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 indispensible provisions. He shows their rise. He shows 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. • The 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 threating 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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The U.S. Constitution found in school textbooks and under glass in Washington is not the one enforced today by the Supreme Court. In Restoring the Lost Constitution, Randy Barnett argues that since the nation's founding, but especially since the 1930s, the courts have been cutting holes in the original Constitution and its amendments to eliminate the parts that protect liberty from the power of government. From the Commerce Clause, to the Necessary and Proper Clause, to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, to the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court has rendered each of these provisions toothless. In the process, the written Constitution has been lost. Barnett establishes the original meaning of these lost clauses and offers a practical way to restore them to their central role in constraining government: adopting a "presumption of liberty" to give the benefit of the doubt to citizens when laws restrict their rightful exercises of liberty. He also provides a new, realistic and philosophically rigorous theory of constitutional legitimacy that justifies both interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning and, where that meaning is vague or open-ended, construing it so as to better protect the rights retained by the people. As clearly argued as it is insightful and provocative, Restoring the Lost Constitution forcefully disputes the conventional wisdom, posing a powerful challenge to which others must now respond. This updated edition features an afterword with further reflections on individual popular sovereignty, originalist interpretation, judicial engagement, and the gravitational force that original meaning has exerted on the Supreme Court in several recent cases.
Rare-book expert Peter Fallon and his girlfriend, Evangeline, the main characters from Back Bay and Harvard Yard, are back for another treasure hunt through time. They have learned of an early, annotated draft of the Constitution, stolen and smuggled out of Philadelphia. The draft's marginal notes spell out, in shocking detail, the Founders' unequivocal intentions---the unmistakable meaning of the Bill of Rights. Peddled and purloined, trafficked and concealed for over two centuries, the lost Constitution could forever change America's history---and its future. Moreover, Congress is already at war, fighting tooth and claw over the eternally contentious Bill of Rights. When word gets out of the lost draft's existence, it launches a frenzied search, as both sides of the partisan machine believe it will reinforce their arguments. While battling politicians from both sides of the debate, Peter and Evangeline must get to the document first, because they know that if the wrong people find it, they will burn it, stripping the nation of its constitutional moorings. The search takes Peter and Evangeline into the rich history of America and New England, from Shay's Rebellion to the birth of the American industrial revolution to the march of the legendary 20th Maine in the Civil War. Past and present play off one another as the search for the draft heats up. It finally boils over on the first night of the World Series, at that Mecca of New England, Boston's fabled Fenway Park, and the truth is finally revealed.... At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
When Clarence Thomas joined the Supreme Court in 1991, he found with dismay that it was interpreting a very different Constitution from the one the framers had written—the one that had established a federal government manned by the people’s own elected representatives, charged with protecting citizens’ inborn rights while leaving them free to work out their individual happiness themselves, in their families, communities, and states. He found that his predecessors on the Court were complicit in the first step of this transformation, when in the 1870s they defanged the Civil War amendments intended to give full citizenship to his fellow black Americans. In the next generation, Woodrow Wilson, dismissing the framers and their work as obsolete, set out to replace laws made by the people’s representatives with rules made by highly educated, modern, supposedly nonpartisan “experts,” an idea Franklin Roosevelt supersized in the New Deal agencies that he acknowledged had no constitutional warrant. Then, under Chief Justice Earl Warren in the 1950s and 1960s, the Nine set about realizing Wilson’s dream of a Supreme Court sitting as a permanent constitutional convention, conjuring up laws out of smoke and mirrors and justifying them as expressions of the spirit of the age. But Thomas, who joined the Court after eight years running one of the myriad administrative agencies that the Great Society had piled on top of FDR’s batch, had deep misgivings about the new governmental order. He shared the framers’ vision of free, self-governing citizens forging their own fate. And from his own experience growing up in segregated Savannah, flirting with and rejecting black radicalism at college, and running an agency that supposedly advanced equality, he doubted that unelected experts and justices really did understand the moral arc of the universe better than the people themselves, or that the rules and rulings they issued made lives better rather than worse. So in the hundreds of opinions he has written in more than a quarter century on the Court—the most important of them explained in these pages in clear, non-lawyerly language—he has questioned the constitutional underpinnings of the new order and tried to restore the limited, self-governing original one, as more legitimate, more just, and more free than the one that grew up in its stead. The Court now seems set to move down the trail he blazed. A free, self-governing nation needs independent-minded, self-reliant citizens, and Thomas’s biography, vividly recounted here, produced just the kind of character that the founders assumed would always mark Americans. America’s future depends on the power of its culture and institutions to form ever more citizens of this stamp.
