Connecticut State Library with state seal

Spotlight on ...the Law Collection at the CT State Library
Constitution, Courts, and Individual Liberties, row seven


Understanding Constitutional Issues: Selections from the CQ Researcher, by CQ Press, 2004

KF4550.Z9 U537 2004
This collection of CQ Researcher reports "helps readers make important connections between contemporary issues and constitutional concepts and principles. Beginning with an overarching essay on the U.S. Constitution's history and evolving impact, this collection organizes the reports into four themes: Government Powers and Structure, Security, Liberty and Equality. Each thematic section sets its reports in context with an opening essay that ties them to relevant concepts in the Constitution and provides updated information such as recent court decisions."

For the People: What the Constitution Really Says About Your Rights, by Akhil Reed Amar and Alan Hirsch (The Free Press, 1998)

KF4550.Z9 A43 1998
"When serving on a jury, can you ever interpret the Constitution yourself? When threatened by your city's taking of your property, do you have any recourse aside from lobbying or voting the bums out in the next election? If you disagree with a Supreme Court decision, is there anything you can do? In this bold and groundbreaking book, the authors answer `yes' to these questions and invite you to rediscover your Constitution. Over time, our rich constitutional rights have been obscured, along with this essential truth: We own our government, and government officials operate at our discretion. To preserve that ownership, the Framers of the Constitution gave the People crucial rights and responsibilities - which, regrettably have faded from view. At the ballot box, in the jury room, and on the battlefield, the People wield far more rights than we generally realize."

When the Nazis Came to Skokie: Freedom for Speech we Hate. by Philippa Strum (University Press of Kansas, 1999)

KF4772.A7 S77 1999
"In the Chicago suburb of Skokie, one out of every six Jewish citizens in the late 1970s was a survivor - or was directly related to a survivor - of the Holocaust. These victims of terror had resettled in America expecting to lead peaceful lives free from persecution. But their safe haven was shattered when a neo-Nazi group announced its intention to parade there in 1977. Counsel for the town argued with passion that freedom of speech doctrines did not protect "fighting words", slander, pornography, and hateful speech; but did the Nazis really pose a threat amounting to a clear and present danger to the survivors? The survivors in Skokie sought an injunction to bar the Nazis from wearing uniforms bearing swastikas, handing out leaflets, and marching. This amounted to a prior restraint of speech; but if the Nazis did not march, how could the survivors prove that they were harmed? Perhaps holding a counterdemonstration, or simply ignoring the Nazis, denying them the publicity they craved, was a better course? The author handles all of these complex issues with clarity and balance."

The Constitution in Congress (2 volumes) The Federalist Period 1789-1801 & The Jeffersonians 1801-1829, by David P. Currie (University of Chicago Press, 1997)

KF4541 .C834 1997 Volume 1
"Judicial review has enjoyed such success in the United States that we tend to forget that other branched of government also play a role in interpreting the Constitution. Before 1800, however, nearly all our constitutional law was made by Congress or the president, and so was much of it thereafter. Indeed, a number of constitutional issues of the first importance have never been resolved by judges; what we know of their solution we owe to the legislative and executive branches, whose interpretations have established traditions almost as hallowed in some cases as the Constitution itself. The first half of this volume is devoted to the critical work of the first Congress, which was in many ways a continuation of the Constitutional Convention. In addition to setting up executive departments, federal courts, and a national bank, the First Congress imposed the first federal taxes, regulated foreign commerce, and enacted laws respecting naturalization, copyrights and patents, and federal crimes. In doing so it debated a myriad of fundamental questions about the scope and limits of its powers. Part Two of this volume treats the Second through the Sixth Congresses, where members of the legislative and executive branches continued to debate constitutional questions great and small. In addition to such familiar controversies as the Neutrality Proclamation, the Jay Treaty, and the Alien and Sedition Acts, this part traces the difficult constitutional issues that arose when Congress confronted the problems of presidential succession, legislative reapportionment, and the scope of impeachment power."

KF4541 .C835 2001 Volume 2
"Having examined the Federalist period in the previous volume, the author now turns to the period of Republican hegemony from the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson in 1801 to the inauguration of Andrew Jackson in 1829. During this time Republicans, mostly Virginians, occupied the President's House, and their party dominated Congress. Many benchmark issues were decided at this time of great leadership and controversy - the abolition of the new Circuit Courts, the Louisiana Purchase, the Burr conspiracy, the War of 1812, the Monroe Doctrine, and the Missouri Compromise. These issues, and many others, became constitutional controversies, as politicians sought to apply the broad principles laid out in the Constitution to concrete, often unforeseen events. As the author shows, they were fought out almost exclusively in the legislative and executive arenas, not in the courts."