God Bless the Constitution of the United States--and God Bless Adam Freedman
Folks, on good-news-only-day, some especially good news:
I just received the galleys of our own Adam Freedman's forthcoming book, The Naked Constitution, opening it with the special dread one feels when opening a book by a friend. (If it's no good, you're going to have to lie to your friend and tell him it is. If it is good, you'll find yourself wishing you'd written it yourself.) Adam's book? Wonderful--brilliant, lively, straightforward, and pugnacious. Also very, very ambitious. Adam intends in The Naked Constitution to reclaim our founding document for us, the laymen, the ordinary citizens the Constitution was intended to serve.
At America's law schools, students are taught to regard the Constitution as an enigmatic puzzle accessible only to tenured faculty and enlightened judges. Entire academic careers have been built upon the proposition that the Constitution cannot possibly mean what it says. To get a sense of the bogus mystery surrounding the Constitution, just take a look at some of the titles at your local law school library: Our Elusive Constitution, Our Unsettled Constitution, Our Unknown Constitution, The Invisible Constitution, The Dynamic Constitution, and The Unpredictable Constitution.
Get a grip. We're not talking about the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Prophecies of Nostradamus. We're talking about a document of 4,300 words--7,500 if you throw in all the amendments. The average New Yorker essay is just getting warmed up at 7,500 words. The Constitution is not simple, but it's not all that complicated either....
Why all the hocus-pocus? It's not because the Constitution is obscure, but rather because it is all-too clear, and it stands for things that politicians, judges, and academics can't abide.
In a word, The Naked Constitution is a beaut.
Oh, and that part about wishing I'd written it myself? No problem. Although Adam has composed the book in a lucid, easy, accessible style, only a lawyer could have marshaled the history and the arguments that Adam marshals, and I'm no lawyer. I can therefore read The Naked Constitution with a pleasure uncomplicated by, ahem, envy.