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The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era

by Akhil Reed Amar

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The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era
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Overview

Overview

The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era by Akhil Reed Amar

"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.

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Product Details
ISBN-13:
9780465096336
9780465096336
Publisher:
Basic Books
Basic Books
Publication date:
09/13/2016
Pages:
464
464
Sales rank:
275,356
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)
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About the Author

About the Author

Akhil Reed Amar is the Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University. The author of several books, including America's Unwritten Constitution, and the winner of awards from both the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society, Amar lives in Woodbridge, Connecticut.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Constitution on Deadline 1

Part I Modern Branches

1 The Presidency: A Return to Dynasty? 23

2 The Vice Presidency: Nothing, but Maybe Everything 49

3 The Congress: How to Fix a Broken Branch 85

4 The Judiciary: Who Judges the Judges? 111

Part II Culture Wars

5 Criminal Procedure: From O. J. to DNA 155

6 Citizens Dis-United: Race, Guns, Gays, and More 217

7 Constitutional Anniversaries: Remembering to Remember 255

Part III Presidential Dramas

8 Bill Clinton's Drama: His Partisan Impeachment 273

9 George W. Bush's Drama: His Un-Popular Election 327

10 Barack Obama's Drama: His Signature Statute 359

Conclusion: Just, in Time 399

Acknowledgments 411

Permissions 415

Notes 417

Index 431

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Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

07/25/2016
Yale law professor Amar (The Law of the Land), a frequent New York Times contributor, would seem the perfect choice to provide an accessible and engrossing look at current constitutional issues. Unfortunately, that’s not what this volume is. Instead of providing concise, original examinations of legal and cultural conflicts, Amar reprints dozens of previously written essays, including ones that are far from timely; for example, one advocates that the U.S. Supreme Court change its policies to allow note taking by the audience at oral arguments, and easy access to transcripts of those arguments—a change that has since been made. Dated references, such as to a possible Romney/Christie slate in 2012, are a distraction that updated, reworked entries would have avoided. These aren’t the only flaws—some points (suggesting that Hillary Clinton might win the presidency “in part based on her strong support” of Supreme Court judicial candidate Merrick Garland) are, at best, a logical stretch, and Amar veers too close to self-congratulation in his speculations about the influence of some of his writings. This is a missed opportunity that the knowledgeable and insightful Amar could still realize in a future book. (Sept.)

Publishers Weekly
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