- Hardcover: 234 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Nelson Inc (November 30, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0785260838
- ISBN-13: 978-0785260837
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.2 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 91 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,371,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws
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About the Author
Judge Andrew P. Napolitano is Fox News Channel's senior judicial analyst, currently seen by millions of viewers weeknights on The Big Story and The O'Reilly Factor. Napolitano is the youngest person in New Jersey history to receive a lifetime judgeship. He is bright (graduate of Princeton and Notre Dame Law School), articulate (four times voted most outstanding professor at the two law schools at which he taught), and broadcast-experienced (as a daily fixture on Fox News Channel since 1998). He is the author of Constitutional Chaos and The Constitution In Exile. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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I am perhaps, not your regular reader of legal books. During an earlier five year period, I studied the law as a pro se litigant. As part of my personal legal training program, I read many law books and between 40 and 50 Supreme Court decisions in detail, learned how to do legal research and write legal briefs, and I drove the highways looking for traffic tickets so that I could fight them in court. For me, this was wonderful training program because it taught me how the law works, and without me suffering any more loss than my time and energy. I also served on a criminal court jury in which I was able to overturn a conviction of what I was able to convince the rest of the jury was an innocent man (yes, I believe in jury nullification of bad law).
When I read the Judge's book, I was immediately amazed to find that what the Judge was saying was consistent with my own personal experience. This was gratifying, but for me, he was preaching to the choir. I like this judge and his easy-to-read book because he tells it like it is - this is an excellent book for readers not familiar with our legal system, want to learn the practical side of the law, believe things have gone sideways legally in our country, and who believe that we Americans have been kept ignorant of the law for too long. It's a really good first book of awareness of the problems we are seeing in our government, and BTW, the problems ARE really as bad as the Judge tells us. We need to fix our country and get it back on its constitutional course and under our control. This is not going to be an easy job for us voters, but Constitutional Chaos is a great starter book
As a side note, I'm enrolled in our local college for another degree, earning excellent grades, and our law school won't let me take a simple constitutional law course. The reason they wont: the ABA doesn't allow anyone but matriculated law school students to take law courses. The lawyer's union (ABA) is keeping tight controls on who is allowed to learn the law, as though understanding the law was some kind of higher level or privileged knowledge. It's not. Anyone can learn the law, and Constitutional Chaos is a great beginning.
Become legally savvy, because in our nation with over 2 million laws, you need to know where you stand legally and how you can legally determine your own future. Buy this book. Study it. Learn from it.
The thesis here is simple and scary: under hte guise of "serving the greater good," an overzealous executive branch and lap-dog judicial branch have eroded any semblance of due process in our criminal justice system. Prosecutors may lie to suspects in order to extract confessions, witnesses are frequently bought off (not with plea deals, but cash), warrants are often optional and tenuous, and anyone labeled a national security threat may be denied a lawyer, held indefinitely, and tried by the executive branch in secret. For anyone who thinks they know the depths of governmental abuse pertaining to criminal proceddings, Neaplitano will disabuse you of this idea.
Adding muster to Nepalitano's seemingly unbelievable tale is that he has lived this as a Federal judge. Nepalitano is not only recounting examples gotten from text books or scholarly research, but also from his own first-hand experience as a Federal judge. As he says in a chapter called "Personal Oddysey," which recounts his journey from a conservative collge student to a libertarian judge, has has heard police officers lie and had to let obviously guilty defendants go because their due process rights were knowingly and egregiously violated too many times. "What caused me to flip from being a law-and-order conservative to a rugged individualist? The answer: My eight years on the bench." (loc. 1439, kindle ed.)
To be honest, I only had two real problems with this book. First, and most importantly, this is a book meant to outrage rather than argue. By that, I mean that Nepalitano is writing for an audience he assumes already agrees with him, and therefore does not really engage in argument of his points. He takes it as a given that his audience will be outraged by the examples he profiles. While I AM one who agrees with him on most scores, I can see how his lack of argument against some obvious objections will render this book less persuasive than it could be.
Secondly, the one area I disagree with Nepalitano on is in his view that natural law jurisprudence (that our rights are NATURAL rather than government-made) is wrong and shallowly defended. He suggests that positivists (who see rights as only sensical when government enumerates them and enforces them) as devaluing the idea of rights. This is quite false. As Alan Dershowitz's book "Rights from Wrongs," correctly notes, recognizing the fragility of rights (rather than assuming that we have our rights irrespective of what the government does) makes defending rights all the more important. I am quite suprised that Nepalitano's first chapter, where he defends natural rights jurisprudence, does not engage Dershowitz's book EVEN ONCE. It is, though, in line with Nepalitano's lack of serious argument in this book.
But those are two fairly small issues. Overall, Nepalitano has written a book that everyone should read. Letting government get away from us is not a liberal or conservative issue (Nepalitano equally suggets that Reno should have been tried criminally and that Ashcroft used tactics similar to Stalin). It is an American and human issue that we should all be concerned about.
Most recent customer reviews
I saw him often on Megan Kelly Show.