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The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A passionate, thoughtful, provocative, and eminently readable book by two of America's most influential libertarian lawyers and legal thinkers. (Eugene Volokh, Professor of Law, UCLA; Founder of the Volokh Conspiracy Blog)
An easy read, and a very informative primer on some long-neglected cases. |fLyle Denniston, Scotus Blog
Levy and Mellor offer fascinating insights on twelve of the most important and controversial cases of our time. Readers will gain new appreciation for the Supreme Court's role in affecting their lives and liberties. With that appreciation will come heightened understanding of the stakes in future Supreme Court nominations. (Nadine Strossen, Former President, American Civil Liberties Union) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Liberties aren't destroyed overnight. Levy and Mellor recognize this by breaking the book up into chapters focusing on specific freedoms or clauses in the constitution rather than solely one case. They masterfully focus on one case in each area while also recognizing (through "dishonorable mentions") the precedent that lead to each of the Dirty Dozen. They also detail the repercussions and cases that followed. The effect is that they manage to take a premise, twelve distinct and often unrelated cases, and construct a comprehensive argument for the Court's responsibility in the expansion of our government and erosion of our liberties.
This book is an easy read for lawyers who are likely already aware of many of the cases. One of the many successes of this book, however, is its clear enunciation of the issues for those without a legal background. The authors spare no one, regardless of political affiliation, in their analysis of the cases. This is a perfect explanation of the damage the Supreme Court has done to our constitutional form of government in the last century.
So begins Richard Epstein's forward to this truly remarkable book.
The authors, Robert Levy, of the Cato Institute, and William Mellor, of the Institute of Justice, have chosen twelve Supreme Court cases they believe "changed the course of American history".
The book is not written solely for lawyers. In fact, it is written for the citizen concerned with the expansion of government at the expense of individual freedom.
The tragedy of this book is that it will be read by so few people when it should be read by every citizen, regardless of political persuasion, who is concerned the fate of the United States.
These twelve cases are considered by the authors to be the worst decisions of the Supreme Court of the modern era. In most cases, they also list a runner-up. Events move quickly, so it is quite likely that the authors would add Boumedienne v. Bush, the incredible decision that grants a variety of rights to terrorists. Personally I think that Boumedienne will vie with Dredd Scott as being the most lunkheaded decision ever made by the Court. U.S. v. Miller, 1939 case about the Second Amendment, has been resolved by the very recent decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. (One can see how endangered the Constitution is by the 5-4 vote of the Court in Heller.)
The authors (unsurprisingly) relate each of the cases to a specific topic.Read more ›
As such it's a wonderfully informative book teaching a broad scope of Supreme Court sanctioned constitutional abuse. I found it well written, immensely entertaining, and comprehensive in both its structure and coverage. I couldn't put the book down til reaching the end.
The main shortcoming of the book is that it is written for readers already inclined to agree with it and will probably not persuade many others. It is not the authors' conclusions that are generally problematic, but rather their lack of adequate argumentation in support of them. They continually assume a premise and criticize the Court for departing from it, but don't do the work of actually establishing the premise itself.
For instance, the authors being libertarians, much is made of the modern Court's failure to protect economic rights such as the claimed right to earn an honest living. The right to earn an honest living, however, is not a right enumerated in the Constitution; if it exists, it exists as an unenumerated right. The authors point to the Ninth Amendment, which states that the enumeration of some rights should not be read to deny the existence of unenumerated ones, but the Ninth Amendment is not itself a substantive source of unenumerated rights. It only stands for the proposition that unenumerated rights exist; it does not tell us anything about their content.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Answers lots of questions about how America got to where it is today.Published 28 days ago by Amazon Customer
Another reading that should be required of American voters. Very, very, very enlightening. Difficult reading if you try to understand it *all*, but worth it even if you don't. Read morePublished 5 months ago by A.K.
Best book ever to gain insight into our governments slow steady takeover. The judicial and executive branches have been overstepping their constitutional boundaries for way too... Read morePublished 17 months ago by rlp
Fantastic book. Every US citizen should read it. They should require that all law students read it.Published on August 11, 2014 by Frank Rizzo
The authors propagate the right-wing lie that Supreme Court decisions are terrible if they support the Constitution's mandate to empower a strong national government to protect... Read morePublished on June 30, 2014 by Calderham Y. Squeeb
This book does a great job of explaining how politicians (from both the left and right) and public appeal have persuaded the supreme court to arrive at unconstitutional rulings,... Read morePublished on March 9, 2014 by Yum
Robert Levy chooses 12 cases and mentions a few more for honorable mention.
You may not agree with his conclusions but his teaching is terrific. Read more