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Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America Hardcover – February 7, 2005
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Conservative talk radio host, lawyer, and frequent National Review contributor Mark R. Levin comes out firing against the United States Supreme Court in Men in Black, accusing the institution of corrupting the ideals of America's founding fathers. The court, in Levin's estimation, pursues an ideology-based activist agenda that oversteps its authority within the government. Levin examines several decisions in the court's history to illustrate his point, beginning with the landmark Marbury v. Madison case, wherein the court granted itself the power to declare acts of the other branches of government unconstitutional. He devotes later chapters to other key cases culminating in modern issues such as same-sex marriage and the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill. Like effective attorneys do, Levin packs in copious research material and delivers his points with tremendous vigor, excoriating the justices for instances where he feels strict constit utional constructivism gave way to biased interpretation. But Levin's definition of "activism" seems inconsistent. In the case of McCain-Feingold, the court declined to rule on a bill already passed by congress and signed by the president, but Levin, who thinks the bill violates the First Amendment, still accuses them of activism even when they were actually passive. To his talk-radio listeners, Levin's hard-charging style and dire warnings of the court's direction will strike a resonant tone of alarm, though the hyperbole may be a bit off-putting to the uninitiated. As an attack on the vagaries of decisions rendered by the Supreme Court and on some current justices, Men in Black scores points and will likely lead sympathetic juries to conviction. --John Moe
From Publishers Weekly
The Supreme Court is speeding the country on the road to tyranny, according to this jeremiad from Levin, a conservative constitutional lawyer and radio talk show host. Levin argues that the Constitution is under siege by "judicial activists" obsessed with remaking America to reflect their personal political and moral philosophies. Liberal judges who view the Constitution as a document whose meaning evolves over time are at odds with the founding fathers' "clear and profound vision for what they wanted our federal government to be." "Activist judges," he says, "make, rather than interpret, the law." The author champions originalism, the conservative legal philosophy hinging on a narrow interpretation of the Constitution's text, and he contends that moving the judiciary back into the originalist fold could thwart the power grab by "radicals in robes." Levin traces trends in judicial activism through some of the Supreme Court's most famous cases, from Marbury v. Madison (1803), which enshrined the high court's power to weigh the constitutionality of presidential and congressional acts, to Roe v. Wade (1973). He also blasts affirmative action decisions, contending that the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause should be sufficient to combat racial discrimination. Levin is an ardent advocate, but at times his strident tone gets in the way of objective analyses of the system's flaws. Would the founders be as "appalled" by the present-day Supreme Court as Levin is? That's impossible to say, but many likeminded critics are certain to be galvanized by this spirited "clarion call," which is bookended by raves from conservative radio broadcaster Rush Limbaugh and former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III.
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Top customer reviews
As you go through the book you begin to see these people have been corrupted by their own arrogance and the unwillingness of the Congress to snap them back. As a result they've become "radicals in robes', constantly twisting the simple words and meanings of the Constitution to fit their own concept of the "rights" they claim exist in the "penumbra" of Constitutional law. Penumbra meaning these are "rights" not specifically stated in the Constitution but are implied, and should be recognized, according to their liking, their interpretion, their personal preferences and their deliberate misreading of the Constitution in order to "fix" some issue with a desired outcome - an outcome they desire.
Often these rulings result in contradictory reasoning to explain and justify previous contradictory and unusual reasoning to get to those conclusions. And that's the crux of the matter - they believe it's their duty and not the legislature's duty to provide justice by substituting their will for the will of the people and decisions of elected deliberative bodies, and no one can do anything about it - at least until the Congress gets the courage to stand up on it's hind legs and exert the power given to them by the Constitution to determine the court's jurisdiction.
Levin clearly demonstrates the federal judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, is out of control and is the "greatest threat to representative government we face today." If you have any doubt this is true - you need to rea Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America, By Mark R. Levin.
After reading it you won't feel an better but at least now when someones says "How did this happen? How did we get here?" you will be able to tell them the time and date when we got there and what got us there.
This book published in 2005 is a must read!
Some of the worst decisions such as Dred Scott that prolonged slavery and Korematsu that "legalized" the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during WWII show how wrong five justices can be. Although these bad decisions were eventually set right by history, far too many people had to suffer for far too long. Reading the history of how the federal judiciary, especially the SCOTUS, has sometimes ruled beyond its limited constitutionally established role does show that there can be serious effects on people's lives. While these bad cases show how the court can be very wrong, it's not clear that it has become a nine-member constitutional convention. There are still checks and balances on the court in the constitution itself, but they will also take time to implement. In cases where public sentiment is still evolving, the court is often ahead of or behind the public in its rulings making its job difficult and frequently unpopular. With the perspective of history we can see how things eventually have worked out but only after many Americans have suffered.
It's good to have a clear thoughtful presentation of these complex constitutional issues presented in concise language that makes them understandable to a broader audience of American citizens.