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Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws Hardcover – November 11, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0785260837 ISBN-10: 0785260838

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Andrew P. Napolitano is Senior Judicial Analyst for Fox News Channel and the author of Constitutional Chaos, The Constitution in Exile, A Nation of Sheep, Dred Scotts Revenge, Lies the Government Told You, It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong, and Theodore and Woodrow.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785260838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785260837
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,163,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This was a very well written book.
C. roper
It is inconceivable that either one of us would go to jail because of what one of us says to another.
It is a wake up call to all who love freedom!
Frank Horn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

270 of 278 people found the following review helpful By Bob Meyer on December 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Many authors have produced compendia of modern legalized atrocities but Judge Andrew P. Napolitano's "Constitutional Chaos" is much more than a list of complaints, it shows the philosophy behind the growth of tyranny.

The Theory:

The judge begins by describing the two competing legal theories of individual rights. The first asserts that man's rights are inherent within man's nature which, in Napolitano's view, comes from God. Rights are not an arbitrary gift from the state to be withdrawn at the caprice of the rulers but are objective requirements for human beings if they are to live to their full potential. Legislated laws are subordinate to rights and can only be justified in terms of man's nature, hence the name "Natural Law". Man-made laws are attempts to codify the natural law and laws that are inconsistent with natural law may rightfully be struck down by judges.

The second theory holds that rights are creations of the state and are no more natural than speed limits or bans on pornography. Rights are simply expedient grants of free action conferred upon individuals by a government representing a democratic majority. Rights may be increased, decreased, revised or removed at any time for any reason. All laws that are democratically passed are, ipso facto, proper laws and no law may be challenged on any but procedural grounds. This theory goes by the name "Legal Positivism".

Napolitano is, in his own words, a born-again individualist who is firmly in the first camp. While this puts him in a tradition leading from ancient Greece through to Thomas Aquinas and on to the Founding Fathers it also places him outside the mainstream of modern legal thought.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By RealDeal on October 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a very well-written and insightful book that will shock many people who are unaware of the government's own blatant and flagrant abuses of the law. This recent interview with Judge Napolitano gives a good idea of what you will find in this bok.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review

October 8, 2005 Saturday

LENGTH: 1725 words

HEADLINE: Freedom, 'the default position'

BYLINE: Bill Steigerwald


Judge Andrew Napolitano, who appears as a legal analyst on more Fox News Channels shows than anyone can count, is a judge no more. But before he became the most steadfast defender of civil liberties on TV, Napolitano was a life-tenured Superior Court judge in New Jersey who saw the serial abuse of government power every day in his courtroom.

His 2004 book, "Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws," details those abuses. With cover-blurbs from both Rush Limbaugh and Nat Hentoff, it also explains his political journey from a super-hawkish Richard Nixon supporter during his undergraduate days at Princeton University in the late 1960s to "a born-again individualist" who says the Patriot Act is "the most abominable assault on human liberty by the Congress since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798."

Napolitano, a regular or "The Big Story with John Gibson" and "The O'Reilly Factor," calls himself "a small-government Barry Goldwater Republican who believes in maximum individual liberty." When I talked to him by phone from his offices in New York on Oct. 5, he was still underwhelmed by President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

Q: Will Miers hurt or help the health of the Constitution?

A: That's a great question.
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84 of 94 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Judge Napolitano is a regular contributor on FoxNews, and can be relied upon as one who truly strives to be fair and balanced. In this book, he seeks to do that by analyzing how the Constitution is fairing in recent judicial times. His judgment is that it is chaos.

He believes in natural law basis which then gives inalienable rights, that is rights that cannot be overturned or suspended for the sake of majority vote. He emphasizes at the end that we are a republic, not a democracy just so that the majority cannot take away individual rights. He sees this happening in many areas of our judicial system: right to bear arms, free speech, bribery of witnesses, breaking law to enforce, etc. In these, he provides examples, not just theory. Those interested might check out John Warwick Montgomery's book: Law Above the Law.

He then takes on the current administration for their suspending rights due to terrorism prevention. This is only area the Judge makes which does not have my full support. There must be more(hopefully so) to the story than we know. Yet, that too is scary part because can the government hide behind national security interests and strip ordinary citizens? Napolitano makes a strong point here: "We are a nation of laws, not men, and no president is president forever."

This will truly get one thinking. His chapter on "What We Can Do?" is enlightening.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Williams Reader on November 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a must read for anyone who cares about liberty and freedom in America, whether you are conservative or liberal, red state or blue state. Judge Napolitano highlights gross abuses of power by the police, by prosecutors, by local governments, by the Attorney General-- and even by judges-- that should make us all shiver, especially in this age of increased government surveillance and enforcement power used supposedly in the name of our safety. Judge Napolitano clearly explains the law and our rights-- and the threat to those rights posed by over-reaching government officials. This book is incredibly compelling and should serve as a strong wake-up call.
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