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United States v. Carolene Products CO. is no longer only a case. It is a line of reasoning, and one so venerable as to have achieved almost axiomatic status in a world where virtually every other proposition of constitutional law is best considered controversial. It is, in Justice Powell's words, "the most celebrated footnote in constitutional law." Yes, it has its critics, but even they would probably admit that Carolene's reasoning is more ensconced in our constitutional imaginations than any other line of reasoning not directly traceable to the text.

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