Book picks similar to
Marc Stevens' Adventures in Legal Land by Marc Stevens
Who Killed the Constitution?: The Assault on American Law and the Unmaking of a Nation
Thomas E. Woods Jr. - 2008
. . dead. You won’t hear that from the politicians who endlessly pay lip service to the Constitution. It’s the dirty little secret that bestselling authors Thomas E. Woods Jr. and Kevin R. C. Gutzman expose in this provocative new book. The fact is that government officials—Democrats and Republicans, presidents, judges, and congresses alike—long ago rejected the idea that the Constitution possesses a fixed meaning limiting the U.S. government’s power. In case you’ve forgotten, this idea was not a minor aspect of the Constitution; it was the document’s very purpose. Woods and Gutzman round up the suspects responsible for the death of the government the Founding Fathers designed. Going right to the scenes of the crimes, they dissect twelve of the most egregious assaults on the Constitution—some virtually unknown. In chronicling this “dirty dozen,” the authors show that the attacks began long before presidents declared preemptive wars, congresses built pork-barrel bridges to nowhere, and Supreme Court justices began to behave as our supreme legislators. In Who Killed the Constitution? Woods and Gutzman• REVEAL the federal government’s “great gold robbery”—the flagrant assault on the Constitution you never heard about in history class• DESTROY the phony case for presidential war power• EXPOSE how the federal government has actively discriminated to end . . . discrimination• TEAR DOWN the “wall of separation” between church and state—an invention that completely contradicts what the Constitution says• DARE to touch the “third rail of American jurisprudence,” Brown v. Board of Education—showing why a government decision that seems “right” isn’t necessarily constitutionalNever shying away from controversy, Woods and Gutzman reveal an unsettling but unavoidable truth: now that the federal government has broken free of the Constitution’s chains, government officials are restrained by little more than their sense of what they can get away with.Who Killed the Constitution? is a rallying cry for Americans outraged by government run amok and a warning to take heed before we lose the liberties we are truly entitled to.
The Right To Vote The Contested History Of Democracy In The United States
Alexander Keyssar - 2000
But the history of suffrage in the U.S. is, in fact,the story of a struggle to achieve this right by our society's marginalized groups. In The Right to Vote, Duke historian Alexander Keyssar explores the evolution of suffrage over the course of the nation's history. Examining the many features of the history of the right to vote in the U.S.—class, ethnicity, race, gender, religion, and age—the book explores the conditions under which American democracy has expanded and contracted over the years.Keyssar presents convincing evidence that the history of the right to vote has not been one of a steady history of expansion and increasing inclusion, noting that voting rights contracted substantially in the U.S. between 1850 and 1920. Keyssar also presents a controversial thesis: that the primary factor promoting the expansion of the suffrage has been war and the primary factors promoting contraction or delaying expansion have been class tension and class conflict.
The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era
Akhil Reed Amar - 2016
Maryland, aspires "to endure for ages to come." The daily news has a shorter shelf life, and when the issues of the day involve momentous constitutional questions, present-minded journalists and busy citizens cannot always see the stakes clearly. In The Constitution Today, Akhil Reed Amar, America's preeminent constitutional scholar, considers the biggest and most bitterly contested debates of the last two decades and provides a passionate handbook for thinking constitutionally about today's headlines. Amar shows how the Constitution's text, history, and structure are a crucial repository of collective wisdom, providing specific rules and grand themes relevant to every organ of the American body politic. Prioritizing sound constitutional reasoning over partisan preferences, he makes the case for diversity-based affirmative action and a right to have a gun in one's home for self-protection, and against spending caps on independent political advertising and bans on same-sex marriage. He explains what's wrong with presidential dynasties, advocates a "nuclear option" to restore majority rule in the Senate, and suggests ways to reform the Supreme Court. And he revisits three dramatic constitutional conflicts -- the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the contested election of George W. Bush, and the fight over Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act -- to show what politicians, judges, and journalists got right as events unfolded and what they missed. Leading readers through the particular constitutional questions at stake in each episode while outlining his abiding views regarding the Constitution's letter, its spirit, and the direction constitutional law must go, Amar offers an essential guide for anyone seeking to understand America's Constitution and its relevance today.
