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Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America Hardcover – February 7, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 500 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Conservative talk radio host, lawyer, and frequent National Review contributor Mark R. Levin comes out firing against the United States Supreme Court in Men in Black, accusing the institution of corrupting the ideals of America's founding fathers. The court, in Levin's estimation, pursues an ideology-based activist agenda that oversteps its authority within the government. Levin examines several decisions in the court's history to illustrate his point, beginning with the landmark Marbury v. Madison case, wherein the court granted itself the power to declare acts of the other branches of government unconstitutional. He devotes later chapters to other key cases culminating in modern issues such as same-sex marriage and the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill. Like effective attorneys do, Levin packs in copious research material and delivers his points with tremendous vigor, excoriating the justices for instances where he feels strict constit utional constructivism gave way to biased interpretation. But Levin's definition of "activism" seems inconsistent. In the case of McCain-Feingold, the court declined to rule on a bill already passed by congress and signed by the president, but Levin, who thinks the bill violates the First Amendment, still accuses them of activism even when they were actually passive. To his talk-radio listeners, Levin's hard-charging style and dire warnings of the court's direction will strike a resonant tone of alarm, though the hyperbole may be a bit off-putting to the uninitiated. As an attack on the vagaries of decisions rendered by the Supreme Court and on some current justices, Men in Black scores points and will likely lead sympathetic juries to conviction. --John Moe

From Publishers Weekly

The Supreme Court is speeding the country on the road to tyranny, according to this jeremiad from Levin, a conservative constitutional lawyer and radio talk show host. Levin argues that the Constitution is under siege by "judicial activists" obsessed with remaking America to reflect their personal political and moral philosophies. Liberal judges who view the Constitution as a document whose meaning evolves over time are at odds with the founding fathers' "clear and profound vision for what they wanted our federal government to be." "Activist judges," he says, "make, rather than interpret, the law." The author champions originalism, the conservative legal philosophy hinging on a narrow interpretation of the Constitution's text, and he contends that moving the judiciary back into the originalist fold could thwart the power grab by "radicals in robes." Levin traces trends in judicial activism through some of the Supreme Court's most famous cases, from Marbury v. Madison (1803), which enshrined the high court's power to weigh the constitutionality of presidential and congressional acts, to Roe v. Wade (1973). He also blasts affirmative action decisions, contending that the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause should be sufficient to combat racial discrimination. Levin is an ardent advocate, but at times his strident tone gets in the way of objective analyses of the system's flaws. Would the founders be as "appalled" by the present-day Supreme Court as Levin is? That's impossible to say, but many likeminded critics are certain to be galvanized by this spirited "clarion call," which is bookended by raves from conservative radio broadcaster Rush Limbaugh and former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing (February 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895260506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895260505
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (500 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark R. Levin is a nationally syndicated talk radio host and president of Landmark Legal Foundation. He has also worked as an attorney in the private sector and as a top adviser and administrator to several members of President Reagan's cabinet. He is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book Liberty and Tyranny, as well as New York Times bestselling books Rescuing Sprite and Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America, Mark holds a B.A. from Temple University and a J.D. from Temple University School of Law.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This book is for those who actually want to understand the Constitution and the power grab by the very institution with the responsibility for interpreting it--the Supreme Court.

The Court has the power to declare federal and state laws unconstitutional. That means a committee of nine unelected, unaccountable (life tenured) LAWYERS have a a veto power over our elected officials. To the extent that power is abused, the effect is to substitute oligarchy for democracy. Hence the phrase "judicial tyranny."

Until about fifty years ago, the governing principle for interpreting the Constitution was the understanding of the ratifiers when it was adopted, determined from the language of the document and the history and circumstances at the time. This "originalist" approach to Constitutional interpretation generally held sway until the 1960s, when some of the justices started speaking in terms of the Constitution as a "living" and "evolving" document with "penumbras." In other words, this committee of nine give themselves the right to "modernize" the Constitution by striking down laws enacted by elected legislators if they offend their individual sense of the "evolving standards" of society." They just know better than our elected officials.

