Responding to Imperfection

The Theory and Practice of Constitutional Amendment


An increasing number of constitutional theorists, within both the legal academy and university departments of government, are focusing on the conceptual and political problems attached to the notion of constitutional amendment. Amendments are, among other things, recognitions of the imperfection of existing schemes of government. The relative ease or difficulty of amendment has significant implications for the ways that governments respond to problems that call either for new structures of governance or new powers for already established structures. This book brings together essays by leading legal authorities and political scientists on a range of questions from whether the U.S. Constitution is subject to amendment by procedures other than those authorized by Article V to how significant change is conceptualized within classical rabbinic Judaism. Though the essays are concerned for the most part with the American experience, other constitutional traditions are considered as well.

The contributors include Bruce Ackerman, Akhil Reed Amar, Mark E. Brandon, David R. Dow, Stephen M. Griffin, Stephen Holmes and Cass R. Sunstein, Sanford Levinson, Donald Lutz, Walter Murphy, Frederick Schauer, John R. Vile, and Noam J. Zohar.

  • Princeton University Press; January 1995
  • ISBN: 9781400821631
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
  • Title: Responding to Imperfection
  • Author: Sanford Levinson (ed.)
  • Imprint: Princeton University Press

In The Press

"Original and rigorous, this book is an important contribution to the fields of constitutional theory and jurisprudence, judicial politics, legal history, national and state constitutional law, and comparative law. Levinson has done a masterful job."—Ronald Kahn, Oberlin College

About The Author

Sanford Levinson holds the St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr., Regents Chair in Law, University of Texas at Austin, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government there. He is also the author of Constitutional Faith (Princeton).