This groundbreaking book is the first to look at administration and administrative law in the earliest days of the American republic. Contrary to conventional understandings, Mashaw demonstrates that from the very beginning Congress delegated vast discretion to administrative officials and armed them with extrajudicial adjudicatory, rulemaking, and enforcement authority. The legislative and administrative practices of the U.S. Constitution’s first century created an administrative constitution hardly hinted at in its formal text. Beyond describing a history that has previously gone largely unexamined, this book, in the author’s words, will "demonstrate that there has been no precipitous fall from a historical position of separation-of-powers grace to a position of compromise; there is not a new administrative constitution whose legitimacy should be understood as not only contestable but deeply problematic."
NOW A NATIONAL BESTSELLER! The left’s partisan push to pack the Supreme Court with liberal justices has fully migrated from the fringes into the mainstream of Democratic politics. It wasn’t long ago that liberal icons, including the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, were against the idea of overhauling the court for political gain. But now, in the Biden era, more and more powerful Democrats are getting behind the cause, claiming the high court is broken and actively dismantling our democracy. Even Joe Biden—who once called court-packing a “bonehead idea”—gave in to the progressive wing of his party, appointing a committee to examine “reforms” to the court after being sworn in as president. What changed? Mike Lee, a respected member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reveals the answer to that question and warns of the dangerous norm-shattering precedent that would be set by politically motivated attempts to turn the Supreme Court into just another partisan weapon.
New York Times bestselling author and committed constitutional conservative Senator Mike Lee reveals the little-known stories behind the Founder's takedown of a tyrannical king and the forgotten document that created America. There is perhaps no more powerful sentence in human history, written in Philadelphia in the oppressively hot summer of 1776: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." Despite the earth-shattering power of Jefferson's simple sentence and the document in which it is found, many Americans today don't understand or appreciate the Declaration's gravity. As a result, we have lost touch with much of what makes our country so special: the distinctly American belief in the dignity of every human soul. Our nation was born in an act of rebellion against an all-powerful government. In Our Lost Declaration, Senator Mike Lee tells the dramatic, little-known stories of the offenses committed by the British crown against its own subjects. From London's attempts to shut down colonial legislatures to hauling John Hancock before a court without a jury, the abuses of a strong central government were felt far and wide. They spurred our Founders to risk their lives in defense of their rights, and their efforts established a vision of political freedom that would change the course of history. Lee shares new insights into the personalities who shaped that vision, such as: • Thomas Paine, a populist radical who nearly died making his voyage from Great Britain to the colonies before writing his revolutionary pamphlet, Common Sense. • Edmund Randolph, who defied his Loyalist family and served in the Virginia convention that voted for independence • Thomas Jefferson, who persevered through a debilitating health crisis to pen the document that would officially begin the American experiment. Senator Lee makes vividly clear how many abuses of federal power today are rooted in neglect of the Declaration, including federal overreach that corrupts state legislatures, the judicial system, and even international trade. By rediscovering the Declaration, we can remind our leaders in Washington D.C. that they serve us--not the other way around.
Today the integrity and unity of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are under attack by the Progressive political movement. And yet, writes Larry P. Arnn: “The words of the Declaration of Independence ring across the ages. The arrangements of the Constitution have a way of organizing our actions so as to produce certain desirable results, and they have done this more reliably than any governing instrument in the history of man. Connect these arrangements to the beauty of the Declaration and one has something inspiring and commanding.” From Chapter 2, The Founders’ Key Dr. Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, reveals this integral unity of the Declaration and the Constitution. Together, they form the pillars upon which the liberties and rights of the American people stand. United, they have guided history’s first self-governing nation, forming our government under certain universal and eternal principles. Unfortunately, the effort to redefine government to reflect “the changing and growing social order” has gone very far toward success. Politicians such as Franklin Roosevelt found ways to condemn and discard the Constitution and to redefine the Declaration to justify government without limit. As a result, both documents have been weakened, their influence diminished, and their meaning obscured—paving the way for the modern administrative state, unaccountable to the will of the people. The Founders’ Key is a powerful call to rediscover the connection between these two mighty documents, and thereby restore our political faith and revive our free institutions.