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Public Values in Constitutional Law

Stephen E. Gottlieb, Editor
Critical examination of the concept of compelling government interests


The United States Supreme Court contends that it must weigh constitutional claims against critical government interests - considerations of public policy so compelling that constitutional rights may be sacrificed to them. Although these interests have been an explicit part of constitutional law since 1961, there has been little discussion of the nature, weight, and application of such claims. Increasingly, these interests are merely tolerated out of necessity in apparent derogation of the Constitution.

This timely volume provides a critical examination of the concept and substance of compelling interests, probing the significance and implications of their unwritten and discretionary character, ultimately illuminating the scope of values developed as compelling interests.
Public Values in Constitutional Law has no parallels, predecessors, or close cousins and so will fill an important niche in the study of constitutional law, proving indispensable to jurists, scholars, and attorneys concerned with the litigation and development of constitutional law.

Praise / Awards

  • ". . . a truly fascinating work on the important legal issue of public rights that are compelling enough to override constitutional rights, particularly First Amendment rights which have for the past half century enjoyed a 'preferred' position in American constitutional law."
  • ". . . there are three potential audiences for scholarship in a field such as constitutional law: judges, lawyers, and other scholars. Much of the scholarship of the 1980s seemed directly solely at the last group. . . [There] also needs to be scholarship to guide judges and inform lawyers. The Gottlieb book is an example of scholarship that would be beneficial to multiple authors."
    Hastings Law Journal
  • ". . . a wonderful collection of essays for any serious student of constitutional law. It is about where constitutional law is in the 1990s in such areas as federalism, the First Amendment, the Takings Clause, and criminal procedure. It is also about what the Court should do in the future, such as in recognizing a right to minimum government services. At the same time, it is more generally about how the Court should do its work, especially in its focus on what constitutes a compelling interest and how balancing should be done. By any measure, it is an excellent anthology."
    Hastings Law Journal
  • "The Gottlieb book makes an important contribution to the scholarly literature of constitutional law. The essays also reflect the likely direction of constitutional scholarship in the 1990s. . . . During the 1980s, there seemed to be a trend to increasing abstraction in constitutional scholarship and a movement away from doctrinal scholarship. . . . The essays in the Gottlieb book hopefully reflect a reemergence of doctrinal scholarship in constitutional law."
    Hastings Law Journal

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 296pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 1994
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10434-5

Add to Cart
  • $89.95 U.S.