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85 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, engaging, and much more radical than you would expect
When one sees Judge Napolitano on the Fox News Channel or hear him on the radio providing excellent analysis of the law and issues of the day, one would be forgiven for not suspecting him to hold such radical notions about our Constitution, history, or his own preferences for changes in our society. No doubt about it, he is a radical and it is a refreshing sort of...
Published on May 11, 2006 by Craig Matteson

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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding work by Judge Napolitano
I have never written a review for Amazon but this book was so good that I felt compelled to go through the process.

The judge does an excellent job of telling us what they did not teach us in school about what our Founding Fahters intended when they began the Revolution and wrote the Constitution.

From the very beginning when Alexander Hamilton...
Published on August 11, 2006 by Amazon Customer


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85 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, engaging, and much more radical than you would expect, May 11, 2006
When one sees Judge Napolitano on the Fox News Channel or hear him on the radio providing excellent analysis of the law and issues of the day, one would be forgiven for not suspecting him to hold such radical notions about our Constitution, history, or his own preferences for changes in our society. No doubt about it, he is a radical and it is a refreshing sort of radicalism because what he is after is the Constitution and form of government framed by our Founders. This book lays out his views on how our nation went off the path we started down with the Constitution in 1789. It is easy to beat the drum for getting back to the Constitution, as many conservatives do, but it is another to be as clear and forthright about what it means.

The Constitution is in Exile because its original intent and its governing power in our laws has been banished through legislative power grabs that went unchecked by the judiciary and then by a judiciary that grabbed power from the legislative and executive branches. The author is also concerned about abuses of power by the executive branch, as Napolitano sees them, during the Lincoln administration and in our present administration with the USA PATRIOT act.

First, let's get rid of one phony argument about the Constitution and slavery and its moral invalidation of the Constitution. Yes, the Founders compromised on slavery, but that doesn't mean that everyone supported it or that it wasn't a monstrous institution that was at odds with our founding principles. It was. However, the compromise does not mean the Constitution is invalid or should be ignored. It is still our founding document and unless its stated process of amendment is followed, the document should bind the very government it authorizes to its stated principles and powers.

That being said, Napolitano takes us through what the Constitution actually says about the powers it authorizes for the Federal government (he is also very good on noting the difference between a Federal versus a national government - the latter not being authorized in the Constitution). He notes that there are 18 enumerated powers. Throughout the rest of the book he takes us through cases where the legislative branch went off the track and how the courts, for most of our history, usually brought them back in line. Of course, there is a cursory discussion of judicial review and the inevitable Marbury v. Madison.

Napolitano really begins his radical discussion with his harsh criticism of "Dishonest Abe" and the Civil War. Napolitano doesn't believe the Civil War was necessary or just and that Lincoln committed many profoundly illegal acts. He then takes us through to the New Deal of FDR. It is here that Napolitano notes that the COURTS then became corrupted. The cloud of Socialism pushed the government into tortured interpretations of the law and the Constitution (especially the commerce clause) to enact programs that would have been declared unconstitutional through all of American history up to that time. The author notes time and again that emergencies do not justify compromising principles because the emergency will pass, but the corruption will remain.

He has a strong point there. Look at how the RICO act has been used. It was originally justified to go after the Mafia and helped break the back of the mob. However, it didn't go away and became a tool of aggressive prosecutors to go after ordinary citizens that they didn't like. Or look at the Alternative Minimum Tax that was originally to ensure that rich folks paid taxes (which they would have to do if we had a serious and fair tax code). Nowadays, millions of ordinary folks are stuck paying the AMT because of inflation, which was caused by the very same government.

So, Napolitano is very right to raise the issues and concerns around the USA PATRIOT act. Not so much for any abuses that may or may not be taking place now (although he lists some things he considers abuses), but because of the uses these powers will be put to in the future. National Security Letters do seem awful and nightmarish and very much like one of the abuses that helped spark our revolution.

Still, you will have to wrestle with where Napolitano wants to take us. War is a very complex and awful thing. It does deprive people of life, liberty, and pursuit of anything. It does not lend itself to lawyers, fairness, and neat outcomes. The author is adamant that American citizens, even when enemy combatants, deserve all the protections under the Constitution and must be tried under its provisions. I am not so sure, but I understand his concerns.

In the conclusion, Judge Napolitano also argues for changes in our government that would strengthen states rights and lessen the power of the Federal government in order to get it more in line to the original conception of the Founders. Among other things, he would spell out the process to allow states to secede from the Union (wow!), change some language in the Constitution to make it clear it is the states authorizing the Federal government, and clarify and limit the commerce clause. He would also repeal the sixteenth amendment authorizing income taxes, and the seventeenth amendment authorizing the direct election of senators (the idea being that the original idea of the Senate was to have a house representing the STATES).

This is an interesting, engaging, and useful book no matter where you come down in your views of what he puts forward. You will be better off and more informed after reading it and I encourage you to do so.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can we turn this enormous ship around and get it sailing in the right direction?, June 30, 2006
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Judge Andrew Napolitano cares about the US Constitution. A lot. And he is concerned that both individual and state rights which have been eroded already, and are being abridged more, will not come back. This concern comes through loud and clear in each and every chapter.

