Document Type



The Constitution -- Apropos of Crosskey, 21 University of Chicago Law Review 79 (1953)


IT IS UNFAIR to say that William Crosskey's volumes on the Constitution are timely-and not add more. They are timely, in view of the crisis of 1953, but they are also, so far as any political system can be enduring, timeless. The larger meaning which they carry is as pertinent today as to the crisis of 1937-when part of the instant book was presented as a paper on "The Language of the Fathers" read before the American Historical Association at its commemoration of the !50th year of operation of our government under the instrument of 1787. And the chapters here in review are as applicable in the constitutional crises which have been muddled through as they will be valuable in the constitutional crises which the passing decades will bring.

It is inevitable that judges should substitute doctrines of their own for those which the Fathers set down in the original document. And such a rewriting of the law-even of the enduring principles of the higher law-is as necessary as it is inevitable. For the values which fix the objectives of public policy must change as the aspirations of men are broadened "with the process of the suns"; and, even as ends endure, they must be newly instrumented amid the changing circumstances of a dynamic culture or they will be betrayed. With the fact that there is substitution we can have no legitimate quarrel. But we may object-vocally, indignantly, rightfully at the specific substitute, at the uncritical way in which it is contrived, at the violence with which it is thrust into place, at the severity of its break with the past. Here lies the real contribution that Professor Crosskey's volumes will make. They do not, they cannot, arrest the development of the body of law; but, if they are read and heeded, they will serve to make constitutional change a more intelligent, critical, and rational process than ever it has been.

Date of Authorship for this Version


Included in

Law Commons