Does Akhil Amar's The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction ("The Bill of Rights") say anything about what the law should be today? The answer is not clear. The book is a study of the original meaning of the Bill of Rights and the transformation of that meaning by the Fourteenth Amendment. Its project is archaeological rather than prescriptive. It focuses on what the Constitution meant in 1791 and in 1866, not what it means now. Amar acknowledges that he has "merely set the scene" for an investigation into what impact twentieth-century (textual and other) developments have had on Constitutional Law. Steven Calabresi has thus concluded that The Bill of Rights "has few obvious immediate doctrinal implications."
Akhil Amar and the Establishment Clause,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
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