This book, based on the Tanner lectures on Human Values that Justice Stephen Breyer
delivered at Harvard University in November 2004, argues that the genius of the Constitution rests not in any static meaning it might have had in a world that is dead and gone, but in the adaptability of its great principles to cope with current problems.
A brilliant new approach to the Constitution and courts of the United States by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer
.For Justice Breyer, the Constitution's primary role is to preserve and encourage what he calls “active liberty”: citizen participation in shaping government and its laws. As this book argues, promoting active liberty requires judicial modesty and deference to Congress; it also means recognizing the changing needs and demands of the populace. Indeed, the Constitution's lasting brilliance is that its principles may be adapted to cope with unanticipated situations, and Breyer makes a powerful case against treating it as a static guide intended for a world that is dead and gone. Using contemporary examples from federalism to privacy to affirmative action, this is a vital contribution to the ongoing debate over the role and power of our courts.
is Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.