Book Review:The Conservative Assault on the Constitution

AUTHOR: Erwin Chemerinsky PUBLICATION DATE: October 5, 2010
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster PAGE COUNT: 305 pp. + index ISBN: 978-1-4165-7468-2
PRICE: $27.00

A prolific author and law school dean, Chemerinsky brings his expertise in Constitutional law to his fifth book on the topic, as he analyzes recent trends in modern American jurisprudence which he believes are tipping the legal scales too far to the right. The author shows how historically accepted principles of American Constitutional law, such as separation of church and state, have been diluted by a new conservative mentality that is political, not legal, in nature and has thus resulted in a new brand of political jurisprudence in Constitutional law that is more an offspring of the ballot box than the natural and organic evolution of legal theory, thus allowing, for example, public displays of religious symbols that would have been banned by earlier, more liberal, courts. Chemerinsky also asserts that the implementation of the death penalty is fraught with unfair procedures and ineffective representation by counsel, conditions that are exacerbated by an increasingly conservative Federal judiciary and legislation enacted by a conservative Congress that makes it harder for individuals, even those wrongly convicted, to gain relief from the federal courts. Aimed at a scholarly audience, the author clearly makes the case that conservative ideology has invaded, and thus diluted, traditional Constitutional rights and liberties. Recommended for academic, public, and law libraries.

Philip Y. Blue, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Law Library, First Judicial District, New York, New York

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