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Constitutional

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  1. 19.4 hrs • 10/13/2015 • Unabridged

    From the admired judicial authority, author of Louis D. Brandeis (“Remarkable”—Anthony Lewis, New York Review of Books; “Monumental”—Alan M. Dershowitz, New York Times Book Review), Division and Discord, and Supreme Decisions—Melvin Urofsky’s major new book looks at the role of dissent in the Supreme Court and the meaning of the Constitution through the greatest and longest lasting public-policy debate in the country’s history, among members of the Supreme Court, between the Court and the other branches of government, and between the Court and the people of the United States. Urofsky writes of the necessity of constitutional dialogue as one of the ways in which we as a people reinvent and reinvigorate our democratic society. In Dissent and the Supreme Court, he explores the great dissents throughout the Court’s 225-year history. He discusses in detail the role the Supreme Court has played in helping to define what the Constitution means, how the Court’s majority opinions have not always been right, and how the dissenters, by positing alternative interpretations, have initiated a critical dialogue about what a particular decision should mean. This dialogue is sometimes resolved quickly; other times it may take decades before the Court adjusts its position. Louis Brandeis’s dissenting opinion about wiretapping became the position of the Court four decades after it was written. The Court took six decades to adopt the dissenting opinion of the first Justice John Harlan in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)—that segregation on the basis of race violated the Constitution—in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Urofsky shows that the practice of dissent grew slowly but steadily and that in the nineteenth century dissents became more frequent. In the (in)famous case of Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), Chief Justice Roger Taney’s opinion upheld slavery, declaring that blacks could never be citizens. The justice received intense condemnations from several of his colleagues, but it took a civil war and three constitutional amendments before the dissenting view prevailed and Dred Scott was overturned. Urofsky looks as well at the many aspects of American constitutional life that were affected by the Earl Warren Court—free speech, race, judicial appointment, and rights of the accused—and shows how few of these decisions were unanimous, and how the dissents in the earlier cases molded the results of later decisions; how with Roe v. Wade—the Dred Scott of the modern era—dissent fashioned subsequent decisions, and how, in the Court, a dialogue that began with the dissents in Roe has shaped every decision since. Urofsky writes of the rise of conservatism and discusses how the resulting appointments of more conservative jurists to the bench put the last of the Warren liberals—William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall—in increasingly beleaguered positions, and in the minority. He discusses the present age of incivility, in which reasoned dialogue seems less and less possible. Yet within the Marble Palace, the members of the Supreme Court continue to hear arguments, vote, and draft majority opinions, while the minority continues to “respectfully dissent.” The Framers understood that if a constitution doesn’t grow and adapt, it atrophies and dies, and if it does, so does the democratic society it has supported. Dissent—on the Court and off, Urofsky argues—has been a crucial ingredient in keeping the Constitution alive and must continue to be so.

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    Dissent and the Supreme Court

    19.4 hrs • 10/13/15 • Unabridged
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  2. 6.7 hrs • 5/5/2015 • Unabridged

    The still-unfolding story of America’s Constitution is a history of heroes and villains—the flawed visionaries who inspired and crafted liberty’s safeguards and the shortsighted opportunists who defied them. Those stories are known by few today. In Our Lost Constitution, Senator Mike Lee tells the dramatic, little-known stories behind six of the Constitution’s most indispensable provisions. He shows their rise, their fall, and he makes vividly clear how nearly every abuse of federal power today is rooted in neglect of this lost Constitution. For example,the Origination Clause says that all bills to raise taxes must originate in the House of Representatives, but contempt for the clause ensured the passage of Obamacare;the Fourth Amendment protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures, but the NSA now collects our private data without a warrant; andthe Legislative Powers Clause means that only Congress can pass laws, but unelected agencies now produce ninety-nine out of every one hundred pages of legal rules imposed on the American people. Lee’s cast of characters includes a former Ku Klux Klansman who hijacked the Establishment Clause to strangle Catholic schools, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who called the Second Amendment a fraud, and the revered president who began his first of four terms by threatening to shatter the balance of power between Congress and the president—and who began his second term by vowing to do the same to the Supreme Court. Fortunately, the Constitution has always had its defenders. Senator Lee tells the story of how Andrew Jackson, noted for his courage in duels and politics, stood firm against the unconstitutional expansion of federal powers; he brings to life Ben Franklin’s genius for compromise at a deeply divided constitutional convention; and he tells how in 2008, a couple of unlikely challengers persuaded the Supreme Court to rediscover the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms. Sections of the Constitution may have been forgotten, but it’s not too late to bring them back—if only we remember why we once demanded them and how we later lost them. Drawing on his experience working in all three branches of government, Senator Lee makes a bold case for resurrecting the lost Constitution to restore and defend our fundamental liberties.

