“Watson is dead on in his analysis of the Living Constitution.”—Matthew Spalding, Hillsdale College
“Watson does an impressive job of analyzing how, exactly, . . . [the judiciary transformed] into an activist legislator of social change.”—National Review
A “living” Constitution. Runaway courts. Legislating from the bench.
These phrases come up a lot in the national political debate. They raise the ire of many Americans.
But where did the ideas come from? Why do courts play a role so alien to the one the American Founders outlined? And how did unelected judges gain so much power in our democratic republic?
Political scientist and legal philosopher Bradley C. S. Watson provides the answers in this important book.
To understand why courts today rule the way they do, Watson shows, you must go back more than a century. You’ll find the philosophical and historical roots of judicial activism in the late nineteenth century. Watson traces a line from social Darwinism and pragmatism, through the rise of Progressivism, to our situation today.
Living Constitution, Dying Faith reveals a radical transformation of American political thought.
This paperback edition features a new introduction examining the latest developments—which only highlight the prescience of Watson’s arguments.
About the Author
Bradley C. S. Watson is the Philip M. McKenna Chair in American and Western Political Thought at Saint Vincent College. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Progressivism: The Strange History of a Radical Idea and Progressive Challenges to the American Constitution: A New Republic. A former civil litigation attorney, Watson writes and speaks frequently on Progressive jurisprudence.