7. Is the Constitution what the justices say it is?
Joseph L. Smith [+]
University of Alabama
The U.S. Constitution in 5 Minutes presents 59 essays on subjects central to the meaning and application of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution was written more than 230 years ago, for a new country on the periphery of the world. Two centuries later, it governs the most powerful nation on earth and its meaning is constantly debated. Written by scholars, these essays cover origins; institutions, processes, and structural features; civil rights and liberties; and modes of interpretation and address common questions and misunderstandings about the Constitution, such as: Can the President start a war? Does the Constitution protect hate speech? Does the Second Amendment give everyone the right to have a gun? Does the Constitution protect non-citizens? How can we tell what the Constitution means? Pitched at readers who follow the news and have basic knowledge about the U.S. government, this book is valuable as a supplement to political science courses and for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the underlying principles of the U.S. political system. As with all the “in 5 Minutes” books, the essays are written in lively and accessible prose and are brief enough to be read in 5 minutes.