To Judge Napolitano, the US Constitution is not a "living" thing; rather, it is a document which is unassailable and incontrovertible in its protection of basic human rights, rights which are immutable and which do not change from day to day nor from Century to Century. Napolitano begins the book with a primer on the Constitution and the events surrounding its drafting. And early on, we see that the Founding Fathers were very cognizant of the threats faced by the union, yet they did not enact laws which went against the Natural Rights of man. Often in difficult or scary times it can be all too easy to enact laws which seemingly protect us, but which do so at the expense of our fundamental rights (and State rights) put forth in the Constitution....and some people take advantage of this to the people's detriment.

This book will enlighten most people I think. I follow politics quite closely, and yet was unaware of many of the rights which were slowly eroding from right under our feet, (even though I knew there were many!)....I just was not aware of the scope and size. I was not even aware Lincoln suspended habeas corpus; I was always taught what a great President he was as he was behind the freeing of the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation! Yet in a direct quote of Lincoln, he stated that he would have done **anything** to protect the union, if it meant freeing all of the slaves or even if it meant freeing none! I was also unaware of how much Lincoln had affected the slow dissipation of states rights, rights clearly enumerated in the 10th amendment. For all intents and purposes, Lincoln ignored the 10th Amendment, not to mention the 4th and several others. And throughout the book, you can clearly see how other Presidents, Justices, and Congresspeople make the same unforgivable error throughout the years, though perhaps not quite to the extent Lincoln had.

It should also be noted that Judge Napolitano in very fair in his criticisms. He sides with George Bush on many issues as a Fox News Judicial Analyst, but in The Constitution in Exile, he is unrelenting in his criticism of the current Administration and the Congresspeople who go along with such things as the current day PATRIOT Act. "National Security Letters" sound almost Orwellian and clearly go against the intent of the Founding Fathers, especially if, as Napolitano states, judges are on standby 24/7 to sign warrants for searches or arrests. Instead, the "National Security Letters" allow the federal agents to write them on their own! What is the point of having warrants issued if the people who are supposed to present **some** proof of guilt are able to fill them out on their own, without any questions asked? Where does this slippery slope end? That is the question Napolitano poses time and time again.

Some complaints however....near the end of the book Napolitano refers to a famous dissent from Justice Holmes, one that has been quoted probably more than any other dissent in US Supreme Court history. And then he proceeds to his next point, without giving us the dissent! And there are other times in the book when more detail could have been given, more facts presented. Instead he will sometimes move quickly on to the next point.

In the end, Napolitano's zeal for keeping the true meaning of the Constitution intact is what impressed me most. We need more people like him upholding the true intent of the Founders and their creating of an almost sacred document recognizing inherent rights in man and protecting them at any and all costs. Because as history has shown, once they are gone, they will probably not come back.

A must read.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and insightful, a worthy and important read, April 19, 2006
Who would have thought the law could be so interesting... Judge Napolitano is not only a brilliant legal scholar, but an engaging author as well. This thought provoking book is very easy to read and understand. It is also quite insightful, delving deeply into topics most of us have not thought much about until now. For example, the Federal government was created by the states not the other way around. The constitution, therefore, was written in large part to safeguard the rights of those states. The uniform drinking age specifically supersedes rights that the constitution left to the states. The same thing goes for medical standards, education, and a whole lot more, not necessarily due to any malicious or nefarious intent but simply because it has become accepted practice. Under the vision of our Founding Fathers, the Federal government was never supposed to have the sweeping authority it has acquired. Napolitano's fascinating book highlights these important issues and gives readers a lot to think about and perhaps act on in the next election... A thought provoking, interesting, and important read. Highly recommended!

Lawrence Kane
Author of Blinded by the Night, among other titles
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding work by Judge Napolitano, August 11, 2006
By 
I have never written a review for Amazon but this book was so good that I felt compelled to go through the process.

The judge does an excellent job of telling us what they did not teach us in school about what our Founding Fahters intended when they began the Revolution and wrote the Constitution.

From the very beginning when Alexander Hamilton wanted to go beyond the limits of the Constitution and create a central bank to the most recent fight over the Un-Patriotic Act, he does and excellent job for both the scholar and the uninformed. He goes into great detail exploring court decisions, many of which have no relation to what the Founders intended.

This book is written in plain english as opposed to lawyer speak, so that everyone is able to understand the implications of the path that our country is on.

For the true lovers of liberty and freedom, the path is very scary indeed.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Overthrow of the US Constitution, America in Crisis, April 19, 2006
By 
Barbara Rose (BornToInspire.com) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Andrew P. Napolitano brings a gripping case to the forefront of the American people in his stellar book "The Constitution in Exile." Startling evidence about how Congress in nearly every Presidential term has used political might to enhance their own power, thereby overthrowing the one pillar of freedom the American people have, and this is our Constitution.

Napolitano attacks the Patriot Act, unleashes calculative volleying for control OVER the people, and exposes too many facts from all sides of the political arena for this book to be ignored.

It's scary to watch our freedom slowly sliding away. What's even scarier is that the facts in this book are too true for comfort.

