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349 of 448 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Democracy vs Oligarchy
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...
Published on February 7, 2005 by J. Aubrey

versus
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Judicial Review- pathway to power
The supreme court has gained power over the executive and congressional branches through judial review. The original intent of the constition has been exploited. Mark Levin does an exceptional job giving the historical background for each chapter. Important cases are discussed such as roe v. wade, and where the judical branch has stepped in to far.
Published on June 6, 2006 by alex y


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349 of 448 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Democracy vs Oligarchy, February 7, 2005
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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. As the court pointed out, societial norms may have changed since ratification, but the proper way for that to be addressed is by our elected representatives, not a court decision. The recent sodomy decision reached the opposite conclusion, with the enlightened public policy of our robed masters overruling our state legislatures.

This usurpation of democracy is also reflected in decisions relating to abortion, religion, immigration, elections, civil rights and many other areas.

Since the political left cannot convince a majority to adopt its European agenda, it resorts to the Court and that's why originalist judges are essential to preserve the separate roles of the legislative and judicial branches of our constitutional system.
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82 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exellent Arguments, February 16, 2005
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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144 of 191 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Stakes are High, January 26, 2005
By 
R. S. Corzine (Steubenville, OH United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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. In place of constitutional government of limited and enumerated powers, he argues, we are careening toward nothing less than "a de facto judicial tyranny."

Not since Raoul Berger's seminal "Government by Judiciary" has a book exposed so clearly the political dangers of ideologically freewheeling and constitutionally untethered judges being allowed -- indeed, encouraged -- to transform the Constitution. While most of the public's attention focuses on abortion and gay rights, Mr. Levin shows how many other areas of our basic constitutional law have been corrupted by judges willing to supplant the intentions of the framers with their own moral predilections.

"Men in Black" surveys a broad political landscape that has come to be littered with the handiwork of justices who have forgotten their constitutional place. Here one can see how the Supreme Court has gone far beyond the right of privacy in sexual matters and has interfered with laws on everything from immigration to restricting virtual child pornography to the war on terror. One of the most helpful chapters is one that makes sense of the underlying issues in Bush v. Gore and why the Supreme Court did what it did -- and why it should never do it again.

Perhaps the most important contribution of this readers' guide to the judges' war is the story of how we got to this unhappy place. After all, the constitutional provisions for the federal judiciary are relatively meager. The Constitution does not really create the federal judiciary as an institution but only creates the judicial power, leaving most of the institutional details -- such as kinds and numbers of courts, number of justices on the Supreme Court, appellate jurisdiction and the regulation of the judicial process -- to the discretion of Congress. Nor is there even any explicit provision in the Constitution for the power of judicial review itself. As Mr. Levin makes clear, this is not exactly the kind of foundation one would expect for an institution that some now insist is meant to be the moral guardian of the republic.

In part, this has come about through an unholy alliance between left-wing interest groups and the Democratic members of the United States Senate. Not being satisfied with telling the story of how those senators accommodate themselves to their well-organized ideological constituents, Mr. Levin reproduces the series of memoranda that passed back and forth during Mr. Bush's first term, laying the groundwork for just how the Senate would exercise its power of advice and consent to block the president's nominees to the federal bench.

