Top positive review
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A refreshing stroll through the amendments!!
on August 20, 2002
This book is an amazing study. The book is ordered by amendment (or clause.) Within each part, the first essay focuses on the amendments original meaning and early history and the last essay focuses on the amendment today. Buyer beware. It seems that there is definitely a bias towards original meaning here, as each finishing essay comes to the conclusion that we've strayed from that original intent. But bias or not, can you blame them.
Of course that opens up an interesting dilemma that is unexplored in this book. Yes, we have strayed from original meaning (we've even FORGOTTEN the tenth amendments existence!) but this is only negative if you subscribe to 'original meaning' jurisprudence. As an aside, it seems most legal scholars and jurisprudential thinkers do not. Even Scalia and Posner, supposed conservatives, reject it; Scalia calling it 'the lesser evil.' This book assumes that readers share sympathy with original intent.
Where this book DOES prove its worth is in the attention payed to the fourth, fifth, ninth and tenth amendments- all of which are sadly neglected in legal dialogue of today. In fact, my favorite four essays were the ones focusing on amendments nine and ten.
So overall, this book's quality is high. On the whole, the essays are well written and exciting. But whether or not you've made up your mind on original meaning vs. broad principle jurisprudence, do check out "Interpreting the Constitution" edited by Jack Rakove.