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Book by Chemerinsky, Erwin...

Title : The Conservative Assault on the Constitution
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ISBN : 9781416574682
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Conservative Assault on the Constitution Reviews

  • Sarah Anne
    2019-04-29 09:16

    When I actually really looked at this title I thought that it would be interesting information but not in any way unbiased. I was rather surprised by the content because although it's told from a liberal view point, he actually is describing something that's like the erosion of the rights that the Constitution is meant to protect. It's basically about how liberals view the rights in the Constitution more broadly and conservatives more narrowly. The title itself is important because the way that conservatives typically view this goes against what the original Constitution was meant to protect, not that they're immoral. As the author said: "What's wrong, though, with the Nixon, Reagan, Bush approach to executive power, especially in areas of foreign policy and fighting terrorism? Since leaving office, Dick Cheney has been vociferous in defending his view that they are needed to protect the nation.At the risk of saying the obvious, checking executive power was a central goal of the American Constitution. For the framers of the Constitution, executive power was the authority most to be feared. Having endured the tyranny of the king of England, the framers viewed the principle of separation of powers as the central guarantee of a just government."So, although he disagrees with the Supreme Court decisions that are discussed in this book, he's approaching it from the perspective of what the Constitution was meant to do. He also points out that the U.S. is actually a constitutional democracy rather than a pure democracy. If it was a pure democracy then we could go by majority rule instead of using judicial review.He also addressed the concept of sovereign immunity, saying that "A doctrine derived from the premise that 'a king can do no wrong' deserves no place in American law. The United States was founded on rejection of monarchy and royal prerogatives. American government is based on the fundamental recognition that the government and government officials can do wrong and must be held accountable. Sovereign immunity undermines that basic notion."I think his explanation about the separation of church and state was one of the more interesting aspects of this book. His explanation is that the separation is to protect the religious minority, partially so that they don't feel coerced, and partially so that they feel that the government represents all Americans instead of just the majority.Over this last 6+ months I've been trying to understand liberal vs conservative viewpoints in this country. What I'm getting from everything I'm reading is that it comes down to Human Rights vs America's Roots. My confusion is this: What are America's Roots if not the Constitution?This is something that I'm determined to understand. In the meantime I feel that the author's final thoughts are something that I find can agree with:"My vision for reclaiming the Constitution is not radical; it is a vision that the Warren Court embodied and pursued. The central notion is that society is best off having an institution - the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary - largely insulated from marjoritarian politics to enforce the Constitution and give it meaning… In doing so, the court should be guided by the Constitution's underlying goal of creating a more perfect union, of upholding the decency of every individual, and of advancing liberty and equality in society."

  • Mark Prak
    2019-05-12 12:09

    Not impressive at all. Erwin seems to think that anything done with 5 votes by the Warren Court was carved in stone, but anything done by 5 other justices that he disagrees with is an abomination. His desire for a results oriented jurisprudence has created the problem of which he complains. First work of his I'd read. I expected more. And I was disappointed in his blatantly political and extreme left wing world view.

  • Christopher
    2019-05-04 09:59

    Enjoyable, accessible book for law nerds and only occasionally laundry-listy. And, yes, I did carry it across the office once to answer a question, which was very satisfying.

  • Bonni
    2019-05-05 11:04

    In the past, when I have heard about "a side" not respecting the constitution, the criticism is usually lobbed at liberals. Chermerinsky's view is quite different. He gives examples of how, since President Nixon's nomination of four conservative supreme court justices, many 5-4 court decisions have chipped away at some of our fundamental, constitutional rights. I walk away after reading this book knowing a lot more about the constitution and the supreme court. If you are looking for a balanced view of how both conservatives and liberals have brought in to question the rights afforded to us through the constitution, look elsewhere. The very title of the book lets you know what you're in for, before you even get started on the first page. I enjoyed Chemerinsky's narrative writing style, and the book's overall organization. We had the pleasure of hearing him speak a couple of months ago and the same disciplined organizational style that he uses in oration also comes through in his writing.

  • Tarren Lopez
    2019-05-14 08:29

    What an amazing and frightening book! I love love loved it!

