Book Review, Constitution in Wartime: Beyond Alarmism and Complacency, Constellations 2006


The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 prompted swift responses from the political branches of American government to the perceived existential crisis, and at the same time

reinvigorated a longstanding debate among American jurists over what role, if any, the Constitution and courts should play in restraining and policing government actions during

times of war and emergency. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, defenders of Bush Administration actions such as the mandatory registration of immigrants from certain Asian countries and the establishment of a detention center at Guant´anamo Bay (whom the editor, Professor Mark Tushnet, dubs “executive unilateralists” or “shills”) were vigorously opposed by civil libertarians, often in near-hysterical terms that diminished their credibility (leading Tushnet to dub them “alarmists”). With this anthology of articles by legal scholars and political scientists, Tushnet looks to move beyond this debate into a “second generation” discussion that takes a fresh look at the interaction of American institutions in times of war and emergency and

the effects of this interaction on the country’s broader constitutional culture.

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