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The Conservative Assault on the Constitution

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  • Posted March 15, 2011

    Leans HARD to the left.

    First thing I noticed is that the editors review for an obviously left wing book is ENORMOUS! hmmmm..... Makes me wonder about politics being played here as I've never seen more than a few sentences of actual review written for any conservative literature. Second; Erwin Chemerinsky is a leftist. A liberal. A constitutional/judicial activist who believes that constitution should be re-molded as we go along. He believes in gun control, truncating peoples rights (elitism), abortion, and gay marriage. All this puts him firmly in the left wing & liberal camp. Don't get me wrong, he's stood up and been counted and come in on the side of reason and what's right on more than a few occasions, but when looking at this book, you need to remember the ideological direction he's coming from, because this book is written from THAT perspective.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A great read for anyone interested in the protection of individual liberties under the Constitution.

    What a great read by constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky. This book is filled with so much legal insight and anecdotal evidence of how conservative ideology has limited certain individual rights granted under the Constitution through decisions made by preceding Supreme Courts--especially during the liberalism of the Warren Court era.

    Chemerinsky shows through several legal categories how the Supreme Court in the last thirty years has changed the makeup of constitutional law in unprecedented fashion. According to Chemerinsky, conservatives on the highest court have greatly limited due process rights granted to criminals by denying them their petition of habeas corpus; have attempted to knock down the wall separating church and state by narrowly reading, or ignoring all together, the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses under the First Amendment; they have greatly expanded sovereign immunity to be applicable to the States--virtually making suit against state governments impossible even if one's constitutional rights were purposely violated by the actions of state officials; also they have shown judicial irresponsibility by showing deference to the expansion of executive power by allowing the president to exercise powers not guaranteed, or granted, under the Constitution.

    But the issue that appears to be one of the most disturbing is the thirty years of the conservatives' assault on desegregation and affirmative action, thus making the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education nothing more than a relic of the Warren Court. Starting with President Nixon's desire to effectively end busing laws (i.e. an effective measure needed to desegregate schools), conservatives have sought to end desegregation by allowing schools and neighborhoods to re-segregate along the lines of economic disparity. Similarly, affirmative action has been wrongfully denounced by conservatives as lending favoritism to minority groups, when in fact, affirmative action is necessary in order to give minorities a chance at professional and educational opportunities not granted to them under the majority interests in the political sphere.

    What I take most from this book is the display of hypocrisy often shown by judicial conservatives. Conservatives claim that they abide by judicial restraint, adhering to the intent of the Framers, and that their interpretation of the Constitution is "merely applying the law, not making law." But, as this book effectively argues, such conservative rhetoric is far from the truth. Conservatives are known for displaying judicial activism just as much as liberals. Bush v.Gore showed that the entire election of the presidency was handed to George W. Bush by the decision of the Supreme Court (by it's five conservative justices). Furthermore, conservatives tend to practice judicial activism when it comes to gun rights by expanding the Right to Bear Arms Clause to apply to individuals, yet they ignore the State Militia Clause which was the reason for the ratification of the Second Amendment.

    Adhering strictly to the Framers intent, and strict construction, is another part of the conservative rhetoric wholly unprecedented in American jurisprudence. The problem with this view is quite evident: it is not always clear what the Framers intended when it comes to deciding tough constitutional issues, and how to apply them to the Constitution.

    Regardless of whether you are liberal or conservative, this is a must read book fo

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2011

    Excellent if interested in law and/or politics

    From the beginning to the end, the text shows why the concept of original intent is not applied. The ideology of the Justices is dictating the outcome of Court decisions. It is scary to see how the Supreme Court is empowering corporations and eroding liberty in the name of the Founding Fathers. This book points out that Justice is not blind.

    The book is not an easy read because the details are needed to show the differences in Court decisions and the Constitution. However, it is not written as a dense law textbook. Many heartfelt cases are presented that highlight the shift to the right of Court.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2011

    Important and well-researched reading.

    The current political climate is perplexing if not frightening. Chemerinsky tells it like it is. A must read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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