The Constitution Today
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|Author by||: Akhil Reed Amar|
|Editor||: Basic Books|
"I don't think there is anyone in the academy these days capable of more patient and attentive reading of the constitutional text than Akhil Amar."--Jeremy Waldron, New York Review of Books When the stories that lead our daily news 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--from gun control to gay marriage, affirmative action to criminal procedure, presidential dynasties to congressional dysfunction, Bill Clinton's impeachment to Obamacare. He 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. Leading readers through the constitutional questions at stake in each episode while outlining his abiding views regarding the direction constitutional law must go, Amar offers an essential guide for anyone seeking to understand America's Constitution and its relevance today.
|Author by||: Akhil Reed Amar,Akhil Amar|
|Editor||: Basic Books|
Explores the little-understood relationship between the written Constitution and the many external factors that shape the interpretations of this foundational document.
|Author by||: Akhil Reed Amar|
|Editor||: Random House|
In America’s Constitution, one of this era’s most accomplished constitutional law scholars, Akhil Reed Amar, gives the first comprehensive account of one of the world’s great political texts. Incisive, entertaining, and occasionally controversial, this “biography” of America’s framing document explains not only what the Constitution says but also why the Constitution says it. We all know this much: the Constitution is neither immutable nor perfect. Amar shows us how the story of this one relatively compact document reflects the story of America more generally. (For example, much of the Constitution, including the glorious-sounding “We the People,” was lifted from existing American legal texts, including early state constitutions.) In short, the Constitution was as much a product of its environment as it was a product of its individual creators’ inspired genius. Despite the Constitution’s flaws, its role in guiding our republic has been nothing short of amazing. Skillfully placing the document in the context of late-eighteenth-century American politics, America’s Constitution explains, for instance, whether there is anything in the Constitution that is unamendable; the reason America adopted an electoral college; why a president must be at least thirty-five years old; and why–for now, at least–only those citizens who were born under the American flag can become president. From his unique perspective, Amar also gives us unconventional wisdom about the Constitution and its significance throughout the nation’s history. For one thing, we see that the Constitution has been far more democratic than is conventionally understood. Even though the document was drafted by white landholders, a remarkably large number of citizens (by the standards of 1787) were allowed to vote up or down on it, and the document’s later amendments eventually extended the vote to virtually all Americans. We also learn that the Founders’ Constitution was far more slavocratic than many would acknowledge: the “three fifths” clause gave the South extra political clout for every slave it owned or acquired. As a result, slaveholding Virginians held the presidency all but four of the Republic’s first thirty-six years, and proslavery forces eventually came to dominate much of the federal government prior to Lincoln’s election. Ambitious, even-handed, eminently accessible, and often surprising, America’s Constitution is an indispensable work, bound to become a standard reference for any student of history and all citizens of the United States.
|Author by||: Akhil Reed Amar|
|Editor||: Basic Books|
A history of the American Constitution's formative decades from a preeminent legal scholar When the US Constitution won popular approval in 1788, it was the culmination of thirty years of passionate argument over the nature of government. But ratification hardly ended the conversation. For the next half century, ordinary Americans and statesmen alike continued to wrestle with weighty questions in the halls of government and in the pages of newspapers. Should the nation's borders be expanded? Should America allow slavery to spread westward? What rights should Indian nations hold? What was the proper role of the judicial branch? In The Words that Made Us, Akhil Reed Amar unites history and law in a vivid narrative of the biggest constitutional questions early Americans confronted, and he expertly assesses the answers they offered. His account of the document's origins and consolidation is a guide for anyone seeking to properly understand America's Constitution today.
|Author by||: Ray Raphael|
Politicians come and go, but the Constitution stands as the supreme law of the land. Setting forth the workings of our democracy, it is the bedrock document from which we derive our policies on topics as diverse and galvanizing as immigration, gun ownership, voting rights, taxation, policing, civil liberties, and war. In this indispensable edition, acclaimed historian and Constitutional expert Ray Raphael guides us through the origins, impact, and current relevance of the original text and all twenty-seven amendments. Here is the key historical context for issues in the news today—from the Electoral College to Washington gridlock, from peaceful protests to executive power. Thoughtful and nuanced, lively and highly readable, this annotated Constitution is for all of us to read and refer to—the ultimate political fact-checking source for every American.
