“Our Undemocratic Constitution” – Bill Moyers Interview of Sanford Levinson [Video]

Posted on November 16, 2010 by



Sanford Levinson is a heretic in some people’s eyes — he has the temerity to suggest that not only is the Constitution not written in stone but that it’s actually in some ways quite undemocratic.

Among its flaws; a veto power that allows presidents to stop legislation 95% of the time; a contradiction of the “one person, one vote” principle in the Senate which gives Wyoming, with one-seventieth of the population of California, the same political power; and an escape clause in impeachment that doesn’t allow for removal of the chief executive for lack of the nation’s confidence, only for “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Levinson isn’t for tossing out the revered document wholesale — but he does want to see another Constitutional Convention — one more suited to the 21st century.

Levinson says:

We ought to think about it almost literally every day, and then ask, ‘Well, to what extent is government organized to realize the noble visions of the preamble?’ That the preamble begins, ‘We the people.’ It’s a notion of a people that can engage in self-determination.

Find out more below, and join the discussion on the Constitution’s past and future on the blog.

About Sanford Levinson

Sanford Levinson is Professor of Government at the University of Texas and W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School. Levinson is best known for his scholarly work regarding the American Constitution, diversity, and torture. Levinson is the author of four books, most recently, OUR UNDEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTION: WHERE THE CONSTITUTION GOES WRONG (AND HOW WE THE PEOPLE CAN CORRECT IT), and over 250 articles and book reviews, as well as co-author of numerous other works. He blogs regularly both at Balkinization and his own site devoted to Our Undemocratic Constitution.

Before joining the University of Texas in 1980, Sanford Levinson was a member of the Department of Politics at Princeton University. He has also taught law at Georgetown, Yale, Harvard, New York University, Boston University, the University of Paris II, Central European University in Budapest, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 2001, Levinson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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