My sense is that the Founders’ Constitution is being taken more seriously by more people nowadays than it has been at any time over the past half century or so. This is not to say there are not many battles still to be fought and won, but simply that the language of the Constitution now inspires the troops—whether in the pushback against Obamacare, the preservation of fundamental Second Amendment rights, or a more generalized antipathy to politicians who seem ignorant of the fact that the Constitution limits the federal government to a set of enumerated powers.
In condemning the Constitution for helping to “entranch” chattel slavery, Mr. Levinson confuses the compromises of the Constitution with its principles, but even its principles rub him the wrong way. He is at one with much of progressive thought in his call for a kind of mass democracy, consisting of a federal government unencumbered by the messy business of dealing with sovereign states. And he expresses the characteristically progressive frustration that our system of separation of powers and checks and balances prevents the formation of a “government,” by which he apparently means a unification of the executive and legislative branches for the purposes of efficiently passing legislation, as if the passage of legislation is itself the hallmark of good government. What Mayor Bloomberg notes of soft drinks is also true of legislation: more is not better.