role of the state courts and state constitutions, together with the federal courts and the federal constitution, in protecting individual liberties.

The book tells four stories that arise in four different areas of constitutional law: equal protection; criminal procedure; privacy; and free speech and free exercise of religion. Traditional accounts of these bedrock debates about the relationship of the individual to the state focus on decisions of the United States Supreme Court. But these explanations tell just part of the story. The book corrects this omission by looking at each issue—and some others as well—through the lens of many constitutions, not one constitution; of many courts, not one court; and of all American judges, not federal or state judges. Taken together, the stories reveal a remarkably complex, nuanced, ever-changing federalist system.


"Aimed at academics and attorneys but written in a clear, straightforward style accessible to general audiences." —Library Journal

"Judge Sutton, a leading federal judge who's spent his career championing federalism, is the perfect bearer of this important message: Not all constitutional law comes from the federal Constitution-we must remember state constitutions. This book should change the way constitutional law is taught and litigated." —William Baude, University of Chicago Law School

Author Bio

The Honorable Jeffrey S. Sutton serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Judge Sutton was a partner with the law firm of Jones Day. He also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Lewis F. Powell, Jr. (Ret.), the Honorable Antonin Scalia, and the Honorable Thomas J. Meskill.