  • Book
    2019-04-27 08:11

    The Conservative Assault on the Constitution by Erwin Chemerinsky The Conservative Assault on the Constitution is a must read book for anyone who cares about the application of the Constitution. And who better to educate us on it than distinguished law professor and constitutional expert Erwin Chemerinsky? Mr. Chemerinsky takes us through a series of the most interesting legal issues of our time and the impact that the composition of the Supreme Court has on such legal decisions. Fascinating book indeed even to a person like me who is most inclined to reading books about science or religion. The book is composed of the following six chapters: Separate and Unequal Schools, The Imperious Presidency, Dismantling the Wall Separating Church and State, The Vanishing Rights of Criminal Defendants, The Erosion of Individual Liberties and the Closing of the Courthouse Doors. It also includes a conclusion and an incisive introduction. Positives: 1. A well written, clearly laid out book that shows how Supreme Court decisions impact our lives. 2. Constitutional law in plain English by a distinguished lawyer. 3. This book was a treat to read from cover to cover. 4. Every conceivable important legal issue was covered in this book. 5. One of the most important decisions a President has to make is the appointment of Supreme Court Judges. A point that is clearly made with luxury of details. As an example, President Nixon had four vacancies to fill by contrast President Carter had none. Such decisions leave a permanent mark in our history. 6. Great history on the selection of various Judges and how their voting record actually turned out versus the original perception. Examples of the aforementioned include Justices Souter and O'Connor. 7. A great lesson on how our schools are in fact separate and unequal. 8. My favorite chapter has to do with the dismantling of the wall of separation of Church and State. Justice Souter stated "compelling an individual to support religion violates the fundamental principal of freedom of conscience". 9. Great supporting information abound to support the author's key points. Many great links to studies. 10. So many great issues discussed: three strikes, assisted death, abortion, criminal rights, personal injuries, individual liberties, etc... 11. Interesting and fascinating tidbits about some of the Justices and their voting history. As an example, Justice Thomas may well in fact be the most conservative Justice of the Supreme Court. 12. One of the most eye-opening books that clearly demonstrates a direct correlation with our lives. Negatives: 1. Conservatives are most likely not inclined to read this book but should. 2. I would have liked to have seen illustrations showing the composition of the courts over the years (eras if you will) and voting records on the most important issues. As an example, we know that the Warren Court was a liberal court and I would have liked the composition of that court and a summary of most important cases. It would have certainly have enhanced this great book. 3. Having to wait for Mr. Chemerinsky's next book. In summary, a fascinating book that focuses on how conservative Justices have assaulted our Constitution. An eloquently written book that conveys profound legal concepts for the masses, an accomplishment indeed. I want to thank Mr. Chemerinsky for making this book accessible and interesting. I can't recommend this book enough. Bravo!

  • Ryan
    2019-04-24 07:16

    A really well-informed and well argued book concerning the last 45 years or so of Supreme Court decisions. Especially relevant to me is the rejection of the myth of "original intent." The author absolutely slays the argument that judges even have the capacity to act as impartial interpreters of the Constitution. Showing how it's impossible to judge on Constitutional matters without making value choices and sifting through layers of abstractions found in a 200+ year old document, Chemerinsky obliterates the conservative claim that they are strict originalists fighting against liberal judicial activism. Judicial activism (whether you consider it a good or bad thing) is something that is unavoidable, as everyone who is human brings their own life experiences to any decision. Combine this on the Supreme Court with considerations for modern circumstances, and the differing arguments and briefs of lawyers before the Court, it's impossible to ever have a purely original interpretation. Not to mention that the writers of the Constitution vehemently disagreed amongst themselves over the interpretation of their own document, you see that it's imperative we stop with the nonsensical understanding of judges as impartial referees. If there is anything that is unmistakable in the Framers' original intent it is that the Constitution should act as a check on the will of the majority, and protect unpopular minorities (whether racial, political, criminal etcetera). To me this goes without saying, but in recent decisions the Court has deferred not to the rights of minorities but to what the majority wants. For example, in a recent case involving a monument of the Ten Commandments on a Texas statehouse lawn, the Court allowed it to remain although it was in clear violation of the First Amendment. In explaining why this decision was made, Scalia said that since Christians, Jews, and Muslims make up 97.7% of all believers in the U.S. (and they all hold that the Ten Commandments were given by God to man), that having this monument does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. What Scalia fails to realize is that a) even among those groups, their interpretation of the meaning and importance (and even the order) of the Ten Commandments is vastly different, and b) the 97.7% don't need protection from the Constitution. That's not why it was designed. It's the 2.3% of Americans who either hold differing beliefs or no religious belief that need to be shielded from the government promoting, even in seemingly innocuous ways, one religion over another. That's the purpose of the Constitution, and this long-term commitment to minority rights has been abandoned for short-term political whims over the last three decades. The author sees this as an unfortunate aberration and is optimistic that the Court will return to protecting minority rights, since that has been the historical trajectory of this country (in fits and starts). While an ugly process in the details, we have indeed gone from a country of slaves to a country of Affirmative Action. I hope the author is right and I hope that history is a guide for us so that we do not lose the long term vision we need to prevent the establishment of unchecked majoritarian rule with little minority protections.

