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Judgment Calls by Daniel Farber and Suzanna Sherry

July 20, 2009
Although it claims to reject interpretive schools on both the left and the right in favor of a “middle ground,” Judgment Calls is another eff ort to propose a way to interpret the Constitution without relying on the publiclyunderstood meaning of the document’s express provisions at the time they became law. The authors, Daniel A. Farber of the University of California-Berkley and Suzanna Sherry of Vanderbilt University, assert that they seek a way between strict constructionist theories, in which judges are wholly constrained by objective criteria, and a cynical legal realism, in which judges act as quasi-legislators reading the founding document in the way that satisfies their political preferences. Although Judgment Calls offers some interesting discussion, the book ultimately fails to deliver the promised middle way...