The most lasting contribution of this fine book is its commitment not to conservatism but to constitutionalism, to the belief, as Alexander Hamilton put it, that the Constitution is the embodiment of "the intention of the people" and that, in the words of Chief Justice John Marshall, the idea of a written constitution was "the greatest improvement on political institutions." This is a book that should be on the desk of every senator. [By Gary L. McDowell - The Washington Times]
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Choice of Subject Matter, August 3, 2006
By 
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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Judicial Review- pathway to power, June 6, 2006
By 
The supreme court has gained power over the executive and congressional branches through judial review. The original intent of the constition has been exploited. Mark Levin does an exceptional job giving the historical background for each chapter. Important cases are discussed such as roe v. wade, and where the judical branch has stepped in to far.
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53 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important, well argued exposé of judicial abuse, February 16, 2005
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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31 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Change from the Usual Anti-Supreme Court Books, March 14, 2005
By 
Until I saw Levin on C-Span, I did not plan to buy this volume--I assumed it was just another in the long string of whacky "the Supreme Court is destroying our nation" genre of diatribes. Well, while I disagree with much of Levin's analysis, this is certainly a substantial volume deriving of serious attention. That being said, Levin's methodology is flawed in several respects. First, he equates judicial activism with non-originalist interpretation--yet many of the Court's supposed judicial "originalists" [Scalia, Rehnquist, Thomas] have been extremely activist in utilizing Court power as witness the 2000 election decisions. Second, much of the initial chapters is devoted to Levin simply ticking off various Supreme Court decisions which he considers to be subversive, crazy or both. Some of these decisions do certainly qualify as "self-inflected wounds" to be sure, but this approach becomes a bit tiresome. Things pick up, however, later with very strong chapters on immigration, the commerce clause, state power and other topics. It is clear that, to the extent Levin represents the "Federalist Society" point of view, Justice Kennedy has become a prime target of criticism, as to a lesser extent has Sanda Day O'Conner due to their "lapses" in upholding conservative interpretations of the Constitution in key cases. To his credit, Levin criticizes both the Florida Supreme Court (extensively) and the U.S. Supreme Court (a bit) relative to the 2000 election decisions. One of the most interesting and valuable sections of the book is Levin's focus on "liberal" interest groups hooking up with supporters on the Hill to try and frustrate conservative judicial nominations. He includes as an appendix various memos exchanged between interest groups and Senate staffers which are quite interesting to read. While they are, hardly, as shocking as Levin suggests, nonetheless they are quite fascinating--especially given the upcoming warfare that will ensue when President Bush nominates a Justice or Chief Justice. All told, a good solid read that stimulates the adrenalin.
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52 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impeach the Supreme Court, March 1, 2005
By 
Ryan R. Grant (Lancaster, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Levin has written a masterpiece that best expresses what many Americans, liberal and conservative alike, have felt for years. The importance of this book can't be underplayed, and I'm yet to see someone attack the book on its merits without DNC talking points. Levin:

-Demonstrates that the Supreme Court is not made up of gods, the justices are human, and capable of error. Some have been brilliant, some have been lousy, some morally detestable. Their decisions do not carry infallability. Don't forget they wrote the Dred Scott decision in 1858 declaring that Black people are non-persons. The court couldn't have been more wrong.

-Demonstrates how the Court selectively picks issues on its political agenda like the Texas Sodomy case, where the main crime was a domestic disturbance report of someone screaming and shooting a gun next door. How doe sthat end up at the Supreme Court?

-How now the Supreme Court is undermining the Executive Branch by challenging the president's war time powers. See the chapter "Al Quida gets a lawyer".

-Exposes the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill as unconstitutional and demonstrates impeccably how the court failed in its duty.

-How the Supreme Court is imposing its social reform policy on the states.

Some criticize Levin as attacking judicial activism while at the same time advocating it. This couldn't be further from the truth. When Levin says the court needs to overturn its earlier rulings since the 30's, it is because THOSE RULINGS NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE FIRST PLACE. Levin's book advocates the holding the Supreme Court accountable to its Constitutional duties, not to mere ideology be it left wing or right wing.

Anyone looking for good information on the history of the Court and of the decisions impacting today's society would do well to purchase this book, RIGHT NOW!
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33 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great look at where we have come from, February 28, 2005
In this book, Levin traces one controversial Supreme Court decision per chapter. He spends time on what the framers of the Constitution intended, followed by the slow perversion of that intent, leading up to a landmark court decision (i.e. Roe v. Wade). Reading this book made me very grateful for the "originalists" on the Supreme Court that stand up for what this country was founded on. Unfortunately, there are not enough of them.

This book would be a good read for everyone, whether you agree with the authors stance or not.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars America Take Note., May 5, 2005
This book is an inciteful look into the manner in which our government works today. What was devised by our Founding Fathers, three equal branches of government with the appropriate checks and balances,is being usurped by our court system. The abuses of the courts in stretching the intent of the constitution and interjecting the personal views of some judges is truly unfortunate. In addition, those judges who look to "other countries laws and policies" are a true outrage. America with its unique heritage does not, and should not mold itself, to be like the rest of the world. This is why the vast majority of our ancestor's left their homeland to start a new life in this wonderful country. This book which is written in a very understandable manner should be must reading by every American. We must wake up to the message that Mark is conveying to us. It truly is an eye-opener!
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Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America
Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America by Mark R. Levin (Paperback - August 1, 2006)
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