The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom First Edition
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Most of the reasons for the sell-out are political, in my opinion. And the mistakes usually flow from the 3 biggest loopholes in the Constitution: The Necessary & Proper Clause; The Commerce Clause; and The General Welfare Clause.
Though they deals with at-times complex legal issues, Levy and Mellor have done a great job in this book of making those issues understandable even to someone without legal training. For each case selected, they set forth the facts of the case, their position on where the Court got it wrong, and the consequences that have developed from that decision. They also deal separately with two of the most controversial Supreme Court cases of the past 30-odd years; Roe v. Wade and Bush v. Gore. For different reasons, they fail to include either case in their "Dirty Dozen" list largely because they believe that the Court at least got the result right even if one could find problems with the way they got there.
In each case, Levy and Mellor clearly explain how the Court ignored the plain text of the Constitution, precedent, and quite often common sense, to reach it's decision and how those decisions have increased the power of the state at the expense of individual liberty. Oe may disagree with the author's choice of cases;it would have been interesting, for example, for them to discuss "Dirty Dozen" cases from the era prior to 1937 (and there are certainly enough of them) and how those decisions lead to the judicial ideology that created the case law they rightly decry. However, it's fairly clear that they've selected a dozen pretty bad cases, and the book provides an object lesson of what happens when one of the branches of government ignores it's Constitutional responsibilities.
This book illustrates what can happen when supreme court justices get it wrong: the laws that protect the people from their government lose their meaning and we're left that much more defenseless. The Dirty Dozen is one of those books that should be on everyone's summer reading list.
But the truly magnificent part about this particular work is that its veracity is NOT up for grabs- whereas many books offering one or another particular version of history will be touted as both fact and farce (depending on who you talk to), this one's got all the bases covered.
Even the most hardened liberals will concede that the outcomes of the dirty dozen cases are alarming signs that the power of government, when left unchecked, threatens us all.
Some of the cases will leave you shaking your head in disbelief. Others will leave you shaking your head in total disgust. These decisions go against any rational thinking. After reading the first case, I figured that was the worst decision I had ever read. Not so. Each one is an abomination in its own right.
The book really reveals a much greater problem than twelve bad decisions: the framers intended for elected reps not the Supreme Court to change the Constitution. Instead we have we have justices, political appointees for life with no accountability to the people, rewriting the Constitution. The Supreme Court has been moving further and further toward restricting individual freedoms, and there is nothing we can do about it.
This book has certainly changed my view of the Supreme Court justices. Excellent book. It is very easy to read and understand for a book examining legal proceedings.