Scholars sometimes misunderstand the role that law plays in achieving social change. Law in the United States represents the codification of normative ideologies, or creedal narratives. New ideologies can take hold in society only as the result of deep and wide structural changes that cause the gradual erosion of others. Lawmakers—whether judicial or political—eventually give these new ideologies legitimacy. Contrary to Bruce Ackerman’s contention in We the People, the law follows social change, not vice versa.

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