A good example is the recent decision striking down all state sodomy laws. The first time the court considered this was in 1987, when a majority applied a originalist interpretation in concluding that the ratifiers could not have intended to create a constitutional right to sodomy. That was obvious given that sodomy was universally outlawed when the Constitution and relevant amendments were ratified and for over 150 years later.
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Format: Hardcover
Many historians talk about the huge increases in presidential power throughout history. Now however Mark Levin has done an excellent job of showing rather how the courts have, in effect, absolute power to push their social will on America. There is no checks and balances in place for activist judges. Their rulings are supreme. The book is also an excellent read to learn the history of the Supreme Court and various Supreme Court judges which presided over the court in the past. Whether you are liberal or conservative, you will find it hard to disagree with the points made in this book.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Overall, Americans tend to pay little attention to politics. When they do, the vast majority of that attention is focused on the Executive and Legislative Branches. As a result, the judicial branch has almost no accountability and becomes the weak link in the chain of Democracy. Levin shows that it is through this weak link that liberals are able to get their agendas voted in to law (bypassing the Congress, the President and the American people) simply by having a liberal judge impose their personal opinion on us under the guise of a "ruling". This is clearly not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.
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Format: Hardcover
There is arguably no issue of greater importance to the future of the American republic than how the coming war over nominations to the federal judiciary will turn out. President Bush has upped the ante considerably and admirably by making clear his intention to appoint to the bench only those who will take the Constitution seriously and who understand that interpretation is not the same thing as making public policy. He seeks those who will be guided by the framers' original intentions rather than the moral mood of the moment.

As if to infuriate his critics all the more, the president has indicated that Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia -- originalists, both -- are his kind of judges. The very thought of more Thomases and Scalias has left the liberal apologists for judicial activism sputtering with rage and plotting further filibusters in an attempt to undermine the president's constitutional power of appointment.

The stakes could not be higher. Will the federal courts generally, and the Supreme Court in particular, continue down the path of creating new rights out of whole cloth without any support in the Constitution itself -- giving the nation such things as the right to privacy, the right to abortion and the right to homosexual sodomy -- or will it be returned to the republican fold by carefully-chosen and vigorously-defended nominees who are properly committed to the idea of judicial restraint? Everyone who cares about this battle for American constitutionalism would be well advised to turn to Mark R. Levin's new book, "Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America." With a scholar's eye and an advocate's eloquence, Mr. Levin plunges to the heart of why this is a war that simply must be won.
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Format: Hardcover
It is a very curious, but undeniable fact that, at age 58, I observe that as my politics have not changed to any significant degree since my 20s (i.e. Vietnam/Watergate), the world around me has turned itself inside out. Our generation demanded answers, not evasions to the compelling and important issues of our time - and we were considered politically radical. Today, it is the reverse. Those who ask the questions, challenge the assumptions and "conventional wisdom" who are viewed as reactionary. This is nothing if not the other side of Alice's rabbit hole. Regrettably, it is not fantasy - but reality - and our courts have indeed usurped legislative power, without any checks or balances, to themselves. We have permitted this horrifying metastasis to occur - and it is time to beat it back.

Mark Levin's text lays out in plain English both the history and the record of the legislative abuses of the judiciary branch of our government - one which, in the case of The Supreme Court, is neither elected nor accountable to anyone.

This text should stand as required reading for all American citizens, and as the logical point of departure for the discussion of its issues, now long, long overdue.

The only way we can truly govern ourselves is to take back the power of government for ourselves - to learn how the government is supposed to operate, and then to insist that it be done so, as the authors of our framing documents laid them out. To interpret the law is one thing - to corrupt it is quite another - and for any one branch to usurp unchecked power is the rallying cry for revolution, that is, the power of the ballot box - the demand for the reestablishment of the balance of power.

Absolutely to be recommended - its critical message could not be more timely or important at this moment in our history.
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