Author granted license

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Document Type


Publication Date



Boston University School of Law




This essay considers arguments that the U.S. Constitution is so imperfect — and the constitutional and political system so dysfunctional or otherwise failing — that it is time to rewrite the Constitution through amendment or constitutional convention. I argue that if we adopt and maintain an attitude of fidelity to our imperfect Constitution, it may be unnecessary to formally amend the Constitution unless there is good reason to believe that something better might come out of this process. The better approach is to maintain an attitude of fidelity to the imperfect Constitution and to apply a Constitution-perfecting theory — to interpret the Constitution so as to make it the best it can be. Furthermore, maintaining that attitude, we should recognize the need to “rewrite” the constitutional culture the better to secure constitutional democracy: to cultivate the civic virtues and foster the capacities needed to maintain constitutional self-government.


Published as: "Fidelity to Our Imperfect Constitution," in Symposium Is It Time to Rewrite the Constitution? 2015 Wisconsin Law Review Online 31 (2015).

Find on SSRN



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.