  • Brett
    2019-05-20 07:19

    This book is a high-level review of the conservative drift of the Supreme Court beginning with the Justices appointed by Richard Nixon. It is pretty effective in describing how this drift has happened and the practical effects of this drift in a variety of kinds of constitutional law cases.Chemerinsky is a law professor who has argued in front of the Supreme Court on several of the cases he writes about. The parts of the book where he can tell a narrative from his own viewpoint about the progression of a case are some of best parts of the book. He occasionally falls prey to the desire to throw out number after number in a way that becomes deadening to the reader when he is not writing from his own experience. However, the book is not scholarly in the strict sense. Chemerinsky is a partisan and this is essentially intended for partisan audiences. His view on the nonsense that is originalism are entirely accurate. On the whole he gives a useful thumbnail of the steady movement of the court to the right, how this has changed life for Americans, and how it could continue to change our country to an even larger extent if it continues.

  • Michael DelMuro
    2019-05-19 11:06

    Everything you assume Chemerinsky wrote about in this book is true:- The right wing assault on our rights is occurring- Alito, Roberts, Thomas, Scalia and Kennedy like corporations and government power- There's a major disconnect (double speak?) between what conservatives say they look for in a judge and what type of judges they nominate. Chemerinsky argues that the idea of a judge as an "umpire" is a false one and that that is one of the real problems with judges today. One problem for me was that nearly every case discussed in this book is a case Chemerisky argued and lost. While I whole-heartedly agree with his premise that conservatives are killing this country, some of those who aren't as far left as me could just take his argument as the ravings of a sore loser.

  • jeffrey
    2019-05-23 04:27

    I agree with most of the prior reviews- this is an excellently and clearly written work that is a must read, particularly near presidential election time. Voters should keep in mind that the effects of who they elect as the leader of this country will far outlast his or her actual years in office if that president has the opportunity to appoint judges to the Supreme bench.A caveat- while I mostly agreed with the author's premise, he presumes the reader already shares his viewpoint on the desired outcome of the various topics he covers.

  • Leroy
    2019-05-04 05:06

    Excellent book. Explains in fairly good detail how many of the apparently inexplicable declines in civil liberties have come about as the direct efforts of the influential conservative justices who have interpreted the Constitution. Chemerinsky also offers recommendations for how to reverse these declines, although in some respects these remedies depend upon the unpredictable results of elections and historical events, both of which can have profound effects on the composition of the Supreme Court.

  • The Book : An Online Review at The New Republic
    2019-05-09 08:06

    The conservative assault on the Constitution began with the election of Richard Nixon, who promised to appoint Supreme Court justices to reverse Warren Court precedents of the previous fifteen years. Under the leadership of Chief Justice Warren, the Court had desegregated schools, strengthened the rights of criminal defendants, advanced the right of privacy, and limited the role of religion in public life. Read more...

  • Mark
    2019-05-12 06:12

    Chemerinsky argues "there is no such thing as a neutral method of interpreting the Constitution. All justices . . . have to make value choices about the meaning of the Constitution and how it applies to particular cases."

  • Rachel
    2019-04-23 06:07

    A great rallying cry for liberals (he's really preaching to the choir). Conservatives, it'll make your heads explode.

  • John Hawkins
    2019-05-15 10:23

    Looking forward to read. Pretty easy to notice in these times.

  • Logan Daugherty
    2019-05-05 04:03

    a horrifying yet intriguing expose on the lack of constitutional protection by the right.

  • Justin
    2019-04-24 11:18

    Another depressing political book, but definitely illuminating. Kinda makes me wish I had applied to go to law school at UCI and take Chemerinsky's Constitutional Law class.

  • Jamie Weiss
    2019-05-10 09:07

    Solid update analyzing the Supreme Court's conservative judicial activism of the last 30 years.