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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