Understanding the Constitution Through Ten of Its Most Curious Provisions
Author: Jay Wexler
"An innovative, insightful, and often humorous look at the Constitution's lesser-known clauses, offering a fresh approach to understanding our democracy. In this captivating and witty book, Jay Wexler draws on his extensive background in constitutional law to shine a much-deserved light on some of the Constitution's lesser-known parts. For a variety of reasons, many of the Constitution's "odd clauses" never make it to any court, and therefore never make headlines or even law school classrooms that teach from judicial decisions. Wexler delves into many of those more obscure passages, which he uses to illuminate the essence of our democratic process, including our tripartite government; the principles of equality, liberty, and privacy; and the integrity of our democracy"--
Practical Virtue in Action
Author: John R. Vile
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
The Writing and Ratification of the U.S. Constitution: Practical Virtue in Action examines the events surrounding the development of the U.S. Constitution. Setting these events within the context of the colonial conflict with Britain and the experience with state constitutions under the Articles of Confederation, John R. Vile discusses the delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the major plans and proposals that delegates offered, and the arguments that delegates made both in the Convention and in subsequent state ratifying debates that ultimately led to the adoption of the U.S. Bill of Rights. Vile contends that the Convention and subsequent ratifying conventions were not mere exercises in political theory but practical attempts to formulate a workable government that all the states would ratify. Focusing chiefly on records of debates at the Convention, the book is a legal brief, identifying key facts, issues, arguments, and compromises, and providing a unique window into the contestation surrounding this keystone American political moment. This book is perfect for scholars and students in the field of American political history and development.
A World-Wide Journey to Places Where Religious Practice and Environmentalism Collide
Author: Jay Wexler
Publisher: Beacon Press
In this lively, round-the-world trip, law professor and humorist Jay Wexler explores the intersection of religion and the environment. Did you know that * In Hong Kong and Singapore, Taoists burn paper money to appease "hungry ghosts," filling the air with smoke and dangerous toxins? * In Mumbai, Hindus carry twenty-foot-tall plaster of Paris idols of the elephant god Ganesh into the sea and leave them on the ocean floor to symbolize the impermanence of life, further polluting the scarce water resources of western India? * In Taiwan, Buddhists practicing "mercy release" capture millions of small animals and release them into inappropriate habitats, killing many of the animals and destroying ecosystems? * In Central America, palm frond sales to US customers for Palm Sunday celebrations have helped decimate the rain forests of Guatemala and southern Mexico? * In New York, Miami, and other large US cities, Santeria followers sprinkle mercury in their apartments to fend off witches, poisoning those homes for years to come? * In Israel, on Lag B'omer, a holiday commemorating a famous rabbi, Jews make so many bonfires that the smoke can be seen from space, and trips to the emergency room for asthma and other pulmonary conditions spike? Law professor and humorist Jay Wexler travels the globe in order to understand the complexity of these problems and learn how society can best address them. He feasts on whale blubber in northern Alaska, bumps along in the back of a battered jeep in Guatemala, clambers down the crowded beaches of Mumbai, and learns how to pluck a dead eagle in Colorado, all to answer the question "Can religious practice and environmental protection coexist?"
Author: Jay Wexler
Read this hilarious fictional account of a Supreme Court justice with a serious mid-life crises. But where most men would buy a sports car, Ed Tuttle s rethinking of his life can have very serious consequences far beyond his own home. You'll never look at the Supreme Court again the same way after reading this funny, but remarkably poignant look at life."