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    Our Lost Constitution

    Read by Mike Lee and Tom Parks
    6.7 hrs • 5/5/15 • Unabridged
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  3. 14.5 hrs • 5/1/2015 • Unabridged

    From war powers to health care, freedom of speech to gun ownership, religious liberty to abortion, practically every aspect of American life is shaped by the Constitution. This vital document, along with its history of political and judicial interpretation, governs our individual lives and the life of our nation. Yet most of us know surprisingly little about the Constitution itself and are woefully unprepared to think for ourselves about recent developments in its long and storied history. The Constitution: An Introduction is the definitive modern primer on the US Constitution. Michael Stokes Paulsen, one of the nation’s most provocative and accomplished scholars of the Constitution, and his son Luke Paulsen, a gifted young writer and scholar, have combined to write a lively introduction to the supreme law of the United States, covering the Constitution’s history and meaning in clear, accessible terms. Beginning with the Constitution’s birth in 1787, Paulsen and Paulsen offer a grand tour of its provisions, principles, and interpretation, introducing readers to the characters and controversies that have shaped the Constitution in the two-hundred-plus years since its creation. Along the way, the authors provide correctives to the shallow myths and partial truths that pervade so much popular treatment of the Constitution, from school textbooks to media accounts of today’s controversies, and offer powerful insights into the Constitution’s true meaning. A lucid and engaging guide, The Constitution: An Introduction provides readers with the tools to think critically and independently about constitutional issues—a skill that is ever more essential to the continued flourishing of American democracy.

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    The Constitution by Michael Stokes Paulsen, Luke Paulsen

    The Constitution

    14.5 hrs • 5/1/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 15.4 hrs • 6/3/2014 • Unabridged

    With the Supreme Court more influential than ever, this eye-opening book tells the story of how the Roberts Court is shaking the foundation of our nation’s laws. From Citizens United to its momentous rulings regarding Obamacare and gay marriage, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has profoundly affected American life. Yet the court remains a mysterious institution, and the motivations of the nine men and women who serve for life are often obscure. Now, in Uncertain Justice, Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz show the surprising extent to which the Roberts Court is revising the meaning of our Constitution. This essential book arrives at a make-or-break moment for the nation and the court. Political gridlock, cultural change, and technological progress mean that the court’s decisions on key topics—including free speech, privacy, voting rights, and presidential power—could be uniquely durable. Acutely aware of their opportunity, the justices are rewriting critical aspects of constitutional law and redrawing the ground rules of American government. Tribe, one of the country’s leading constitutional lawyers, and Matz dig deeply into the court’s recent rulings, stepping beyond tired debates over judicial “activism” to draw out hidden meanings and silent battles. The undercurrents they reveal suggest a strikingly different vision for the future of our country, one that is sure to be hotly debated. Filled with original insights and compelling human stories, Uncertain Justice illuminates the most colorful story of all—how the Supreme Court and the Constitution frame the way we live.

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    Uncertain Justice

    15.4 hrs • 6/3/14 • Unabridged
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  5. 10.3 hrs • 8/26/2013 • Unabridged

    No right seems more fundamental to American public life than freedom of speech. Yet well into the twentieth century, that freedom was still an unfulfilled promise, with Americans regularly imprisoned merely for speaking out against government policies. Indeed, free speech as we know it comes less from the First Amendment than from a most unexpected source: Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. A lifelong skeptic, he disdained all individual rights, including the right to express one’s political views. But in 1919, it was Holmes who wrote a dissenting opinion that would become the canonical affirmation of free speech in the United States. Why did Holmes change his mind? That question has puzzled historians for almost a century. Now, with the aid of newly discovered letters and confidential memos, law professor Thomas Healy reconstructs in vivid detail Holmes’ journey from free-speech opponent to First Amendment hero. It is the story of a remarkable behind-the-scenes campaign by a group of progressives to bring a legal icon around to their way of thinking—and a deeply touching human narrative of an old man saved from loneliness and despair by a few unlikely young friends. Beautifully written and exhaustively researched, The Great Dissent is intellectual history at its best, revealing how free debate can alter the life of a man and the legal landscape of an entire nation.

