Our nation’s polarizing politics play out in vehement debates about how the Constitution is to be interpreted. Strict constructionists (including Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia), with their emphasis on the document as written by the framers, square off against those who believe in an evolving process of interpretation more relevant to modern times. Legal scholar Karlan, former clerk to Justice Harry Blackmun and former NAACP counsel, explores the political tensions behind interpretations of the Constitution as well as the complex relationship between the Supreme Court and the democratic process. The court’s decisions on crucial issues, from political fund-raising to voter registration, impact elections that in turn impact the selection of future Supreme Court members, making debate about the Constitution more than academic. She sharply focuses on the intersection of politics and Supreme Court decisions and controversial issues from capital punishment to same-sex marriage to gun control. Karlan ends with a plea for greater attention to the meaning of the Constitution to ordinary citizens. This is a highly informative and accessible look at our nation’s governing document. --Vanessa Bush
This is a highly informative and accessible look at our nation's governing document.