January 10, 2012
HLS Professor Adrian Vermeule ’93, one of the leading scholars of public law and constitutional theory, will participate in a program focused on his new book “The System of the Constitution” (Oxford University Press, 2011) at University College in London on Friday, Jan. 13.
In the book, Vermeule states that “any constitutional order, including our own, is best understood as a system of systems.” He analyzes constitutionalism through the lens of systems theory, originally developed in biology, computer science, political science and other disciplines.
“Vermeule takes us deep into systems theory, offering a concrete and readable account of it and showing what difference it makes to our understanding of constitutionalism in any complex society,” according to a story about the book and the upcoming event by the English Law Students Association. “He explores the general theory of second-best, applying it to constitutions, and brings the book’s insights to bear on the process of legal interpretation undertaken by judges. Notably, he argues that theorists have overlooked the dynamic mutual adjustments that occur between selection of constitutional actors (e.g. judges) and the interpretive doctrines they are meant to apply.”
Commentators at the College of London event will include Nick Barber (fellow and tutor in law, Trinity College, Oxford), Timothy Endicott (professor of legal philosophy, fellow of Balliol College and dean of the faculty of law at the University of Oxford), Jeff King (senior lecturer, University College London), Christian List (professor of political science and philosophy, London School of Economics) and Thomas Poole (reader in Law, London School of Economics).
Vermeule’s earlier writings include “Judging Under Uncertainty” (2006), “Law and the Limits of Reason” (2008) and “The Executive Unbound” (with Eric Posner ’91) (2011).