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    The Great Dissent

    10.3 hrs • 8/26/13 • Unabridged
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    12.2 hrs • 9/18/2012 • Unabridged

    From the moment John Roberts, the chief justice of the United States, blundered through the Oath of Office at Barack Obama’s inauguration, the relationship between the Supreme Court and the White House has been confrontational. Both men are young, brilliant, charismatic, charming, determined to change the course of the nation—and completely at odds on almost every major constitutional issue. One is radical; one essentially conservative. The surprise is that Obama is the conservative—a believer in incremental change, compromise, and pragmatism over ideology. Roberts—and his allies on the Supreme Court—seek to overturn decades of precedent: in short, to undo the ultimate victory FDR achieved in the New Deal. This ideological war will crescendo during the 2011–2012 term, in which several landmark cases are on the Supreme Court’s docket—most crucially, a challenge to Obama’s controversial health-care legislation. With four new justices joining the Supreme Court in just five years, including Obama’s appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, this is a dramatically—and historically—different Supreme Court, playing for the highest of stakes. No one is better positioned to chronicle this dramatic tale than Jeffrey Toobin, whose prize-winning bestseller The Nine laid bare the inner workings and conflicts of the Supreme Court in meticulous and entertaining detail. As the nation prepares to vote for president in 2012, the future of the Supreme Court will also be on the ballot.

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    The Oath

    12.2 hrs • 9/18/12 • Unabridged
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  7. 5.0 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Abridged

    James Madison - often called the Father of the Constitution - described as "neither wholly national, nor wholly federal". By this, Madison meant that the Constitution established both a strong central power and protected state's rights. But to say that something is of two parts is not to say that the parts are equal. Advocates of state sovereignty believed the Constitution created an executive power that was so strong it might as well have been a monarchy. But advocates of national government felt that a strong executive was essential to steer America through crisis. Between these two positions, the living body of the Constitution was sculpted. Over and over, the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention clashed and compromised. Slavery, a bill of rights, legislative representation - all the battles over these issues are enshrined in the language of the Constitution. To fully appreciate the Constitution, it is necessary to understand the questions it sought to resolve.

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  8. 12.9 hrs • 6/20/2012 • Unabridged

    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., is considered one of the greatest justices of the United States Supreme Court and profoundly influenced American jurisprudence, especially in the areas of civil liberties and judicial restraint. At the same time, his abilities as a prose stylist earned him a position among the literary elite. In The Common Law, derived from a series of lectures given at the Lowell Institute in Boston, he systematized his early legal doctrines, creating an enduring classic of legal philosophy that continues to be read and consulted today. Beginning with historical forms of liability, it goes on to discuss criminal law, torts, bail, possession and ownership, contracts, successions, and many other aspects of civil and criminal law. This is a lucid, accessible, and continually relevant sourcebook for students and laymen alike.

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    The Common Law by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

    The Common Law

    12.9 hrs • 6/20/12 • Unabridged
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  9. 10.7 hrs • 6/28/2011 • Unabridged

    Our Founding Fathers created the Bill of Rights to document our inalienable rights and to strictly limit the government’s power. These ten amendments are the foundation of American Exceptionalism—yet that foundation is quickly eroding. With every new sweeping regulation and invasive policy, the Obama administration is twisting the Bill of Rights and corrupting its true purpose. Here to rescue this sacred document from the leftist politicians and activist liberal judges is bestselling author Frank Miniter with Saving the Bill of Rights: Exposing the Left’s Campaign to Destroy American Exceptionalism. In Saving the Bill of Rights, Miniter examines and explains the Bill of Rights amendment by amendment, reminding us exactly what we can do—and more importantly, what the federal government can’t do. “The Left has hijacked the Bill of Rights,” says Miniter, “and it’s up to us to take it back.” In Saving the Bill of Rights, Miniter reveals exactly how we can return the power of the Bill of Rights to its proper role in government and reestablish our Founding Fathers’ vision for America.

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    Saving the Bill of Rights by Frank Miniter

    Saving the Bill of Rights

    10.7 hrs • 6/28/11 • Unabridged
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  10. 11.9 hrs • 8/1/2010 • Unabridged

    You’ve been lied to by the government. We shrug off this fact as an unfortunate reality. America is the land of the free, after all. Does it really matter whether our politicians bend the truth here and there? When the truth is traded for lies, our freedoms are diminished and don’t return. In Lies the Government Told You, Judge Andrew P. Napolitano reveals how America’s freedom, as guaranteed by the US Constitution, has been forfeited by a government more protective of its own power than its obligations to preserve our individual liberties.

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    Lies the Government Told You

    Foreword by Ron Paul
    11.9 hrs • 8/1/10 • Unabridged
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  11. 11.1 hrs • 8/5/2008 • Unabridged

    In November 2001, a thirty-one-year-old Yemeni man named Salim Ahmed Hamdan was captured near the Pakistan border and turned over to US forces in Afghanistan. After confessing to being Osama bin Laden’s driver, Hamdan was transferred to Guantánamo Bay and designated for trial before a special military tribunal. The Pentagon assigned a young military defense lawyer, Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift, to represent him in a defense that no one expected to amount to much. But with the help of a young constitutional law professor, Neal Katyal, Swift sued the Bush administration over the legality of the tribunals—and won. Written with the cooperation of Swift and Katyal, here is the inside story of this seminal case, perhaps the most important decision on presidential power and the rule of law in the history of the Supreme Court.

