America’s Unwritten Constitution by Akhil Reed Amar

book jacket

America’s Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By. (c 2012) Akhil Reed Amar,

the author of America’s book jacket title and image of quill penConstitution: A Biography (c 2005)

Okay read. Could be better.



I am completely mystified about this blank page. I am sure I wrote something on the first title of these books, but I see I tagged it “must re-checkout from library.

As I recall, this first one was a good book. I remember have a few criticisms like the ill-designed index and somewhat inadequate index (not the author’s fault, professional indexers are usually used to create).

I learned a bunch of stuff from this book and it really peeves me that I read and did not, apparently, write a post at the same time. I guess that means it had pretty gripping material.

I do recommend it for a read.


book jacketI also checked out his other book, The Constitution Today Read parts and skimmed most, but did not find it particularly good. To explain what I mean by good, it has to tell me stuff I didn’t already know, be organized in a coherent and useful pattern, and have some kind of consistent point-of-view. It seemed to me that this was just a thrown together collection of somewhat outdated essays. Not recommended reading; a disappointment.





Wrong and Dangerous by Garrett Epps

book jacket with scrap of Constitution showingWrong and Dangerous: Ten Right-Wing Myths about Our Constitution by Garrett Epps (2012)

This slim volume is a fun read (the touches of sarcasm are a delight) about what the Constitution actually says and directly refutes right-wing claims to the contrary. Excellent notes and list of books for further reading by categories like “the Bill of Rights” and an appendix that provides the actual text of the Constitution plus the first version that failed to meet the needs of the nation due to lack of sufficient federal authority over states’ rights. Personally, I long for the day that the entire concept of “states’ rights” is abolished. My rights as a citizen should not depend on geography. States’ rights is a vestigial concept leftover from the fear of a central “kingdom” type of government.

I may write the author and suggest he dedicate another volume to the Fourteenth Amendment, and social justice issues related to it that have had Supreme Court (bad or good) rulings, especially in the area of racism and sexism.

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America’s Constitution by Akhil Reed Amar

book jacket title and image of quill penAmerica’s Constitution: A Biography by Akhil Reed Amor (c 2005)

This is a very long book, 477 pages including the postscript, plus back matter that includes the text of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, plus extensive notes, and an index that brings it up to 655 pages. When approaching such a vast book, I rarely read straight through, or even all of it since some of it is redundant to what I already know. Unfortunately, the chapter titles in the book are next to useless in describing the content one might expect to see in the book and it is clearly not organized by any logical organization. As a “biography” the author obviously declares that he must start at the beginning. Back in the day when I was a book development editor, I would have strongly recommended some alternative structure than starting at the beginning. Since no dates are included in the headers or chapter pages.

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Three Felonies a Day by Harvey A. Silverglate

people on hill with hand on gavelThree Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent by Harry A. Silverglate (2009). Excellent forward by Alan Dershowitz

.This book was an interlibrary loan book, so I have to take it back without being able to quote much from it. It is well-written and readable if a bit intense and complex. He argues that the laws and other aspects of law, like the Code of Federal Regulations has grown so bloated and extensive that ordinary people break  laws and rules and never even know it. Unless, of course, they have done something to draw the Feds attention to themselves, and then the full prosecutorial forces grab onto the most inconsequential detail and use it like a hammer on a nail to take down someone who never INTENTIONALLY broke the law. No one can completely know all of the laws the government has implemented these days, so ignorance of the law should actually be a reasonable defense. And he cites many many cases and circumstances that prove deliberate targeting and selective enforcement.

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Lessons in Censorship by Catherine J. Ross

book jacket with photo of chin and neck with tape over the mouth were the Lessons in Censorship words appearLessons in Censorship: How Schools and Courts Subvert Students’ First Amendment Rights by Catherine J. Ross (2015)

This title is a nice play on words because of the “lessons” and then the subsequent focus on students’ right. It was funny, I had been reading this and a Facebook post about a high school student refusing to wear a bra came up as an incident, because her male teacher complained it was distracting. The photo I saw was pretty plain and I wouldn’t have known one way or the other. I have to ask myself, why is he looking at her breasts instead of her eyes in the first place. School authorities of course wanted her to change her behavior and she refused. I say RIGHT ON SISTER!

Back in the day I and many other women chose not to wear the uncomfortable undergarments. I liken them to other female clothing mandates to restrict our comfort and ability to move. Granted some women find them necessary, and certainly athletic women find them helpful. But I just have the feeling if she wore a push up bra and a v-neck blouse, somehow that would not bother him as much as the indication that *under her clothes* but not visible, she was not wearing a bra.

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