- The next podcast is with Greg Weiner on his new book, Madison’s Metronome: The Constitution, Majority Rule, and the Tempo of American Politics. Weiner’s book, which won the Jack Miller Center Chairman’s Award for Best Dissertation (link no longer available), argues that Madison’s understanding of popular sovereignty, federalism, and separation of powers provides the bulwark of protection for a free and vibrant political and social order. Madison, Weiner observes, considered that the constitutional architecture provided by these concepts best facilitated the necessity of majority rule and also served as the best guardian of minority rights.
- Gerald Russello reviews William Watkins’ book Judicial Monarchs: Court Power and the Case for Restoring Popular Sovereignty in the United States. Here is a snippet:
On [Watkins’] view, all three branches of the federal government are coordinate. . . . The Supreme Court, for example, can say what the law “is,” but it does not have the final say, especially when it is asked to opine on questions far removed from the constitutional text. The three federal branches share the powers delegated to them in the Constitution. For Watkins, “judicial independence, to the founding generation, never meant independence from the people. State and federal judges are not high priests of the constitutional order. Just like governors, senators, and representatives, judges are mere agents of the people. When judges begin to make public policy decisions, they rebel against their masters and usurp power.”
- Finally, Daniel Dreisbach’s review of John M. Barry’s Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty reveals Roger Williams as a Puritan in full as opposed to the hyper-individualist of historical myth-making.