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Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws First Printing Edition
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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 Rights are not an arbitrary gift from the state to be withdrawn at the caprice of the rulers but are objective requirements for human beings if they are to live to their full potential.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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Andy knows his stuff. The White House pretender should take lessons.Published 4 months ago by Howard C. Mayberry, Jr.
good book.Judge Napolitano is probably the most knowledgeable judge concerning Federal crime out therePublished 16 months ago by cshpy
The best man to speak on subjects on a constitutional basis. Wish he was a Supreme Justice.Published 16 months ago by Panther Page
Love the Judge and everything he writes! This one explains why the country is in such deep fertilizer!Published 20 months ago by Brian Wilson
This book was put in my hands by a family member who knows I enjoy political reads. Andrew Napolitano is one of few media personalities that I respect. Read morePublished 22 months ago by K. Burns
Although I don't personally agree with all his views, I sure am glad Judge Napolitano writes these books. There are too few sources of truth available to American citizens.Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer