Foreword: Introduction to a Symposium on The Law of American State Constitutions

Lawrence Friedman

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Legal commentators writing in the pages of law reviews like this one are engaged in a species of literary criticism. The objects of their critical gaze are the texts of the lawyer’s life: a constitution, a statute, a regulation, a judicial opinion explaining a bit of interstitial lawmaking, or a law review article condemning just such an opinion. All of these texts contain stories, often more than one. And so, like true literary critics who review novels and memoirs and other nonfiction works, legal commentators take their assigned texts, pry them open, and examine them. We look at the style in which these texts are written, the characters who move their plots forward and, of course, whether their authors—be they framers, ratifiers, legislators, judges, or our peers—have in the end succeeded in their goals.
45 New Eng. L. Rev. 797

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