The Constitution: An Introduction
Michael Stokes Paulsen - 2015
This vital document, along with its history of political and judicial interpretation, governs our individual lives and the life of our nation. Yet most of us know surprisingly little about the Constitution itself, and are woefully unprepared to think for ourselves about recent developments in its long and storied history.The Constitution: An Introduction is the definitive modern primer on the US Constitution. Michael Stokes Paulsen, one of the nation's most provocative and accomplished scholars of the Constitution, and his son Luke Paulsen, a gifted young writer and lay scholar, have combined to write a lively introduction to the supreme law of the United States, covering the Constitution's history and meaning in clear, accessible terms. Beginning with the Constitution's birth in 1787, Paulsen and Paulsen offer a grand tour of its provisions, principles, and interpretation, introducing readers to the characters and controversies that have shaped the Constitution in the 200-plus years since its creation. Along the way, the authors provide correctives to the shallow myths and partial truths that pervade so much popular treatment of the Constitution, from school textbooks to media accounts of today's controversies, and offer powerful insights into the Constitution's true meaning. A lucid and engaging guide, The Constitution: An Introduction provides readers with the tools to think critically and independently about constitutional issues -- a skill that is ever more essential to the continued flourishing of American democracy.
Dissent and the Supreme Court: Its Role in the Court's History and the Nation's Constitutional Dialogue
Melvin I. Urofsky - 2015
Brandeis (“Remarkable”—Anthony Lewis, The New York Review of Books; “Monumental”—Alan M. Dershowitz, The New York Times Book Review), Division and Discord, and Supreme Decisions—Melvin Urofsky’s major new book looks at the role of dissent in the Supreme Court and the meaning of the Constitution through the greatest and longest lasting public-policy debate in the country’s history, among members of the Supreme Court, between the Court and the other branches of government, and between the Court and the people of the United States. Urofsky writes of the necessity of constitutional dialogue as one of the ways in which we as a people reinvent and reinvigorate our democratic society. In Dissent and the Supreme Court, he explores the great dissents throughout the Court’s 225-year history. He discusses in detail the role the Supreme Court has played in helping to define what the Constitution means, how the Court’s majority opinions have not always been right, and how the dissenters, by positing alternative interpretations, have initiated a critical dialogue about what a particular decision should mean. This dialogue is sometimes resolved quickly; other times it may take decades before the Court adjusts its position. Louis Brandeis’s dissenting opinion about wiretapping became the position of the Court four decades after it was written. The Court took six decades to adopt the dissenting opinion of the first Justice John Harlan in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)—that segregation on the basis of race violated the Constitution—in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Urofsky shows that the practice of dissent grew slowly but steadily and that in the nineteenth century dissents became more frequent. In the (in)famous case of Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), Chief Justice Roger Taney’s opinion upheld slavery, declaring that blacks could never be citizens. The justice received intense condemnations from several of his colleagues, but it took a civil war and three constitutional amendments before the dissenting view prevailed and Dred Scott was overturned. Urofsky looks as well at the many aspects of American constitutional life that were affected by the Earl Warren Court—free speech, race, judicial appointment, and rights of the accused—and shows how few of these decisions were unanimous, and how the dissents in the earlier cases molded the results of later decisions; how with Roe v. Wade—the Dred Scott of the modern era—dissent fashioned subsequent decisions, and how, in the Court, a dialogue that began with the dissents in Roe has shaped every decision since. Urofsky writes of the rise of conservatism and discusses how the resulting appointments of more conservative jurists to the bench put the last of the Warren liberals—William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall—in increasingly beleaguered positions, and in the minority. He discusses the present age of incivility, in which reasoned dialogue seems less and less possible. Yet within the Marble Palace, the members of the Supreme Court continue to hear arguments, vote, and draft majority opinions, while the minority continues to “respectfully dissent.” The Framers understood that if a constitution doesn’t grow and adapt, it atrophies and dies, and if it does, so does the democratic society it has supported. Dissent—on the Court and off, Urofsky argues—has been a crucial ingredient in keeping the Constitution alive and must continue to be so.(With black-and-white illustrations throughout.)
