Saturday, June 9, 2012

Reflections: Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty

Adam C. Zern shares his thoughts on Randy Barnett's Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty:

"Randy Barnett's Restoring the Lost Constitution is an 'achievement' book.  Although not as long or as difficult to read as some books I have read, finishing Restoring the Lost Constitution left me feeling filled and enlightened, even accomplished on a small scale.  There is a tremendous amount of information - historical, legal, ideological - in Randy Barnett's book.  Completing it made me feel like a genuinely smarter person.

I love American history and studying the Constitution and law from an academic perspective.  I have wanted to read Mr. Barnett's book for many months.  The book is not a primer.  It assumes knowledge of certain basic legal and constitutional theories, arguments, etc.  In that regard, there are more readable and approachable books that deal with this particular topic.  (The Dirty Dozen by Robert Levy and William Mellor would be one example).  However, if one feels comfortable wading into academically charged Constitutional waters, this book is an absolute joy.  The arguments are interesting, although reiterated one too many times, the historical information presented is enlightening, and the main thrust of the book-the presumption of liberty-is worth understanding for anyone, regardless of ideology.

I would highly recommend Restoring the Lost Constitution to anyone with an established knowledge of Constitutional law (although additional knowledge in ideology and political science would be helpful).  Otherwise, most people would get completely buried in the book's contents.  I loved the book and will point to it as a fine, albeit small, accomplishment having read it."

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