The Executive Branch and the Origins of Judicial Independence

by Kevin Arlyck

Most accounts of the federal judiciary’s rise to independence tell a story in which the courts consolidated their authority—especially the power of judicial review—by tacitly agreeing to withdraw from partisan politics. But as this article shows, the most insistent assertions of judicial inviolability came not from courts, but instead from the executive branch officials.

Strategic Ambiguity and Article VII: Why the Framers Decided Not to Decide

by Roderick M. Hills, Jr.

By reducing the power of the Federalist agenda-setters to force through specific constitutional language with a reversion threat, the presumption of ambiguity respects contemporary norms of fair dealing, thereby advancing the goal of popular sovereignty with which Federalists defended the Constitution’s legitimacy.

Franklin’s Talmud: Hebraic Republicanism in the Constitutional Convention and the Debate Over Ratification, 1787-1788

by Daniel D. Slate

Hebraic republicanism found in rabbinic Judaism a set of sources and ideas that made it possible to argue that constitutional republics, with powers limited by the rule of law, were the only legitimate form of government. It had a profound influence on the founding, in particular in the formulation of the republican government Guarantee Clause of Article IV, Section 4.

A MARvel of Constitutional Demythologizing

by Jack N. Rakove

At a time when the entire constitutional system is under extraordinary stress, Akhil Amar’s contribution to the collection Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Legends and Lies about Our Past misses the opportunity to address topics that deal with our contemporary woes—as the other contributors to this volume do.