Given that we are close friends and the co-authors of some twenty articles and a book, Democracy and Dysfunction, it is not surprising that I think very highly of and agree with much of Jack Balkin’s new book, The Cycles of Constitutional Time. I read it in two sittings; it is a real pageturner, written with brio as Jack presents a remarkably comprehensive overview of what he discerns as various cycles in American politics (importantly including the Supreme Court and the development of constitutional doctrine) from the beginning of the new national government in 1789 to the present. It is a book to be savored and studied, particularly with regard to the interplay of his three analytically separable cycles, dealing, respectively, with the developments of the party system that structures so much of our politics; polarization; and the role played by the federal judiciary – or, more particularly, the Supreme Court – in trying to adjudicate or control some of the implications of the first two. It is also, inevitably, a book to argue with.

Included in

Law Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.