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The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the…

The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic (edição: 2013)

de Mark R. Levin

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"The long-awaited new book on how to fix our broken government by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Liberty and Tyranny and Ameritopia"-- "Mark Levin presents a proposal for new constitutional amendments to fix our broken country"--
Título:The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic
Autores:Mark R. Levin
Informação:Threshold Editions (2013), Edition: 0, Hardcover, 272 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca

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The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic de Mark R. Levin


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1CThe Liberty Amendments 1D is first and foremost a highly thoughtful working through of proposed amendments to the United States Constitution by talk-show host and former government attorney Mark Levin. It is also an exploration of what has gone wrong in the development of federal power over the past two centuries and of a little-known remedy built into the Constitution itself. But more about that later.

Most of the book is devoted to ten amendments that Levin has written himself, but which would not likely be proposed or approved by a sitting Congress because these amendments tend to limit federal power and, in several cases, directly counter the authority of the Congress and other branches of the federal government by granting power to the state governments to check the federal government. These amendments are well thought out in that they do not give states cart blanch to go back and change laws written years before. So that while these measures allow the states, through their legislatures, to undo acts of Congress and even decisions of the Supreme Court (they also allow Congress to undo High Court decisions) these countermeasures would have to be launched within a specified number of months after the legislation or decision and would require super-majority votes of either two-thirds or three-fourths. Levin 19s amendments would not make it possible to exercise these checks of federal power frivolously, but if there were enough widespread opposition to any federal measure or decision, it could be neutered fairly quickly.

These amendments would rebalance the power exercised in U.S. civic life, taking supreme powers previously enjoyed by the branches of the federal government and putting them under the power of the states where they could be overruled whenever they prove to be sufficiently unpopular. In some cases, Levin 19s proposed amendments are a reaction to the undermining of intent of the original U.S. Constitution, which has crept toward ever more federal control over state sovereignty over the centuries and especially during the past century.

Where the intended purposes of government and relations between the state and federal governments have been changed over time in ways that Levin deems impossible to return to their original condition, he has opted to limit federal power in ways that only indirectly address the imbalance. For example, the power of the judiciary under the Constitution, which allowed it to review laws, has been used from early on to give the Supreme Court wider and wider powers of interpretation to the point where 1Cjudicial review 1D implies an almost unlimited authority to rewrite laws and expand and even radically alter the meanings of constitutional provisions to the point where their Framers would find them unrecognizable. Levin despairs that the philosophy behind such abuses is too entrenched to defeat it by reiterating the proper understanding of the Constitution 19s original intent or by reforming the curriculum of our law schools. He therefore attacks the problem by proposing term limits for the Court. This kind of indirect approach, evident in some of his proposals, reminds me of the song about the old lady who swallowed the spider to catch the fly. One problem is deemed insoluble by attacking it directly; so, instead, another measure will be introduced in order to counteract the problem. However, this is not said as a fatal criticism of his proposal, because he is probably right that this would be a more effective way of combating an error than would be a lengthy review of every past Court decision in order to overturn those that misinterpreted the letter of the law or misapplied precedents that were already contradictory to the law. Term limits would solve the problem with much less mess, even though, as Levin recognizes, it would work only if more judicious men and women were appointed to take the places of the retiring justices.

What is exciting about the best of these amendments is that they create specific legal steps by which the states, usually through their legislatures, can check and counter acts by the federal government. They provide exactly the measures that the Anti-Federalist delegates to the state ratifying conventions in 1788 rightly pointed out were missing from the Constitution, and which they asked for, but never got, from the original Constitution and its Federalist advocates: lawful measures that would allow states to stand up to the 1Cgeneral 1D or federal government. Even Hamilton and Madison, in the 1CFederalist Papers, 1D both appealed to armed insurrection as the most specifiable resort to which the states could turn under the Constitution, if they did not like what the federal government was doing to them!

The idea that set Levin to thinking about new amendments that might be proposed even though the Congress itself would never approve them, is that of the 1Cconvention of states, 1D which is mentioned in Article V of the U.S. Constitution as one of two ways that the document might be amended. It actually does what most of Levin 19s amendments do: allows the state legislatures to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution whether Congress likes them or not. Throughout U.S. history, the only amendments that have been successfully added to the Constitution have been proposed by Congress and passed by a supermajority of both houses, then ratified by three-fourths of the states. There have been several times when the other method allowed by Article V, the Convention of the States, has been attempted but it has not come to pass. This process is described approvingly in 1CThe Federalist Papers 1D by both James Madison (Paper #43) and Alexander Hamilton (Paper #85). Advocates of this approach have included President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Senator Everett Dirksen, and Levin cites Professor Robert G. Natelson as a leading advocate whose published legal writings led Levin himself from skepticism to enthusiasm.

Levin deals with objections that the Convention of the States might become a runaway Constitutional Convention that would rewrite the Constitution entirely. This notion is quite a popular objection, but it requires a degree of paranoia bred of ignorance of the fact that the language of Article V makes the Convention of the States a process hemmed in by a narrow legal mandate to write amendments only and to submit them for ratification to the other states, requiring three fourths of them to vote for any new amendments just as is the case under the method where Congress submits new amendments to the states.

It is interesting to note that in one of his amendments, Levin suggests that the process of the Convention of the States itself be changed so that there would not need to be a national convention of the states. Under Levin 19s proposal, each state could meet separately and propose amendments. The only problem with this, for which Levin specifies a solution, is that each state, without the consultation of the other states, would be likely to come up with completely different and incompatible amendments; so Levin includes a provision that each amendment voted upon by all of the states must be worded exactly the same in order to become an amendment to the Constitution.

When I first heard Levin talk about his idea, I thought was brilliant. Having read his book now, I find that 1Cbrilliant 1D is not strong enough a word. It seems to me that Levin 19s proposed amendments are what James Madison might have come up with had he had the benefit of looking back on two and a quarter centuries of American constitutional history. If not Madison, then certainly Thomas Jefferson would have approved. ( )
  MilesFowler | Jul 16, 2023 |
Interesting book that proposes a number of constitutional amendments designed to improve the US, at least in the author's opinion. In my opinion each of the amendments has some merit and worth a deeper discussion. The author tends to base most of his arguments upon the "original intent" of the founders. This is fine as far as it goes and the author does go the extra effort to show how their ideas are still relevant. I still wish more discussion was included on other reasons that these amendments make sense. If you are predisposed to the conservative side of the political spectrum, you'll probably enjoy this book, if you are on the liberal side--it probably won't be convincing enough. ( )
  Skybalon | Mar 19, 2020 |
More readable than Ameritopia yet not quite as impressionable as Liberty And Tyranny, this one is an outstanding and completely factual look at how our government, emphasis on the federal level, has engaged in subverting, dismantling, and rewriting the Constitution to infinitely increase federal powers to the detriment of the states and the American people. Levin has put forth an entire list of intelligent and well thought out amendments that would go a long way to diminishing the federal government's powers and returning power to the states and our citizens. Truly a book for our times...I would recommend it to ANY U.S. citizen. ( )
  utbw42 | Sep 5, 2013 |
Case 7 shelf 4
  semoffat | Aug 25, 2021 |
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