Last spring Professor Laurence H. Tribe commented that federal constitutional law is in a state of intellectual disarray: "[I]n area after area, we find ourselves at a fork in the road--a point at which it's fair to say things could go in any. of several directions" and we have "little common ground from which to build agreement." No doubt fortuitously, two of our most formidable constitutional scholars, Akhil R. Amar and Jed Rubenfeld, have recently published systematic studies that implicitly challenge Tribe's conclusion that "ours [is] a peculiarly bad time to be going out on a limb to propound a Grand Unified Theory--or anything close." With admirable boldness, Professors Amar and Rubenfeld have done precisely that--gone out on a limb, or rather two very different limbs, to propound their own accounts of what American constitutionalism is, or should be. Amar's America's Constitution and Rubenfeld's Revolution by Judiciary are alike in that each is its author's synthesis of a remarkable effort, sustained over a number of years, to develop a comprehensive vision of the Constitution. We have much to learn from their successes as well as from the points at which they are, I believe, in error.
H. Jefferson Powell, Grand Visions in an Age of Conflict, 115 Yale Law Journal 2067-2092 (2006)