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Over the last few decades, the Supreme Court and the federal appellate courts have undergone a dramatic shift to the right, the result of a determined effort by right-wing lawmakers and presidents to reinterpret the Constitution by reshaping the judiciary. Conservative activist justices have narrowed the scope of the Constitution, denying its protections to millions of Americans, exactly as the lawmakers who appointed and confirmed these jurists intended. Basic long-standing principles of constitutional law have been overturned by the Rehnquist and Roberts courts. As distinguished law professor and constitutional expert Erwin Chemerinsky demonstrates in this invaluable book, these changes affect the lives of every American. As a result of political pressure from conservatives and a series of Supreme Court decisions, our public schools are increasingly separate and unequal, to the great disadvantage of poor and minority students. Right-wing politicians and justices are dismantling the wall separating church and state, allowing ever greater government support for religion. With the blessing of the Supreme Court, absurdly harsh sentences are being handed down to criminal defendants, such as life sentences for shoplifting and other petty offenses. Even in death penalty cases, defendants are being denied the right to competent counsel at trial, and as a result innocent people have been convicted and sentenced to death. Right-wing politicians complain that government is too big and intrusive while at the same time they are only too happy to insert the government into the most intimate aspects of the private lives of citizens when doing so conforms to conservative morality. Conservative activist judges say that the Constitution gives people an inherent right to own firearms but not to make their own medical decisions. In some states it is easier to buy an assault rifle than to obtain an abortion. Nowhere has the conservative assault on the Constitution been more visible or more successful than in redefining the role of the president. From Richard Nixon to George W. Bush, conservatives have sought to significantly increase presidential power. The result in recent years has been unprecedented abuses, including indefinite detentions, illegal surveillance, and torture of innocent people. Finally, access to the courts is being restricted by new rulings that deny legal protections to ordinary Americans. Fewer lawsuits alleging discrimination in employment are heard; fewer people are able to sue corporations or governments for injuries they have suffered; and even when these cases do go to trial, new restrictions limit damages that plaintiffs can collect. The first step in reclaiming the protections of the Constitution, says Chemerinsky, is to recognize that right-wing justices are imposing their personal prejudices, not making neutral decisions about the scope of the Constitution, as they claim, or following the "original meaning" of the Constitution. Only then do we stand a chance of reclaiming our constitutional liberties from a rigid ideological campaign that has transformed our courts and our laws. Only then can we return to a constitutional law that advances freedom and equality.
Looks at Chief Justice John Roberts' upholding of "Obamacare," and shows how his decision was based on libertarian ideals and may not be a victory, but instead a blow, to progressives.
In the wake of Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential election, a deeply reported look inside the conservative movement working to undermine American democracy Donald Trump is the second Republican this century to triumph in the Electoral College without winning the popular vote. As Zachary Roth reveals in The Great Suppression, this is no coincidence. Over the last decade, Republicans have been rigging the game in their favor. Twenty-two states have passed restrictions on voting. Ruthless gerrymandering has given the GOP a long-term grip on Congress. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has eviscerated campaign finance laws, boosting candidates backed by big money. It would be worrying enough if these were just schemes for partisan advantage. But the reality is even more disturbing: a growing number of Republicans distrust the very idea of democracy—and they’re doing everything they can to limit it. In The Great Suppression, Roth unearths the deep historical roots of this anti-egalitarian worldview, and introduces us to its modern-day proponents: The GOP officials pushing to make it harder to cast a ballot; the lawyers looking to scrap all limits on money in politics; the libertarian scholars reclaiming judicial activism to roll back the New Deal; and the corporate lobbyists working to ban local action on everything from the minimum wage to the environment. And he travels from Rust Belt cities to southern towns to show us how these efforts are hurting the most vulnerable Americans and preventing progress on pressing issues. A sharp, searing polemic in the tradition of Rachel Maddow and Matt Taibbi, The Great Suppression is an urgent wake-up call about a threat to our most cherished values, and a rousing argument for why we need democracy now more than ever.
A preeminent constitutional scholar offers a hard-hitting analysis of the Supreme Court over the last two hundred years Most Americans share the perception that the Supreme Court is objective, but Erwin Chemerinsky, one of the country’s leading constitutional lawyers, shows that this is nonsense and always has been. The Court is made up of fallible individuals who base decisions on their own biases. Today, the Roberts Court is promoting a conservative agenda under the guise of following a neutral methodology, but notorious decisions, such as Bush vs. Gore and Citizens United, are hardly recent exceptions. This devastating book details, case by case, how the Court has largely failed throughout American history at its most important tasks and at the most important times. Only someone of Chemerinsky’s stature and breadth of knowledge could take on this controversial topic. Powerfully arguing for term limits for justices and a reassessment of the institution as a whole, The Case Against the Supreme Court is a timely and important book that will be widely read and cited for decades to come. From the Hardcover edition.
A nationally syndicated talk radio host presents a volume of essays for conservative leaders that recommends specific approaches to such issues as immigration, health care, and foreign policy.
A new group of Americans is challenging the reign of the Religious Right Today, nearly one in five Americans are nonbelievers - a rapidly growing group at a time when traditional Christian churches are dwindling in numbers - and they are flexing their muscles like never before. Yet we still see almost none of them openly serving in elected office, while Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and many others continue to loudly proclaim the myth of America as a Christian nation. In Nonbeliever Nation, leading secular advocate David Niose explores what this new force in politics means for the unchallenged dominance of the Religious Right. Hitting on all the hot-button issues that divide the country – from gay marriage to education policy to contentious church-state battles – he shows how this movement is gaining traction, and fighting for its rights. Now, Secular Americans—a group comprised not just of atheists and agnostics, but lapsed Catholics, secular Jews, and millions of others who have walked away from religion—are mobilizing and forming groups all over the country (even atheist clubs in Bible-belt high schools) to challenge the exaltation of religion in American politics and public life. This is a timely and important look at how growing numbers of nonbelievers, disenchanted at how far America has wandered from its secular roots, are emerging to fight for equality and rational public policy.
"Sponsored by The Century Foundation and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law."

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