Bruce Ackerman's path-breaking book on Revolutionary Constitutions: Charismatic Leadership and the Rule of Law puts him at the centre of the major subjects in public law today, from the promise and perils of populism to the causes and consequences of democratic backsliding, from the optimal models of constitutional design to the forms and limits of constitutional amendment, and from the role of courts in constitutional democracy to how we identify when the mythical “people” have spoken.
Ackerman's pioneering book was the focus of a major international conference held recently at the Yale Law School. The conference convened leading scholars in public law to engage critically with Ackerman's thesis. Some advanced it, others attacked it, and still others refined it-but all agreed that the ideas in the book reset the terms of debate on the most important questions in constitutionalism today. This collection, edited by Richard Albert, emerges from the lively conference, and features a rebuttal chapter by Ackerman in which he responds directly to review essays by authors.