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Bruce Ackerman
Bruce Ackerman is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale, and the author of fifteen books that have had a broad influence in political philosophy, constitutional law, and public policy. His major works include Social Justice in the Liberal State and his multivolume constitutional history, We the People. His most recent books are The Failure of the Founding Fathers (2005) and Before the Next Attack (2006). His book, The Stakeholder Society (with Anne Alstott), served as a basis for Tony Blair’s recent introduction of child investment accounts in the United Kingdom. Professor Ackerman is a member of the American Law Institute and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Commander of the French Order of Merit, and the recipient of the American Philosophical Society’s Henry Phillips Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Jurisprudence. He received his B.A. from Harvard University and his LL.B from Yale Law School.

Entries by Bruce Ackerman

How Hillary Can Join the Revolution

(171) Comments | Posted June 7, 2016 | 10:18 AM

By a margin of 77 to 23 percent, Swiss voters rejected a referendum on Sunday that aimed for nothing less than an economic revolution. In advancing their "basic income" initiative, advocates proposed to send a monthly check of $2500 to every adult resident of the country (plus an extra $625...

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Britain Should Deliberate Before It Votes on Europe

(11) Comments | Posted June 17, 2015 | 10:32 PM

With the EU referendum bill racing through parliament, it is not too late to rethink fundamentals. Voters should not make their epochal decision on the basis of sound-bites and twitter-feeds. Before making their fateful choice on Britain's future, they should be given a day off from work to engage in...

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What Shinzo Abe Wants From Washington -- And Why He Shouldn't Get It

(39) Comments | Posted April 22, 2015 | 8:31 AM

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has a problem. Since taking office in 2012, he has been trying to repudiate Article Nine of his country's constitution, renouncing "war as a sovereign right of the nation."

But the more he tries, the less the public is convinced. Yet Abe...

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O mau começo de Hillary Clinton

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2015 | 3:52 PM

O anúncio da campanha de Hillary Clinton é um insulto à presidência. Ele representa uma completa capitulação diante do negócio das consultorias políticas - dois minutos e meio de imagens de marketing, sem nada que lembre um argumento sério.

A Avenida Madison substitui Madison como o centro da república. A...

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Hillary Clinton's Bad Beginning

(1012) Comments | Posted April 13, 2015 | 7:59 AM

Hillary Clinton's campaign announcement is an insult to the presidency. It represents a total capitulation to the political consulting business -- two-and-a-half minutes of marketing images, without anything resembling serious argument.

Madison Avenue has replaced Madison at the center of the Republic. Clinton's 30 second appearance in her grade-B advertisement...

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(2) Comments | Posted January 10, 2015 | 12:57 AM


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What We Can Learn From the French About Terrorism

(54) Comments | Posted January 9, 2015 | 7:28 AM

Assume the worst: the attack on Charlie Hebdo is the opening gun in an escalating terrorist campaign. In the coming days, another band of extremists succeeds at a second-strike, escalating the prevailing anxiety to new heights. Confronting the emphatic demand that the President "do something" to regain control of the...

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How Nancy Pelosi Can Force Congress to Vote on the War Against ISIS

(39) Comments | Posted October 3, 2014 | 8:42 AM

On Wednesday, Nancy Pelosi declared that Congress should immediately return to Washington for an up-or-down vote on President Obama's war on the Islamic State. This is a game-changer, since Pelosi has the power to make it happen.

Although she is only the minority leader of the House, the...

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(10) Comments | Posted July 24, 2014 | 2:38 AM


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Die tragische Wende für Amerika in Deutschland und Japan

(1) Comments | Posted July 23, 2014 | 11:36 AM

Lange hat es gedauert bis sich Deutschland und Japan vom Zweiten Weltkrieg erholt haben. Ihre Souveränität gewannen die beiden Staaten nach der demütigenden Militärbesatzung nur wieder, indem sie garantierten, künftigen Bedrohungen für den Frieden entgegenzuwirken.

Deshalb waren in der neuen deutschen Verfassung Streitkräfte auch nur für den Fall der...

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America's Tragic Turn in Germany and Japan

(35) Comments | Posted July 15, 2014 | 9:12 AM

It's taken a long time for Germany and Japan to recover from the Second World War. After enduring the indignity of military occupation, they regained sovereignty only by guaranteeing against future threats to peace. Germany's new constitution only authorized military force in self-defense or in collaboration with collective security agreements....

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Presidential Power Grabs: Their Causes and Cure

(28) Comments | Posted February 10, 2014 | 7:34 AM

The president's new round of executive orders is generating another cycle of debate over the imperial presidency. Just as Senator Obama condemned President Bush for overreaching, Republican leaders are denouncing present initiatives as lawless. On both occasions, some of these charges were substantial; and some were merely partisan sound bites....

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The White House Begs the Question on Mass Surveillance

(10) Comments | Posted December 26, 2013 | 10:25 AM

The White House report on surveillance makes an important contribution to the escalating debate, but it begs a big question. It finds that the NSA's massive collection of American telephone records "was not essential to preventing attacks and could readily have been obtained in a timely manner." (Report,...

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Republican Peter King Takes the Lead

(276) Comments | Posted October 13, 2013 | 2:50 PM

While the Republican House leadership continues to talk tough, the moderate majority has taken a first big step toward undermining its position. On Saturday, more than 100 Democrats signed a petition discharging a bill from the Rules Committee that would force an up-or-down vote on a "clean"...

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How the Internet Can Save Journalism

(69) Comments | Posted August 7, 2013 | 10:05 AM

The sale of the Washington Post to Jeff Bezos is just the most recent episode in the decline and fall of professional journalism. By selling out to a mega-billionaire without any newspaper experience, the Graham family has put a priceless national asset at the mercy of a single outsider. Perhaps...

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The Supreme Court's War on the Twentieth Century

(568) Comments | Posted January 31, 2013 | 7:00 AM

Is the Supreme Court about to declare war on the twentieth century?

This is the larger question raised by an escalating series of decisions, starting with the recent Obamacare case. In designing its sweeping reform, Congress relied on 70 years of case-law, emerging from the New Deal, that upheld...

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A New Route Around the Fiscal Cliff

(75) Comments | Posted December 12, 2012 | 7:10 AM

The fiscal cliff represents an opportunity as well as a danger. While a big tax increase might provoke a double-dip recession, even the complete repeal of the Bush tax cuts are only a down-payment in a long-term plan for fiscal balance.

A "grand bargain" should take both the short and...

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Comment Obama peut redonner de l'espoir

(1) Comments | Posted September 28, 2012 | 10:24 AM

La campagne présidentielle manque cruellement d'idées nouvelles. Les candidats n'ont fait que remâcher les mêmes discours fatigués, ne donnant aucun sentiment d'engagement.

Les choses pourraient changer si le Président Obama considérait avec un peu plus de sérieux son discours d'acceptation à la convention et plaçait enfin "une chose qu'on...

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How Obama Might Still Inspire

(99) Comments | Posted September 27, 2012 | 12:00 AM

The presidential campaign has been utterly lacking in new ideas. Both candidates have been offering tired rehashes that fail to inspire commitment. Things could change if President Obama took his acceptance speech at the Convention seriously and put "something called citizenship" at the core of his campaign. Citizenship, he explained,...

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Roberts Raises the Election Year Stakes

(219) Comments | Posted June 29, 2012 | 8:43 AM

John Roberts' decision on health care places the country at a constitutional crossroads. On the one hand, his majority opinion upholds the greatest expansion of the welfare state since the 1960s. On the other, it undermines the constitutional underpinnings of big government. This makes the current presidential election into a...

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