Gary J. Jacobsohn
Professor — Ph.D., Cornell University
Professor Jacobsohn's interests and work lie at the intersection of constitutional theory and comparative constitutionalism. He has recently completed a book on constitutional identity, which explores this idea through an examination of its expressions in India, Ireland, Israel, and the United States. He has held fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, the Fulbright Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is a past President of the New England Political Science Association, and has served as co-editor of the Rowman and Littlefield series on Studies in American Constitutionalism.
Among Professor Jacobsohn's publications are: Pragmatism, Statesmanship and the Supreme Court (Cornell University Press, 1977), The Supreme Court and the Decline of Constitutional Aspiration (Rowman and Littlefield, 1986), Apple of Gold: Constitutionalism in Israel and the United States (Princeton University Press, 1993), The Wheel of Law: India's Secularism in Comparative Constitutional Context (Princeton University Press and Oxford University Press-India, 2003), and (with Donald Kommers and John Finn) American Constitutional Law: Essays, Cases, and Comparative Notes (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009). His book, The Disharmonic Constitution: A Comparative Inquiry Into Constitutional Identity, will be published by Harvard University Press in 2010.
Books, Articles, & Reviews
- THE WHEEL OF LAW: INDIA’S SECULARISM IN COMPARATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT (Princeton University Press, 2003, Oxford University Press – India, 2003)
- APPLE OF GOLD: CONSTITUTIONALISM IN ISRAEL AND THE UNITED STATES (Princeton University Press, 1993)
- THE SUPREME COURT AND THE DECLINE OF CONSTITUTIONAL ASPIRATION (Rowman & Littlefield, 1986)
- PRAGMATISM, STATESMANSHIP, AND THE SUPREME COURT (Cornell University Press, 1977)
- AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: ESSAYS, CASES, AND COMPARATIVE NOTES (2nd ed.), with
Donald P. Kommers and John E. Finn (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004)
- DIVERSITY AND CITIZENSHIP: REDISCOVERING AMERICAN NATIONHOOD, Co-edited with Susan Dunn (Rowman & Littlefield, 1996)
Articles and Essays
- “The Sounds of Silence: Militant and Acquiescent Constitutionalism,” in H. Richard Zinman, ed.,The Supreme Court and the Idea of Constititionalism (University of Pennsylvania Press, (forthcoming).
- “Constitutional Borrowing in South Asia: India, Sri Lanka, and Constitutional Identity,” (with Shylashri Shankar) in Sunil Khilnani and Vikram Raghavan, eds., Comparative Tradition in South Asia (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
- "Aspirationalism," in David Tanenhaus, ed., Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States (Macmillan, forthcoming).
- “Bommai and the Judicial Power: A View From the United States,” Indian Journal of Constitutional Law, V. 2, 2008.
- “After the Revolution,” Israel Law Review, V. 34, 2000.
- “‘By the Light of Reason’: Corruption, Religious Speech, and Constitutional Essentials,” in Nancy L. Rosenblum, ed., Religion and Law: Obligations of Citizenship and Demands of Faith (Princeton University Press, 2000).
- "Dramatic Jurisprudence," in William N. Eskridge, Jr. and Sanford Levinson, eds., Constitutional Stupidities, Constitutional Tragedies (NYU Press, 1998).
- "Hindu Nationalism and the Israeli Experience," Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies, V. 1, 1998.
- "Comparative Constitutional Analysis and the Secular Polity," The Good Society: A PEGS Journal, V. 7, 1997.
- "Three Models of Secular Constitutional Development: India, Israel, and the United States," Studies in American Political Development, V. 10, 1996.
- "Contemporary Constitutional Theory, Federalism, and the Protection of Rights," in Ellis Katz and G. Alan Tarr, eds., Federalism and Rights (Rowman & Littlefield, 1996).
- "States' Rights," in Leonard W. Levy and Louis Fisher, eds., Encyclopedia of the American Presidency (Simon & Schuster, 1993).
- "Censorship in Israel," in Ilan Peleg, ed., Censorship (Westview Press, 1993).
- "Political Incorporation and Democratic Theory," in George E. Marcus and Russell Hanson, eds., Reconsidering the Democratic Electorate (Penn State University Press, 1993).
- "Pragmatism," in Leonard W. Levy, Kenneth L. Karst, and John G. West, Jr., eds., Encyclopedia of the American Constitution - Supplementary Edition (Macmillan Publishing Co. Inc., 1991).
- "Judicial Activism in Israel," in Kenneth Holland, ed., Judicial Activism In Comparative Perspective (Macmillan Publishing Co. and St. Martin's Press, 1991).