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    The Challenge by Jonathan Mahler

    The Challenge

    11.1 hrs • 8/5/08 • Unabridged
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  12. 9.9 hrs • 2/1/2008 • Unabridged

    Few Americans know that Indian tribes have a legal status unique among America’s distinct racial and ethnic groups: They are sovereign governments who engage in relations with Congress. This peculiar arrangement has led to frequent legal and political disputes—indeed, the history of American Indians and American law has been one of clashing values and sometimes uneasy compromise. In this clear-sighted account, American Indian scholar N. Bruce Duthu explains the landmark cases in Indian law of the past two centuries. Exploring subjects as diverse as jurisdictional authority, control of environmental resources, and the regulations that allow the operation of gambling casinos, American Indians and the Law gives us an accessible entry point into a vital facet of Indian history.

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  13. 11.4 hrs • 7/1/2006 • Unabridged

    From esteemed journalist and author Richard Labunski comes a riveting narrative of the struggle to ratify the American Constitution. James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights sheds new light on the under-appreciated “founding father” James Madison. The Constitution is so exalted that many Americans fail to realize it was just barely approved as the supreme law of the land. In Virginia, the most influential state at the time, the debate over ratification developed into a titanic struggle between political heavyweights Madison and Patrick Henry. Even after Madison promised to add a Bill of Rights to mollify anti-Federalists, Henry fought his rival bitterly, ensuring that Madison’s political path was strewn with obstacles. Packed with colorful details about life in early America, this compelling and important narrative is the first serious book about Madison written in many years. It will return this under-appreciated patriot to his rightful place among the founding fathers and shed new light on a key turning point in our nation’s history.

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  14. 2.5 hrs • 3/15/2006 • Unabridged

    The Constitution of the United States created a nation with a strong centralized government. In 1791, the Constitution was amended to include ten amendments, commonly referred to as the Bill of Rights. These were guarantees of individual liberty upon which critics of the Constitution had insisted. Changing times raise changing questions. What of black rights—the right of former slaves to vote? And do women not share in that privilege? How many terms should a president serve? These and other issues were resolved through additional amendments to the Constitution. Throughout America’s history, the Constitution has remained a living document. Here, each of the twenty-six amendments is presented in the unique historical context that gave it birth.

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    The Bill of Rights and Additional Amendments by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel
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  15. 6.6 hrs • 1/1/2005 • Unabridged

    While the government claims to be a representative republic, somehow hot-button topics from gay marriage to the allocation of Florida’s presidential electors always seem to be decided by unelected judges. What gives them the right to decide such issues? The judges say it’s the Constitution. Author and law professor Kevin Gutzman shows that there is very little relationship between the Constitution ratified by the thirteen states more than two centuries ago and the “constitutional law” imposed upon us since then. Instead of the intended system of state-level decision makers and elected officials, judges have given us a centralized system in which bureaucrats and appointed officials make most of the important policies. The Constitution guarantees our rights and freedoms, but activist judges are threatening those very rights because of the Supreme Court’s willingness to substitute its own opinions for the perfectly constitutional laws enacted by “we, the people” through our elected representatives. As Professor Gutzman shows, constitutional law is supposed to apply the Constitution’s plain meaning to prevent judges, presidents, and congresses from overstepping their authority. If we want to return to the Founding Fathers’ vision of the Republic, if we want the Constitution enforced in the way it was explained to the people at the time of its ratification, then we have to overcome the “received wisdom” about what constitutional law is. The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution is an important step in that direction.

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    The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution by Kevin R. C. Gutzman
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  16. 12.7 hrs • 4/1/2003 • Unabridged

    The bitter and protracted struggle between President Thomas Jefferson and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall defined the basic constitutional relationship between the executive and judicial branches of government. More than one hundred fifty years later, their clashes still reverberate in constitutional debates and political battles. In this dramatic and fully accessible account of these titans of the early republic and their fiercely held ideas, James F. Simon brings to life the early history of the nation and sheds new light on the highly charged battle to balance the powers of the federal government and the rights of the states. A fascinating look at two of the nation’s greatest statesmen and shrewdest politicians, What Kind of Nation presents a cogent, unbiased assessment of their lasting impact on American government.

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    What Kind of Nation

    12.7 hrs • 4/1/03 • Unabridged
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