The Constitution Today by Akhil Reed Amar
Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era

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Bringing an unusually informed and cool head to the tumult accompanying unfolding events, Amar performs a valuable service for his fellow citizens.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

A leading legal scholar addresses the most important constitutional controversies of the past two decades and illuminates the Constitution’s spirit and ongoing relevance

America’s Constitution, Chief Justice John Marshall famously observed in McCulloch v. Maryland, aspires “to endure for ages to come.” The daily news has a shorter shelf life, and when the issues of the day involve momentous constitutional questions, present-minded journalists and busy citizens cannot always see the stakes clearly.

In The Constitution Today, Akhil Reed Amar, America’s preeminent constitutional scholar, considers the biggest and most bitterly contested debates of the last two decades and provides a passionate handbook for thinking constitutionally about today’s headlines. Amar shows how the Constitution’s text, history, and structure are a crucial repository of collective wisdom, providing specific rules and grand themes relevant to every organ of the American body politic. Prioritizing sound constitutional reasoning over partisan preferences, he makes the case for diversity-based affirmative action and a right to have a gun in one’s home for self-protection, and against spending caps on independent political advertising and bans on same-sex marriage. He explains what’s wrong with presidential dynasties, advocates a “nuclear option” to restore majority rule in the Senate, and suggests ways to reform the Supreme Court. And he revisits three dramatic constitutional conflicts—the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the contested election of George W. Bush, and the fight over Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act—to show what politicians, judges, and journalists got right as events unfolded and what they missed.

Leading readers through the particular constitutional questions at stake in each episode while outlining his abiding views regarding the Constitution’s letter, its spirit, and the direction constitutional law must go, Amar offers an essential guide for anyone seeking to understand America’s Constitution and its relevance today.
 

About Akhil Reed Amar

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Akhil Reed Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, and periodically serves as a visiting professor at Harvard, Columbia, and Pepperdine Law Schools. Amar is the author of four books, including America's Constitution, which won the Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association, and The Bill of Rights, which was awarded a Silver Gavel Certificate of Merit. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Senior Scholar at the National Constitution Center, Amar is often cited by the Supreme Court and is a frequent expert witness in Congressional hearings.
 
Published September 13, 2016 by Basic Books. 464 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Constitution Today
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on Jul 19 2016

Bringing an unusually informed and cool head to the tumult accompanying unfolding events, Amar performs a valuable service for his fellow citizens.

Read Full Review of The Constitution Today: Timel... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Oct 27 2016

Amar veers too close to self-congratulation in his speculations about the influence of some of his writings. This is a missed opportunity that the knowledgeable and insightful Amar could still realize in a future book.

Read Full Review of The Constitution Today: Timel... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

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