- "Alternative Pluralisms: Israeli and American Constitutionalism In Comparative Perspective," Review of Politics, V. 51, 1989.
- "Judicial Activism and the Founders," in J. Jackson Barlow, Dennis J. Mahoney, and John G. West, Jr., eds., The New Federalist Papers (University Press of America, 1988).
- "Rules are Not Enough: An Argument For Principled Unpredictability," in Sarah Baumgartner Thurow, ed., Constitutionalism in Perspective: The United States Constitution in Twentieth Century Politics (University Press of America, 1988).
- "Natural Rights and the Constitution: American Experience and the Israeli Dilemma," Vera Lex, V.7, No. 2, 1987.
- "Modern Jurisprudence and The Transvaluation of Liberal Constitutionalism," Journal of Politics, V. 47, 1985.
- "E.T.: The Extra-Textual in Constitutional Interpretation," Constitutional Commentary," V. 1, 1983.
- "Legal Science Revisited and Reinterpreted: Roscoe Pound's The Spirit of the Common Law," in Sidney A.Pearson, Jr., ed., The Constitutional Polity: Essays on the Founding Principles of American Politics (University Press of America, 1983).
- "Abraham Lincoln 'On This Question of Judicial Authority': The Theory of Constitutional Aspiration," Western Political Quarterly, V. 36, No. 1, 1983.
- "Hamilton, Positivism, and the Constitution: Judicial Discretion Reconsidered," Polity, V. 14, 1981.
- "The Unanimous Verdict: Politics and the Jury Trial," Washington University Law Review, V. 1976, 1977.
- "The Right To Disagree: Judges, Juries, and the Administration of Justice in Maryland," Washington University Law Review, V. 1976, 1977.
- "Citizen Participation in Policy-Making: The Role of the Jury," Journal of Politics, V. 39,1977.
- "The Pragmatic Dogma' of the Political Thicket: The Jurisprudential Paradox of 'One Man, One Vote'", Polity, V. 9, 1977.
- "Constitutional Adjudication and Judicial Statesmanship: Principle, Fact, and Doctrine,"Journal of Public Law, V. 23, 1974.
- "Felix Frankfurter and the Ambiguities of Judicial Statesmanship," New York University
Law Review , V. 49, 1974.
Recently Published Articles
- “Constitutional Identity,” The Review of Politics, V. 68, 2006.
- “An Unconstitutional Constitution? A Comparative Perspective,” I-CON: International Journal of Constitutional Law, V. 4, 2006.
- “The Permeability of Constitutional Borders,” Texas Law Review, V. 82, 2004.
- Martha C. Nussbaum, THE CLASH WITHIN: DEMOCRACY, RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE, AND INDIA’S FUTURE, in Journal of Law and Religion, V. 23, 2008.
- S. K. Verma and Kusum Kumar, FIFTY YEARS OF THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA: ITS GRASP AND
REACH, in The Law and Politics Book Review, V. 14, No. 6, 2004.
- Reuven Y. Hazan, REFORMING PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES: ISRAEL IN COMPARATIVE
PERSPECTIVE, in American Political Science Review, V. 96, 2002.
- Gregg Ivers, TO BUILD A WALL: AMERICAN JEWS AND THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE, in Studies in Contemporary Jewry, V. 13, 1998.
- Wayne D. Moore, CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND POWERS OF THE PEOPLE, in The Law and Politics Book Review, V. 7, No. 2, 1997.
- Lane V. Sunderland, POPULAR GOVERNMENT AND THE SUPREME COURT: SECURING THE PUBLIC GOOD AND PRIVATE RIGHTS, in American Political Science Review, V. 90, No. 4, 1996.
- James P. Pinkerton, WHAT COMES NEXT: THE END OF BIG GOVERNMENT - AND THE NEW PARADIGM AHEAD
- Victor Kamber, GIVING UP ON DEMOCRACY: WHY TERM LIMITS ARE BAD FOR AMERICA, in The Washington Post Book World, November 26, 1995.
- Edward J. Cleary, BEYOND THE BURNING CROSS: THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND THE LANDMARK R.A.V. CASE, in The Washington Post Book World, November 21, 1994.
- Bernard Schwartz, MAIN CURRENTS IN AMERICAN LEGAL THOUGHT (feature review), in Perspectives on Political Science, V. 23, No. 3, 1994.
- Douglas Greenberg, Stanley N. Katz, Melanie Beth Oliviero, and Steven C. Wheatley, eds., CONSTITUTIONALISM AND DEMOCRACY: TRANSITIONS IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD, in The Law and Politics Book Review, V. 4, No. 2, 1994.