A Reader's Guide to the U.S. Constitution
Author: Garrett Epps
Publisher: Oxford University Press
"The United States is the only nation in the world in which political leaders, judges and soldiers all swear allegiance not to a king or a people but to a document, the Constitution. The Constitution today, however, is much revered but little read. . Readers of AMERICAN EPIC will never think of the Constitution in quite the same way again. Garrett Epps, a legal scholar who is also a journalist and writer of prize-winning fiction, takes readers on a literary tour of the Constitution, finding in it much that is interesting, puzzling, praiseworthy, and sometimes hilarious. Reading the Constitution like a literary work yields a host of meanings that shed new light on what it means to be an American"--
Conservative Lawyers and the Remaking of American Government
Author: Assistant Professor of American Studies and Political Science Jefferson Decker
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Cause lawyers
In 1973, a group of California lawyers formed a non-profit, public-interest legal foundation dedicated to defending conservative principles in court. Calling themselves the Pacific Legal Foundation, they declared war on the U.S. regulatory state--the sets of rules, legal precedents, and bureaucratic processes that govern the way Americans do business. Believing that the growing size and complexity of government regulations threatened U.S. economy and infringed on property rights, Pacific Legal Foundation began to file a series of lawsuits challenging the government's power to plan the use of private land or protect environmental qualities. By the end of the decade, they had been joined in this effort by spin-off legal foundations across the country. The Other Rights Revolution explains how a little-known collection of lawyers and politicians--with some help from angry property owners and bulldozer-driving Sagebrush Rebels--tried to bring liberal government to heel in the final decades of the twentieth century. Decker demonstrates how legal and constitutional battles over property rights, preservation, and the environment helped to shape the political ideas and policy agendas of modern conservatism. By uncovering the history--including the regionally distinctive experiences of the American West--behind the conservative mobilization in the courts, Decker offers a new interpretation of the Reagan-era right.
Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam
Author: Talal Asad
Publisher: JHU Press
In Geneologies of Religion, Talal Asad explores how religion as a historical category emerged in the West and has come to be applied as a universal concept. The idea that religion has undergone a radical change since the Christian Reformation—from totalitarian and socially repressive to private and relatively benign—is a familiar part of the story of secularization. It is often invokved to explain and justify the liberal politics and world view of modernity. And it leads to the view that "politicized religions" threaten both reason and liberty. Asad's essays explore and question all these assumptions. He argues that "religion" is a construction of European modernity, a construction that authorizes—for Westerners and non-Westerners alike—particular forms of "history making." -- James R. Wood
A Road Trip to the Battlegrounds of the Church/state Wars
Author: Jay Wexler
Publisher: Beacon Press (MA)
Presents the author's account of his visits to regions with the most hotly contested Supreme Court cases regarding separation of church and state, including the Austin Capitol where the Ten Commandments are controversially posted.
Author: Jay Wexler
Publisher: Quid Pro Books
A zoo with only black and white animals. A camp where children are forced to gather clams or face a trip to the 'hot box'; a Supreme Court Justice's confirmation hearing presided over by the 1977 Kansas City Royals. 'The Adventures of Ed Tuttle, Associate Justice, and Other Stories' transports one to these hilarious places and beyond. This world, according to Dan Kennedy, host of The Moth Storytelling Podcast, is ''where corporate cafeteria lunch servers blurt out Kierkegaard quotes to soften the hard luck of a low supply of the 'lunch beans'; that two raging alcoholic white collar workers crave daily; a world where an HMO in-network dentist hovers over patients and instead of asking about their flossing habits or aches, asks what it is that they like best about him; a world where television sitcoms are set on death row. That's nothing--that's the tip of the iceberg." These stories, illustrations, and other errata are as funny as they are strange, as wonderful as they are wacky. "This is funny stuff, and I hope that Jay Wexler will donate his brain to neuroscience so we can see what's up with it." --Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, 'How the Mind Works' "Jay Wexler is my kind of writer--a weird one, and a wry one, and one who isn't afraid to act silly in a sort of bait-and-switch that, to the reader's surprise, moves him as much as it makes him laugh. Like all the best comedians, Wexler is clearly nursing a heart that the world broke a long time ago. 'Ed Tuttle' is a book that can't decide what it wants to be when it grows up, but as with most cases of arrested development, there's something very serious going on behind all the antics. Plus, there are pictures."--Ron Currie, Jr., 'Everything Matters!' "Jay Wexler writes as if he has the ghost of James Thurber haunting him. These stories and sketches will hurt your gut and then tickle your brain. You need this humor. It'll be a hard week without it." --William Giraldi, 'Busy Monsters'
Contrasting Perspectives on the Voting Rights Act
Author: Daniel McCool
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Passed in 1965 during the height of the Civil Rights movement, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) changed the face of the American electorate, dramatically increasing minority voting, especially in the South. While portions of the Act are permanent, certain provisions were set to expire in 2007. Reauthorization of these provisions passed by a wide margin in the House, and unanimously in the Senate, but the lopsided tally hid a deep and growing conflict. The Most Fundamental Right is an effort to understand the debate over the Act and its role in contemporary American democracy. Is the VRA the cornerstone of civil rights law that prevents unfair voting practices, or is it an anachronism that no longer serves American democracy? Divided into three sections, the book utilizes a point/counterpoint approach. Section 1 explains the legal and political context of the Act, providing important background for what follows; Section 2 pairs three debates concerning specific provisions or applications of the Act; while Section 3 offers commentaries on the previous chapters from attorneys with widely divergent viewpoints.