Trials of the State: Law and the Decline of Politics
Jonathan Sumption - 2019
In democracies, laws and policies are just as soon unpicked as made. It seems that Congress and Parliaments cannot forge progress or consensus. Moreover, courts often overturn decisions made by elected representatives. In the absence of effective politicians, many turn to the courts to solve political and moral questions. Rulings from the Supreme Courts in the United States and United Kingdom, or the European court in Strasbourg may seem to end the debate but the division and debate does not subside. In fact, the absence of democratic accountability leads to radicalisation. Judicial overreach cannot make up for the shortcomings of politicians. This is especially acute in the field of human rights. For instance, who should decide on abortion or prisoners' rights to vote, elected politicians or appointed judges?Expanding on arguments first laid out in the 2019 Reith Lectures, Jonathan Sumption argues that the time has come to return some problems to the politicians.
America on Trial: Inside the Legal Battles That Transformed Our Nation
Alan M. Dershowitz - 2004
The Dred Scott decision. The Chicago Seven. O.J. Simpson. These are some of the trials that have both shaped and fascinated American society. Alan M. Dershowitz, who has been either a lawyer, consultant, or commentator on some of the most celebrated cases of the 1970s, 80s and 90s, highlights the trials he believes to be the most significant in our history, and discuses how they were central to the development of America's political and social structure.
Living With Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment
Craig Whitney - 2012
Columbine. Virginia Tech. Tucson. Aurora. Gun violence on a massive scale has become a plague in our society, yet politicians seem more afraid of having a serious conversation about guns than they are of the next horrific shooting. Any attempt to change the status quo, whether to strengthen gun regulations or weaken them, is sure to degenerate into a hysteria that changes nothing. Our attitudes toward guns are utterly polarized, leaving basic questions unasked: How can we reconcile the individual right to own and use firearms with the right to be safe from gun violence? Is keeping guns out of the hands of as many law-abiding Americans as possible really the best way to keep them out of the hands of criminals? And do 30,000 of us really have to die by gunfire every year as the price of a freedom protected by the Constitution? In Living with Guns, Craig R. Whitney, former foreign correspondent and editor at the New York Times, seeks out answers. He re-examines why the right to bear arms was enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and how it came to be misunderstood. He looks to colonial times, surveying the degree to which guns were a part of everyday life. Finally, blending history and reportage, Whitney explores how twentieth-century turmoil and culture war led to today's climate of activism, partisanship, and stalemate, in a nation that contains an estimated 300 million guns--and probably at least 60 million gun owners. In the end, Whitney proposes a new way forward through our gun rights stalemate, showing how we can live with guns -- and why, with so many of them around, we have no other choice.
John Marshall: Definer of a Nation
Jean Edward Smith - 1996
An apt symbol of the man who shaped both court and country.Working from primary sources, Jean Edward Smith has drawn an elegant portrait of a remarkable man. Lawyer, jurist, scholars; soldier, comrade, friend; and, most especially, lover of fine Madeira, good food, and animated table talk: the Marshall who emerges from these pages is noteworthy for his very human qualities as for his piercing intellect, and, perhaps most extraordinary, for his talents as a leader of men and a molder of consensus. A man of many parts, a true son of the Enlightenment, John Marshall did much for his country, and John Marshall: Definer of a Nation demonstrates this on every page.
