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1943 - 2009
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The Words We Live By. Your Annotated Guide To The Constitution. By Linda R. Monk. The Stonesong Press. 2003. 288 pages. PB. $14.95, available at Borders and Amazon.

Do we have a Constitutional right to privacy? Do we have a Constitutional right to vote for POTUS? Are members of Congress immune from arrest? How can Morton Grove, Illinois ban handguns and California ban .50 caliber rifles? Why do we tolerate Federal judges who rule against our gun rights? I'll answer one of these questions; for the rest, you will have to read the book.

This book is a plain language explanation of what the United States Constitution says, coupled with an equally plain language explanation of what the Constitution means, as interpreted by the rulings and decisions of the United States Supreme Court. Legal doctrines and terminologies are thoroughly explained in layman's language. You needn't be a lawyer to understand this book.

Part 1 guides the reader thru the text of the Constitution, beginning with the Preamble. The meaning of each article and section is thoroughly explained, and illustrated by summaries and/or citations of relevant Supreme Court rulings, along with short sidebar articles by and about historical and modern figures and events. Italicized text alerts the reader to language in the Constitution that was subsequently amended.

Part 2 guides the reader thru the text of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, beginning, naturally, with the Bill Of Rights, in the same format as part 1. For this review, I'll focus on the 2nd Amendment. The book takes no stand, either for or against the individual or collective right to keep and bear arms argument. Both sides of the issue are presented, and it is noted that the Supreme Court has never ruled definitively on whether the 2nd Amendment protects an individual or collective right to bear arms. (p152). Sidebars present Charlton Heston's pro-gun view and Pete Hamill's anti-gun view.

It is also noted that the 2nd Amendment does not apply to the states, because the Supreme Court has never incorporated the right to keep and bear arms to the states under the 14th Amendment (known as the Equal Protection Of The Laws amendment.) (p216). This is the reason why states can enact gun control laws.

Other Supreme Court rulings on the right to bear arms are noted on pages 49, 153 and 195.

I recommend this book without reservation. In fact, I think it should be required reading for every high school student in America.

5 :toilet:
 

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Thx Crunch - certainly sounds like required reading - actually for a lot of folks - including politicians perhaps!!
 
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