American Law and the New Global Realities
Author: Stephen Breyer
"In this original, far-reaching, and timely book, Justice Stephen Breyer examines the work of the Supreme Court of the United States in an increasingly interconnected world, a world in which all sorts of activity, both public and private--from the conduct of national security policy to the conduct of international trade--obliges the Court to understand and consider circumstances beyond America's borders. It is a world of instant communications, lightning-fast commerce, and shared problems (like public health threats and environmental degradation), and it is one in which the lives of Americans are routinely linked ever more pervasively to those of people in foreign lands. Indeed, at a moment when anyone may engage in direct transactions internationally for services previously bought and sold only locally (lodging, for instance, through online sites), it has become clear that, even in ordinary matters, judicial awareness can no longer stop at the water's edge. To trace how foreign considerations have come to inform the thinking of the Court, Justice Breyer begins with that area of the law in which they have always figured prominently: national security in its constitutional dimension--how should the Court balance this imperative with others, chiefly the protection of basic liberties, in its review of presidential and congressional actions? He goes on to show that as the world has grown steadily "smaller," the Court's horizons have inevitably expanded: it has been obliged to consider a great many more matters that now cross borders. What is the geographical reach of an American statute concerning, say, securities fraud, antitrust violations, or copyright protections? And in deciding such matters, can the Court interpret American laws so that they might work more efficiently with similar laws in other nations? While Americans must necessarily determine their own laws through democratic process, increasingly, the smooth operation of American law--and, by extension, the advancement of American interests and values--depends on its working in harmony with that of other jurisdictions. Justice Breyer describes how the aim of cultivating such harmony, as well as the expansion of the rule of law overall, with its attendant benefits, has drawn American jurists into the relatively new role of "constitutional diplomats," a little remarked but increasingly important job for them in this fast-changing world."--Publisher's description.
Author: Jeremy Blachman
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
A wickedly funny debut novel about a high-powered lawyer whose shockingly candid blog about life inside his firm threatens to destroy him He's a hiring partner at one of the world's largest law firms. Brilliant yet ruthless, he has little patience for associates who leave the office before midnight or steal candy from the bowl on his secretary's desk. He hates holidays and paralegals. And he's just started a weblog to tell the world about what life is really like at the top of his profession. Meet Anonymous Lawyer—corner office, granite desk, and a billable rate of $675 an hour. The summer is about to start, and he's got a new crop of law school interns who will soon sign away their lives for a six-figure salary at the firm. But he's also got a few problems that require his attention. There's The Jerk, his bitter rival at the firm, who is determined to do whatever it takes to beat him out for the chairman's job. There's Anonymous Wife, who is spending his money as fast as he can make it. And there's that secret blog he's writing, which is a perverse bit of fun until he gets an e-mail from someone inside the firm who knows he's its author. Written in the form of a blog, Anonymous Lawyer is a spectacularly entertaining debut that rips away the bland façade of corporate law and offers a telling glimpse inside a frightening world. Hilarious and fiendishly clever, Jeremy Blachman's tale of a lawyer who lives a lie and posts the truth is sure to be one of the year's most talked-about novels.
Author: Robert H. Bork
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Category: Political Science
Judge Bork shares a personal account of the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on his nomination as well as his view on politics versus the law. In The Tempting of America, one of our most distinguished legal minds offers a brilliant argument for the wisdom and necessity of interpreting the Constitution according to the “original understanding” of the Framers and the people for whom it was written. Widely hailed as the most important critique of the nation’s intellectual climate since The Closing of the American Mind, The Tempting of America illuminates the history of the Supreme Court and the underlying meaning of constitutional controversy. Essential to understanding the relationship between values and the law, it concludes with a personal account of Judge Bork’s chillingly emblematic experiences during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on his Supreme Court nomination.