The Soul of the First Amendment
Floyd Abrams - 2017
Floyd Abrams, a noted lawyer and award-winning legal scholar specializing in First Amendment issues, examines the degree to which American law protects free speech more often, more intensely, and more controversially than is the case anywhere else in the world, including democratic nations such as Canada and England. In this lively, powerful, and provocative work, the author addresses legal issues from the adoption of the Bill of Rights through recent cases such as Citizens United. He also examines the repeated conflicts between claims of free speech and those of national security occasioned by the publication of classified material such as was contained in the Pentagon Papers and was made public by WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden.
Anti-Federalist Papers (1787-1789)
Founding Fathers - 2004
We did our best to take advantage of all the features of the kindle to maximize your reading experience with this book.DESCRIPTIONDuring the period from the drafting and proposal of the federal Constitution in September, 1787, to its ratification in 1789 there was an intense debate on ratification. The principal arguments in favor of it were stated in the series written by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay called the Federalist Papers.The arguments against ratification appeared in various forms, by various authors, most of whom used a pseudonym. Collectively, these writings have become known as the Anti-Federalist Papers. They contain warnings of tyranny and of a strong federal government, while some of those weaknesses were corrected by adoption of the Bill of Rights, others remained, and some of these dangers are now coming to pass.
Chief Justice: A Biography of Earl Warren
Ed Cray - 1997
Warren Court decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education, Miranda, and Baker v. Carr have given us such famous phrases as "separate is not equal, " "read him his rights, " and "one-man-one-vote" - and have vastly expanded civil rights and personal liberties. A generation later the Warren Court's decisions still define American freedoms. Ed Cray recounts this truly American story in the finest and most comprehensive biography of Earl Warren. He has interviewed nearly all of the Chief's law clerks, four of his children, and more than one hundred others, many of whom recall for the first time their years with Warren. He has read thousands of personal letters and official documents deposited in ten libraries across the country, weaving them into a tale of political intrigue, judicial politics, family reminiscences, and a loving marriage.
The War State: The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite, 1945-1963
Michael Swanson - 2013
It accounts for over 46% of total world arms spending. Before World War II it spent almost nothing on defense and hardly anyone paid any income taxes. You can't have big wars without big government. Such big expenditures are now threatening to harm the national economy. How did this situation come to be? In this book you'll learn how in the critical twenty years after World War II the United States changed from being a continental democratic republic to a global imperial superpower. Since then nothing has ever been the same again. In this book you will discover this secret history of the United States that formed the basis of the world we live in today. By buying this book you will discover: - How the end of European colonialism created a power vacuum that the United States used to create a new type of world empire backed by the most powerful military force in human history. - Why the Central Intelligence Agency was created and used to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations when the United States Constitution had no mechanism for such imperial activities. - How national security bureaucrats got President Harry Truman to approve of a new wild budget busting arms race after World War II that is still going on to this day. - Why President Eisenhower really gave his famous warning against the "military-industrial complex." - Why during the Kennedy administration the nuclear arms race almost led to the end of the world during the Cuban Missile Crisis. - How President Kennedy tried to deal with what had grown into a "permanent government" of power elite national security bureaucrats in the executive branch of the federal government that had become more powerful than the individual president himself. In this book you will discover this secret history of the United States that formed the basis of the world we live in today.
The Case for Impeachment
Allan J. Lichtman - 2017
Lichtman illuminates exactly how the impeachment of President Trump might work by showing how his actions—past or future—make him uniquely vulnerable to impeachment proceedings. From his dealings with Russia, to his conflicts of interest at home and abroad, to the numerous civil suits involving him, Lichtman zeroes in on Mr. Trump’s key areas of weakness.Professor Lichtman also offers a fascinating look at presidential impeachments throughout American history, including the often-overlooked story of Andrew Johnson’s impeachment, little known details about Richard Nixon’s resignation, as well as Bill Clinton’s hearings.Many historians and legal scholars agree that we are facing uncharted political waters and most citizens—politics aside—want to know where the country is headed. Professor Lichtman has correctly predicted every Presidential election since 1984, including the election of 2016. Now, he is focusing on the 45th President of the United States, demonstrating his view that it is not a question of if President Trump will be impeached, but a question of when.