The Constitution of Risk

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Cambridge University Press, 2014 - Law - 200 pages
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The Constitution of Risk is the first book to combine constitutional theory with the theory of risk regulation. The book argues that constitutional rulemaking is best understood as a means of managing political risks. Constitutional law structures and regulates the risks that arise in and from political life, such as an executive coup or military putsch, political abuse of ideological or ethnic minorities, or corrupt self-dealing by officials. The book claims that the best way to manage political risks is an approach it calls "optimizing constitutionalism" - in contrast to the worst-case thinking that underpins "precautionary constitutionalism," a mainstay of liberal constitutional theory. Drawing on a broad range of disciplines such as decision theory, game theory, welfare economics, political science, and psychology, this book advocates constitutional rulemaking undertaken in a spirit of welfare maximization, and offers a corrective to the pervasive and frequently irrational attitude of distrust of official power that is so prominent in American constitutional history and discourse.

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Introduction page
Precautionary Constitutionalism
The Mature Position
The Framers SelfDefeating Precautions
On Judging in Ones Own Cause
Second Opinions
Political Administration and Expert

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About the author (2014)

Adrian Vermeule is John H. Watson Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is the author or co-author of seven previous books, most recently The System of the Constitution (2011). He was formerly Bernard D. Meltzer Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012.

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