|Author by||: Gautam Bhatia|
|Editor||: Harper Collins|
| SHORTLISTED FOR THE TATA LITERATURE LIVE NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019 | We think of the Indian Constitution as a founding document, embodying a moment of profound transformation from being ruled to becoming a nation of free and equal citizenship. Yet the working of the Constitution over the last seven decades has often failed to fulfil that transformative promise. Not only have successive Parliaments failed to repeal colonial-era laws that are inconsistent with the principles of the Constitution, but constitutional challenges to these laws have also failed before the courts. Indeed, in numerous cases, the Supreme Court has used colonial-era laws to cut down or weaken the fundamental rights. The Transformative Constitution by Gautam Bhatia draws on pre-Independence legal and political history to argue that the Constitution was intended to transform not merely the political status of Indians from subjects to citizens, but also the social relationships on which legal and political structures rested. He advances a novel vision of the Constitution, and of constitutional interpretation, which is faithful to its text, structure and history, and above all to its overarching commitment to political and social transformation.
|Author by||: Cynthia Levinson,Sanford Levinson|
|Editor||: Peachtree Publishers|
Many of the political issues we struggle with today have their roots in the U.S. Constitution. Husband-and-wife team Cynthia and Sanford Levinson take readers back to the creation of this historic document and discuss how contemporary problems were first introduced―then they offer possible solutions. Think Electoral College, gerrymandering, even the Senate. Many of us take these features in our system for granted. But they came about through haggling in an overheated room in 1787, and we’re still experiencing the ramifications. Each chapter in this timely and thoughtful exploration of the Constitution’s creation begins with a story―all but one of them true―that connects directly back to a section of the document that forms the basis of our society and government. From the award-winning team, Cynthia Levinson, children’s book author, and Sanford Levinson, constitutional law scholar, Fault Lines in the Constitution will encourage exploration and discussion from young and old readers alike.
|Author by||: Kim Wehle|
"A must-read for this era.”—Jake Tapper, CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent An insightful, urgent, and perennially relevant handbook that lays out in common sense language how the United States Constitution works, and how its protections are eroding before our eyes—essential reading for anyone who wants to understand and parse the constantly breaking news about the backbone of American government. The Constitution is the most significant document in America. But do you fully understand what this valuable document means to you? In How to Read the Constitution--and Why, legal expert and educator Kimberly Wehle spells out in clear, simple, and common sense terms what is in the Constitution, and most importantly, what it means. In compelling terms and including text from the United States Constitution, she describes how the Constitution’s protections are eroding—not only in express terms but by virtue of the many legal and social norms that no longer shore up its legitimacy—and why every American needs to heed to this “red flag” moment in our democracy. This invaluable—and timely—resource includes the Constitution in its entirety and covers nearly every significant aspect of the text, from the powers of the President and how the three branches of government are designed to hold each other accountable, to what it means to have individual rights—including free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right to an abortion. Finally, the book explains why it has never been more important than now for all Americans to know how our Constitution works—and why, if we don’t step in to protect it now, we could lose its protections forever. How to Read the Constitution--and Why is essential reading for anyone who cares about maintaining an accountable government and the individual freedoms that the Constitution enshrines for everyone in America—regardless of political party.
|Author by||: Jamal Greene|
|Editor||: Houghton Mifflin|
An eminent constitutional scholar reveals how the explosion of rights is dividing America, and shows how we can build a better system of justice. You have the right to remain silent and the right to free speech. The right to worship, and to doubt. The right to be free from discrimination, and to hate. The right to marry and to divorce; to have children and to terminate a pregnancy. The right to life, and the right to own a gun. Rights are a sacred part of American identity. Yet they were an afterthought for the Framers, and early American courts rarely enforced them. Only as a result of the racial strife that exploded during the Civil War--and a series of resulting missteps by the Supreme Court--did rights gain such outsized power. The result is a system of legal absolutism that distorts our law and debases our politics. Over and again, courts have treated rights conflicts as zero-sum games in which awarding rights to one side means denying rights to others. As eminent legal scholar Jamal Greene shows in How Rights Went Wrong, we need to recouple rights with justice--before they tear society apart.
|Author by||: Nadiia Kudriashova|
|Editor||: GRIN Verlag|
Essay from the year 2018 in the subject Law - Public Law / Constitutional Law / Basic Rights, The University of Oklahoma, language: English, abstract: This essay discusses the US Constitution and its relevance today and asks whether the constitution meets the requirements of the contemporary world. It argues that the value of the US Constitution is ambiguous for different periods in the history of this country. For the first time it had a historically progressive character as contributed to the development of new relations of production. Its influence on the constitutional experiences of other countries, especially in the basic laws of Latin American countries, is of no doubt. As for the US Constitution itself, however, it now looks as moderately democratic document in many ways inferior to the basic laws of democracy in Western Europe and other regions of the contemporary world.
