Social Movements Everywhere

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Just five years ago—in the pages of this law review—Reva Siegel wrote an essay characterizing her focus on social movements as part of a “small but rapidly growing body of constitutional theory written in law schools that examines the life of the Constitution outside the courts.” Today such a statement would be only half correct: the body of literature about the public’s role in constitutional interpretation may still be growing, but it is hardly small. The frame and focus of constitutional theory have changed in the past five years, in part because of the work of Balkin and Siegel themselves, along with other prominent constitutional law scholars. These scholars, and newer entrants to the field, have collectively described, and often normatively advanced, a theory of constitutional change that rests in large part with “the People themselves.” A study of the role of the elected institutions in government and the broader public in creating and shaping constitutional change is a central feature of much new scholarship.

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