In this essay based on remarks delivered as the 2020 Constitution Day lecture at the Center for Constitutional Law, Professor Franks previews her book, The Cult of the Constitution. It addresses Franks’ key thesis about fundamentalist approaches to legal texts and Constitution, which read texts in selective and self-interested ways that verify a particular world view and ignore interpretations or passages that complicate it. Her work highlights debates over guns and the Second Amendment and Black Lives Matter protests and the First Amendment as examples of this problematic constitutional fundamentalism. Instead, the book and essay point to the Fourteenth Amendment as a preemptive constitutional command that is inherently anti-fundamentalist and demands the consideration of all rights and all people. Unlike the First or Second Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment cannot be stripped out of context and fetishized as a super-right elevating the interests of some over others.
Mary Anne Franks, Book Talk: The Cult of the Constitution, 13 ConLawNOW 33 (2021)