The Sullivan Case and the First Amendment
Author: Anthony Lewis
Category: Political Science
The First Amendment puts it this way: "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." Yet, in 1960, a city official in Montgomery, Alabama, sued The New York Times for libel -- and was awarded $500,000 by a local jury -- because the paper had published an ad critical of Montgomery's brutal response to civil rights protests. The centuries of legal precedent behind the Sullivan case and the U.S. Supreme Court's historic reversal of the original verdict are expertly chronicled in this gripping and wonderfully readable book by the Pulitzer Prize -- winning legal journalist Anthony Lewis. It is our best account yet of a case that redefined what newspapers -- and ordinary citizens -- can print or say.
Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution
Author: Jack N. Rakove
Category: Political Science
From abortion to same-sex marriage, today's most urgent political debates will hinge on this two-part question: What did the United States Constitution originally mean and who now understands its meaning best? Rakove chronicles the Constitution from inception to ratification and, in doing so, traces its complex weave of ideology and interest, showing how this document has meant different things at different times to different groups of Americans. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution
Author: Stephen Breyer
Category: Political Science
A brilliant new approach to the Constitution and courts of the United States by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.For Justice Breyer, the Constitution’s primary role is to preserve and encourage what he calls “active liberty”: citizen participation in shaping government and its laws. As this book argues, promoting active liberty requires judicial modesty and deference to Congress; it also means recognizing the changing needs and demands of the populace. Indeed, the Constitution’s lasting brilliance is that its principles may be adapted to cope with unanticipated situations, and Breyer makes a powerful case against treating it as a static guide intended for a world that is dead and gone. Using contemporary examples from federalism to privacy to affirmative action, this is a vital contribution to the ongoing debate over the role and power of our courts. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Robert Cooter
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Making, amending, and interpreting constitutions is a political game that can yield widespread suffering or secure a nation's liberty and prosperity. Given these high stakes, Robert Cooter argues that constitutional theory should trouble itself less with literary analysis and arguments over founders' intentions and focus much more on the real-world consequences of various constitutional provisions and choices. Pooling the best available theories from economics and political science, particularly those developed from game theory, Cooter's economic analysis of constitutions fundamentally recasts a field of growing interest and dramatic international importance. By uncovering the constitutional incentives that influence citizens, politicians, administrators, and judges, Cooter exposes fault lines in alternative forms of democracy: unitary versus federal states, deep administration versus many elections, parliamentary versus presidential systems, unicameral versus bicameral legislatures, common versus civil law, and liberty versus equality rights. Cooter applies an efficiency test to these alternatives, asking how far they satisfy the preferences of citizens for laws and public goods. To answer Cooter contrasts two types of democracy, which he defines as competitive government. The center of the political spectrum defeats the extremes in "median democracy," whereas representatives of all the citizens bargain over laws and public goods in "bargain democracy." Bargaining can realize all the gains from political trades, or bargaining can collapse into an unstable contest of redistribution. States plagued by instability and contests over redistribution should move towards median democracy by increasing transaction costs and reducing the power of the extremes. Specifically, promoting median versus bargain democracy involves promoting winner-take-all elections versus proportional representation, two parties versus multiple parties, referenda versus representative democracy, and special governments versus comprehensive governments. This innovative theory will have ramifications felt across national and disciplinary borders, and will be debated by a large audience, including the growing pool of economists interested in how law and politics shape economic policy, political scientists using game theory or specializing in constitutional law, and academic lawyers. The approach will also garner attention from students of political science, law, and economics, as well as policy makers working in and with new democracies where constitutions are being written and refined.
The Court's New Right-wing Bloc
Author: Ronald Dworkin
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Discusses the conservative shift in the Supreme court after the appointment of John Roberts and Samuel Alito in 2005 and the effect this shift may have on constitutional law, including abortion, affirmative action, and executive power.
Author: Walter Bagehot
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Category: Constitutional history
There is a great difficulty in the way of a writer who attempts to sketch a living Constitution-a Constitution that is in actual work and power. The difficulty is that the object is in constant change. An historical writer does not feel this difficulty: he deals only with the past; he can say definitely, the Constitution worked in such and such a manner in the year at which he begins, and in a manner in such and such respects different in the year at which he ends; he begins with a definite point of time and ends with one also. But a contemporary writer who tries to paint what is before him is puzzled and a perplexed: what he sees is changing daily. He must paint it as it stood at some one time, or else he will be putting side by side in his representations things which never were contemporaneous in reality.