This book should be read by every person who holds a position in government, as well as every student majoring in political science. The only chance the Constitution has for standing is when the American people unite to take a stand.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How did we get here - to this federal Leviathan?!!!, April 24, 2006
Have you ever wondered: How or why it is a "federal issue" how big your toilet bowl is, or how fast you drive your car? Why does the "federal" Congress decide what your own state's drinking age is? Why does Congress purport to regulate whether Major League Baseball allows steroids or not? Why should the "federal" government bail out bankrupt savings and loans when other bankrupt business must just suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? How are any of these "federal issues"? Moreover, why does the "federal" government monitor what you read at your local library, whether you can grow medicinal marijuana at home, the amount of alcohol you can have before driving, what you send in the mail, and what "precise" test scores your child's school must receive so it won't be "left behind" under federal guidelines for neighborhood school education?

Wait a minute -- did I just say "federal" guidelines for neighborhood school education? -- um, yes, we are there, people. Although neighborhood schools are the ultimate sacred cow, the greatest "local control" voter issue, we are already at the point where the feds regulate and monitor the performance of your neighborhood public school, thanks to the Hall Monitor in Chief's "No School Left Behind Act" (the greatest example to date of a federal mandate/no pay act). How sad is that?

We are also "there" at many other horribly excessive instances of federal government overreaching and abuse which Judge Napolitano explores in his powerful new book, "The Constitution in Exile."

If you have any inkling of state's rights or local control left in your heart (or mind), you will join me (and Judge Napolitano) in asking, Why should the federal government be able to regulate what I grow in my backyard? Well, they sure can, as this book will show you. Why is it a federal concern how products are manufactured at my local furniture shop? You better believe it is! How can the feds seize my bank records, my library reading history, my mail and other personal records -- all without a warrant as I thought was required by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution? Well, they can, my dear, and you need look no further than the Patriot Act and the Bush Administration's abuses of power to see it in practice.

The federal government has no respect for the boundaries on its power that were set by the Constitution - and it hasn't for a very, very, long, long time. The Bush Administration is only the latest extreme example of the contempt that those in power have for the very Source of their power, the Constitution, but it has long been this way, as the feds have gathered, expanded and increased federal power, from the time of Abe Lincoln to FDR to LBJ to the worst offender of all, GWB.

If you are fed up with the federal government Leviathan and want to re-affirm the limits placed on the federal government's power by the Constitution, you must read this book. It will educate you and remind you of the proper role of our "federal" government as it explores and reveals the many ways in which that government has betrayed its origins and exceeded its powers. This book is truly must reading for anyone who believes in our federalist system of a limited and enumerated federal government.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting history..., September 20, 2006
This was an interesting read. Napolitano is a Fox News Contributor who is an advocate of interpreting via natural law and reading the Constitution literally for it's intended meaning. As a result, the Fox News bashers will tend to ignore the book but it's worthy of their attention too because the leftwing liberal idea of reinterpeting the Constitution for today is what lead to legislation like the Patriot Act. In an unbiased way (politically), his criticisms of the current administration are well-balanced with a good explanation and examples of abuse. I've traditionally been a supporter of the Republicans and the Patriot act but the Judge's book have made me rethink the Patriot Act. I was also surprised at how far back in time some of the interpretation contraversies go, some dating back to Hamilton and Jefferson themselves.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is probably more than you want to know BUT......., June 23, 2006
By 
W. T. White "tenn357" (Nashville, Tennessee United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Having seen the Judge on the O'Reilly Factor, heard his stand-in programs for other talking heads, I was impressed with his intelligence and his ability to make light of legalese and the profession. The Judge is a neutral conservative so his outlook can be even more respected but he treats Constitutional issues with candor, calls the cards the way he sees them and brings to this book his many years on the bench, especially the federal bench. This is not a book to scan and then put it on your bookshelf...it is a book that will enlighten, educate and is done in a thoughtful, concise, very comprehensive way. Worth every dime of it's price and will shine a light on issues not many of us understand.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Agree or disagree with him, this book makes you think, December 31, 2006
Judge Napolitano will always give you something to think about. I find I can agree with him one paragraph and absolutely reject whatever he's arguing in the next paragraph. Example: his chapter on Congress bribing the states and then his (reactionary) chapter on Lincoln. Book provides an excellent yet brief history of the Supreme Court. One thing to his credit, he is always consistent and approaches every issue with a Natural Law backing. An easy book to read, it is a must have for anyone who wants to know more about US law and especially the relation of the states to the federal government.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grim reading ...., May 7, 2007
By 
P. Reid "Owl" (The Sticks, Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Constitution in Exile: How the Federal Government Has Seized Power by Rewriting the Supreme Law of the Land (Paperback)
The writing stays well inside the boundaries of "well-read layman's vocabaulary" and rarely descends into cant. I could wish for a more scholarly presentation, but the book does a good job with its intended purpose and for its intended audience. If you've ever said,"There ought to be a law ..." this book will give you a lot to think about.
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The Constitution in Exile: How the Federal Government Has Seized Power by Rewriting the Supreme Law of the Land
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