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In The Invisible Constitution, Laurence Tribe argues that many of our most deeply-held constitutional convictions are not to be found in the words of the Constitution itself. They are, instead, part of what he calls the invisible Constitution. This review essay argues that although that claim is true, it is not worth spending a book on. Moreover, its very truth—the fact that certain “invisible” constitutional propositions are as central and well-established as textual ones—undermines the value of treating the “invisible” Constitution as a qualitatively different entity.


The Invisible Constitution, Laurence Tribe, constitutional doctrine, interpretation and theory, beliefs and convictions, popular constitutionalism

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Constitutional Commentary

Publication Citation

25 Const. Comment. 321 (2009).