|Author by||: Alexander Hamilton,John Jay,James Madison|
|Editor||: Read Books Ltd|
Classic Books Library presents this brand new edition of “The Federalist Papers”, a collection of separate essays and articles compiled in 1788 by Alexander Hamilton. Following the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776, the governing doctrines and policies of the States lacked cohesion. “The Federalist”, as it was previously known, was constructed by American statesman Alexander Hamilton, and was intended to catalyse the ratification of the United States Constitution. Hamilton recruited fellow statesmen James Madison Jr., and John Jay to write papers for the compendium, and the three are known as some of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Alexander Hamilton (c. 1755–1804) was an American lawyer, journalist and highly influential government official. He also served as a Senior Officer in the Army between 1799-1800 and founded the Federalist Party, the system that governed the nation’s finances. His contributions to the Constitution and leadership made a significant and lasting impact on the early development of the nation of the United States.
|Author by||: Sanford Levinson|
|Editor||: Oxford University Press|
Levinson argues that too many of our Constitution's provisions promote either unjust or ineffective government. Under the existing blueprint, we can neither rid ourselves of incompetent presidents nor assure continuity of government following catastrophic attacks. Less important, perhaps, but certainly problematic, is the appointment of Supreme Court judges for life. Adding insult to injury, the United States Constitution is the most difficult to amend or update of any constitution currently existing in the world today. Democratic debate leaves few stones unturned, but we tend to take our basic constitutional structures for granted. Levinson boldly challenges the American people to undertake a long overdue public discussion on how they might best reform this most hallowed document and construct a constitution adequate to our democratic values. "Admirably gutsy and unfashionable." --Michael Kinsley, The New York Times "Bold, bracingly unromantic, and filled with illuminating insights. He accomplishes an unlikely feat, which is to make a really serious argument for a new constitutional convention, one that is founded squarely on democratic ideals." --Cass R. Sunstein, The New Republic "Everyone who cares about how our government works should read this thoughtful book." --Washington Lawyer
|Author by||: Geoffrey R. Stone|
|Editor||: Liveright Publishing|
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Selection A “volume of lasting significance” that illuminates how the clash between sex and religion has defined our nation’s history (Lee C. Bollinger, president, Columbia University). Lauded for “bringing a bracing and much-needed dose of reality about the Founders’ views of sexuality” (New York Review of Books), Geoffrey R. Stone’s Sex and the Constitution traces the evolution of legal and moral codes that have legislated sexual behavior from America’s earliest days to today’s fractious political climate. This “fascinating and maddening” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) narrative shows how agitators, moralists, and, especially, the justices of the Supreme Court have navigated issues as divisive as abortion, homosexuality, pornography, and contraception. Overturning a raft of contemporary shibboleths, Stone reveals that at the time the Constitution was adopted there were no laws against obscenity or abortion before the midpoint of pregnancy. A pageant of historical characters, including Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, Anthony Comstock, Margaret Sanger, and Justice Anthony Kennedy, enliven this “commanding synthesis of scholarship” (Publishers Weekly) that dramatically reveals how our laws about sex, religion, and morality reflect the cultural schisms that have cleaved our nation from its founding.
|Author by||: James Oakes|
|Editor||: W. W. Norton & Company|
An award-winning scholar uncovers the guiding principles of Lincoln’s antislavery strategies. The long and turning path to the abolition of American slavery has often been attributed to the equivocations and inconsistencies of antislavery leaders, including Lincoln himself. But James Oakes’s brilliant history of Lincoln’s antislavery strategies reveals a striking consistency and commitment extending over many years. The linchpin of antislavery for Lincoln was the Constitution of the United States. Lincoln adopted the antislavery view that the Constitution made freedom the rule in the United States, slavery the exception. Where federal power prevailed, so did freedom. Where state power prevailed, that state determined the status of slavery, and the federal government could not interfere. It would take state action to achieve the final abolition of American slavery. With this understanding, Lincoln and his antislavery allies used every tool available to undermine the institution. Wherever the Constitution empowered direct federal action—in the western territories, in the District of Columbia, over the slave trade—they intervened. As a congressman in 1849 Lincoln sponsored a bill to abolish slavery in Washington, DC. He reentered politics in 1854 to oppose what he considered the unconstitutional opening of the territories to slavery by the Kansas–Nebraska Act. He attempted to persuade states to abolish slavery by supporting gradual abolition with compensation for slaveholders and the colonization of free Blacks abroad. President Lincoln took full advantage of the antislavery options opened by the Civil War. Enslaved people who escaped to Union lines were declared free. The Emancipation Proclamation, a military order of the president, undermined slavery across the South. It led to abolition by six slave states, which then joined the coalition to affect what Lincoln called the "King’s cure": state ratification of the constitutional amendment that in 1865 finally abolished slavery.
