Guru Dakshina

In the Hindu tradition of guru-sisya, a sisya (student) must offer something to his guru (teacher). Professor Akhil Reed Amar has been a guru to me, both an esteemed teacher and a wise counselor. Since there can be no better tribute to a professor than to use the knowledge, tools, and skills he imparted as a basis for analyzing his work, in this Article I offer a short and vigorous critique of Professor Amar’s latest work, America’s Unwritten Constitution. I make four brief points. First, America’s Unwritten Constitution reflects the mellowing of Professor Amar. Second, the book’s arguments are in tension with his previous work. Third, I question the driving force behind Professor Amar’s arguments and ask whether modern Supreme Court doctrine is in the driver seat. Finally, I examine how it was possible for the Warren Court to get so much so right with such misguided reasoning.

The full text of this Article is available to download as a PDF.