The Supreme Court Review, 2012

University of Chicago Press
Free sample

For fifty years, The Supreme Court Review has been lauded for providing authoritative discussion of the court's most significant decisions. The Review is an in-depth annual critique of the Supreme Court and its work, keeping up on the forefront of the origins, reforms, and interpretations of American law. Recent volumes have considered such issues as post-9/11 security, the 2000 presidential election, cross-burning, federalism and state sovereignty, failed Supreme Court nominations, and numerous First- and Fourth-Amendment cases.
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About the author

Dennis J. Hutchinson is a senior lecturer in Law and the William Rainey Harper Professor in the College, Master of the New Collegiate Division, and associate dean of the College, the University of Chicago. Geoffrey E. Stone is the Harry Kalven Jr. Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. He is the coauthor of The First Amendment and coeditor of the annual Supreme Court Review. David A. Strauss is the Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law at the University of Chicago.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Jul 1, 2013
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9780226052151
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / Constitutional
Law / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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An in-depth look at the defining document of America

Want to make sense of the U.S. Constitution? This plain-English guide walks you through this revered document, explaining how the articles and amendments came to be and how they have guided legislators, judges, and presidents and sparked ongoing debates. You'll understand all the big issues — from separation of church and state to impeachment to civil rights — that continue to affect Americans' daily lives.

Get started with Constitution basics — explore the main concepts and their origins, the different approaches to interpretation, and how the document has changed over the past 200+ years

Know who has the power — see how the public, the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court share in the ruling of America

Balance the branches of government — discover what it means to be Commander in Chief, the functions of the House and Senate, and how Supreme Court justices are appointed

Break down the Bill of Rights — from freedom of religion to the prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishments," understand what the first ten amendments mean

Make sense of the modifications — see how amendments have reformed presidential elections, abolished slavery, given voting rights to women, and more

Open the book and find:

The text of the Constitution and its ammendments

Discussion of controversial issues including the death penalty, abortion, and gay marriage

Why the word "democracy" doesn't appear in the Constitution

What the Electoral College is and how it elects a President

Details on recent Supreme Court decisions

The Founding Fathers' intentions for balancing power in Washington

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.
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