- Richard B. Bernstein, AMENDING AMERICA: IF WE LOVE THE CONSTITUTION SO MUCH, WHY DO WE KEEP TRYING TO CHANGE IT?
- Bernard Bailyn, ed., THE DEBATE ON THE CONSTITUTION: FEDERALIST AND ANTIFEDERALIST SPEECHES, ARTICLES AND LETTERS DURING THE STRUGGLE OVER RATIFICATION, in The Washington Post Book World, September 5, 1993.
- Christopher P. Manfredi, JUDICIAL POWER AND THE CHARTER: CANADA AND THE PARADOX OF LIBERAL CONSTITUTIONALISM, in American Political Science Review, V. 87, No. 4, 1993.
- Yochanan Peres and Ephraim Yuchtman-Yaar, TRENDS IN ISRAELI DEMOCRACY: THE PUBLIC'S VIEW, in International Journal of Middle East Studies, V. 25, No. 2, 1993.
- Hadley Arkes, BEYOND THE CONSTITUTION, in American Political Science Review, V. 85, No. 4, 1991.
- Lucy S. Dawidowicz, FROM THAT PLACE AND TIME: A MEMOIR 1938-1937, in Perspective, V. 19, No. 2, 1990
- Richard Beeman, Stephen Botein, and Edward C. Carter II, eds., BEYOND CONFEDERATION: ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN NATIONAL CHARACTER (feature review), in Perspective, V. 16, No. 4, 1987.
- Eva R. Rubin, THE SUPREME COURT AND THE AMERICAN FAMILY, in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, V. 493, 1987.
- Michael Kent Curtis, NO STATE SHALL ABRIDGE: THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT AND THE BILL OF RIGHTS, in American Political Science Review, V. 81, No. 1, 1987.
- Wallace Mendelson, SUPREME COURT STATECRAFT: THE RULE OF LAW AND MEN, in Perspective, V.15, No. 5, 1986.
- Amos Oz, IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL, in Kesher/Connection, V. 2, No. 1, 1985.
- Michael J. Perry, THE CONSTITUTION, THE COURTS, AND HUMAN RIGHTS: AN INQUIRY INTO THE LEGITIMACY OF CONSTITUTIONAL POLICYMAKING BY THE JUDICIARY, in Perspective, V.12, No. 4, 1983.
- Bruce A. Murphy, THE BRANDEIS/FRANKFURTER CONNECTION, in Perspective, (feature review) V.11, No.6, 1982.
- Bruce M. Owen, ECONOMICS AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: MEDIA STRUCTURE AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT, in Policy Analysis, V.3, No.3, 1977.
- Editor, Berkshire Review (1980)
- Co-Editor, Rowman and Littlefield Series on the American Constitution
Professor Jacobsohn’s current research focuses on the question of constitutional change in comparative perspective. In line with this interest, he is exploring the concept of constitutional identity, about which constitutional theorists have had relatively little to say. Professor Jacobsohn is addressing this inattention with a philosophical and comparative exploration of the idea. There are, according to the argument being developed, attributes of a constitution that allow one to identify it as such, and there is a dialogical process of identity formation that enables one to determine the specific identity of any given constitution.
Representing a mix of aspirations and commitments expressive of a nation’s past, constitutional identity also evolves in ongoing political and interpretive activities occurring in courts, legislatures, and other public and private domains. Professor Jacobsohn’s exploration of identity’s conceptual possibilities are centered in several constitutional settings - India, Ireland, Israel, and the United States – that highlight its distinctive features.
- Introduction to American Politics
- Political Philosophy
- Constitutional Law
- American Legal Philosophy
- American Political Thought
- Criminal Justice
- American Public Policy-Making
- Constitutional Crisis
- Judicial Policy-making
- American Political Development
- The Politics of Rights
- Civil Liberties in the United States
- The First Amendment
- Comparative Constitutionalism
Winter Study Courses
- Capital Punishment
- The Trial Process
- The Jurisprudence of the Founding Fathers
- Lincoln and the Law
- Freedom, Authority, and Community
- Constitutionalism Without a Constitution: The Case of Israel
- Lessons From Abroad: Constitutionalism in Faraway Places
- Judicial Biography
University of Texas at Austin
- American Legal Philosophy (graduate)
- Comparative Constitutionalism (graduate)
- Constitutional Structures of Power
- The Constitution and Individual Liberties
- Constitutional Change in Comparative Perspective (graduate)