|Author by||: Steven Levitsky,Daniel Ziblatt|
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Comprehensive, enlightening, and terrifyingly timely.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice) WINNER OF THE GOLDSMITH BOOK PRIZE • SHORTLISTED FOR THE LIONEL GELBER PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • Time • Foreign Affairs • WBUR • Paste Donald Trump’s presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we’d be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang—in a revolution or military coup—but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, by electing Trump, we have already passed the first one. Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies die—and how ours can be saved. Praise for How Democracies Die “What we desperately need is a sober, dispassionate look at the current state of affairs. Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, two of the most respected scholars in the field of democracy studies, offer just that.”—The Washington Post “Where Levitsky and Ziblatt make their mark is in weaving together political science and historical analysis of both domestic and international democratic crises; in doing so, they expand the conversation beyond Trump and before him, to other countries and to the deep structure of American democracy and politics.”—Ezra Klein, Vox “If you only read one book for the rest of the year, read How Democracies Die. . . .This is not a book for just Democrats or Republicans. It is a book for all Americans. It is nonpartisan. It is fact based. It is deeply rooted in history. . . . The best commentary on our politics, no contest.”—Michael Morrell, former Acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (via Twitter) “A smart and deeply informed book about the ways in which democracy is being undermined in dozens of countries around the world, and in ways that are perfectly legal.”—Fareed Zakaria, CNN
|Author by||: Akhil Reed Amar|
|Editor||: Basic Books (AZ)|
From Kennebunkport to Kauai, from the Rio Grande to the Northern Rockies, ours is a vast republic. While we may be united under one Constitution, separate and distinct states remain, each with its own constitution and culture. Geographic idiosyncrasies add more than just local character. Regional understandings of law and justice have shaped and reshaped our nation throughout history. America’s Constitution, our founding and unifying document, looks slightly different in California than it does in Kansas. In The Law of the Land, renowned legal scholar Akhil Reed Amar illustrates how geography, federalism, and regionalism have influenced some of the biggest questions in American constitutional law. Writing about Illinois, “the land of Lincoln,” Amar shows how our sixteenth president’s ideas about secession were influenced by his Midwestern upbringing and outlook. All of today’s Supreme Court justices, Amar notes, learned their law in the Northeast, and New Yorkers of various sorts dominate the judiciary as never before. The curious Bush v. Gore decision, Amar insists, must be assessed with careful attention to Florida law and the Florida Constitution. The second amendment appears in a particularly interesting light, he argues, when viewed from the perspective of Rocky Mountain cowboys and cowgirls. Propelled by Amar’s distinctively smart, lucid, and engaging prose, these essays allow general readers to see the historical roots of, and contemporary solutions to, many important constitutional questions. The Law of the Land illuminates our nation’s history and politics, and shows how America’s various local parts fit together to form a grand federal framework.
|Author by||: John Paul Stevens|
|Editor||: Little, Brown|
For the first time ever, a retired Supreme Court Justice offers a manifesto on how the Constitution needs to change. By the time of his retirement in June 2010, John Paul Stevens had become the second longest serving Justice in the history of the Supreme Court. Now he draws upon his more than three decades on the Court, during which he was involved with many of the defining decisions of the modern era, to offer a book like none other. SIX AMENDMENTS is an absolutely unprecedented call to arms, detailing six specific ways in which the Constitution should be amended in order to protect our democracy and the safety and wellbeing of American citizens. Written with the same precision and elegance that made Stevens's own Court opinions legendary for their clarity as well as logic, SIX AMENDMENTS is a remarkable work, both because of its unprecedented nature and, in an age of partisan ferocity, its inarguable common sense.
|Author by||: Adam Dodek|
The Hill Times: Best Books of 2016 A new, expanded edition of the first-ever primer on Canada’s Constitution — for anyone who wants to understand the supreme law of the land. The Canadian Constitution makes Canada’s Constitution readily accessible to readers. It includes the complete text of the Constitution Acts of 1867 and 1982 accompanied by an explanation of what each section means, along with a glossary of key terms, a short history of the Constitution, and a timeline of important constitutional events. The Canadian Constitution explains how the Supreme Court of Canada works, and describes the people and issues involved in leading constitutional cases. Author Adam Dodek, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, provides the only index so far to the Canadian Constitution, as well as fascinating background on the Supreme Court and the Constitution. This revised and expanded edition is a great primer for those coming to Canada’s Constitution for the first time, and a useful reference work for students and scholars.