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"I want you to disregard all the opposing counsel has said. I think they're delusionary. I think they've had something funny for lunch in their meal, I think they should be handcuffed, chained to a fence and flogged, and all of their hearsay evidence should be thrown the hell out. And if they lie again, I'm going to go over there and kick them in the crotch. Thank you very much." — Traficant's closing statement to the ethics panel.

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The Constitution has been the subject of countless books, for readers of all ages, to say nothing of books on specific constitutional issues. Here is a very brief listing, focusing primarily on recent books, many of which are still in print.


Fritz, Jean. Can t You Make Them Behave, King George? Ill. by Tomie dePaola. Coward, 1967.

Fritz, Jean. Shhh! We re Signing the Constitution. Ill. by Tomie dePaola. Putnam, 1987. Using a personal style, Fritz introduces the men who wrote the Constitution and the times in which they lived.

Fritz, Jean. What s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin? Ill. by Margot Tomes. Coward, 1976.

Levy, Elizabeth. If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution. Scholastic, 1987. The signers of the Constitution answer questions a child might pose.


Bowen, Catherine Drinker. Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention, May to September 1787. Little, Brown, 1966. A highly readable and reliable account of the day-to-day events in the Constitutional Convention, the book contains excellent descriptions of the people and places involved in this historical event.

Corbin, Carole Lynn. The Right to Vote. Watts, 1985. A clear, concise overview of democracy s most important component, this history has special sections on blacks, women and those under 21.

DePauw, Linda Grant. Founding Mothers: Women in America in the Revolutionary Era. Houghton, Mifflin, 1975.

Franklin, Paula A. The Fourth Amendment. Silver Burdett, 1991. Explains search and seizure law.

Lawson, Don. The Changing Face of the Constitution. Watts, 1979. Amendments and Supreme Court decisions have been needed to guarantee rights not stated in the original document.

Morris, Richard. The Constitution. Lerner, 1985.



Bachmann, Steven. The U.S. Constitution for Beginners. Writers and Readers, 1987. Very simple book, illustrated.

Barbash, Fred. Founding: A Dramatic Account of the Writing of the Constitution. 1987

Bartholomew, Paul and Menez, Joseph. Summaries of the Great Cases of the Constitution. Littlefield,, Adams, 1990. Recent edition of a classic compilation of cases.

Bernstein, Richard. Are We to Be a Nation: The Making of the Constitution. Harvard, 1987

Bovard, James. Lost Rights. St. Martin's Griffin, 1995. Contemporary critique of government overreaching.

Irons, Peter. The Courage of Their Convictions. Free Press, 1988. A moving account of some of the individuals who struggled to secure the full meaning of the rights we enjoy today through cases that set Supreme Court precedents.

Kammen, Michael. A Machine that Would Go of Itself: The Constitution in American Culture. Vintage, 1986. Kammen investigates the meaning of the Constitution on practical and symbolic levels. The Constitution emerges from his analysis as a document of strength and flexibility that mirrors the changes in society s values and beliefs.

Karst, Kenneth. Law's Promise, Law's Expression: Visions of Power in the Politics of Race, Gender, and Religion. Yale, 1994

Klage, David. The People's Guide to the U.S. Constitution. Birch Lane Press, 1994. A simple, easy- to-read look at the Constitution.

Lieberman, Jethro. The Evolving Constitution. Random House, 1992. Important decisions, grouped by topic.

McWhirter, Darien A. Exploring the Constitution Series. Oryx Press, 1994. Four books for students 9-12: Equal Protection; Search, Seizure, and Privacy; The Separation of Church and State; and Freedom of Speech, Press, and Assembly. Each gives overview of court decisions, glossary, etc.

Padover, Saul K. The Living U.S. Constitution. Third edition, revised. Meridian, 1995. Recent edition of a classic.

Ritchie, Donald. Know Your Government: The U.S. Constitution. Chelsea House, 1989. Brief account, part of a series on American government.

Smith, Page. The Constitution: A Documentary and Narrative History. Morrow, 1978. An excellent compendium of documents and explanations on the origins and evolution of the Constitution.

Speath, Harold J. and Smith, Edward C. The Constitution of the United States. Harper Collins, 1991. Good reference, in outline form.

Sunstein, Cass. The Partial Constitution. Harvard, 1993. Argues for a fundamental rethinking of the Constitution and its interpretation.


Anastaplo, George. The Amendments to the Constitution. Johns Hopkins, 1995. Commentary on the amendments.

Bernstein, Richard, with Azel, Jerome. Amending America. Kansas, 1993. Commentary on the amendment process.

Bill of Rights

Alderman, Ellen and Kennedy, Caroline. In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action. Morrow, 1991. Defense of the Bill of Rights, published on its 200th anniversary.

Domino, John C. Civil Rights and Liberties: Toward the 21st Century. Harper Collins, 1994.

Hall, Kermit L. (ed.). By and for the People. Harlan Davidson, 1991. Short, nontechnical essays, right by right, for high school and college teachers.

Monk, Linda R. The Bill of Rights: A User's Guide. Close Up Foundation, 1991. Lively book for high school students looks at the subject amendment by amendment.

Civil Rights

Altschiller, Donald (ed.). Affirmative Action. Wilson, 1991. Collection of essays on many aspects of the topic.

Nelson, William E. The Fourteenth Amendment. Harvard, 1988. Examines goals of those who wrote the amendment and Supreme Court interpretations.

O Reilly, Kenneth. Nixon s Piano: Presidents and Racial Politics from Washington to Clinton. Free Press, 1995. Race, law, and politics in recent American history.

Constitutional Era

Elkins, Stanley and McKitrick, Eric, The Age of Federalism: The Early American Republic, 1788- 1800. Oxford, 1993. Major scholarly look at intellectual currents of the era.

Hakim, Joy. From Colonies to Country. Oxford, 1993. Brief history of the constitutional era.

Due Process

Lewis, Anthony. Gideon s Trumpet. Random House, 1964. Highly readable account of the Supreme Court s 1962 Supreme Court decision Gideon v. Wainwright, guaranteeing legal representation to those who could not otherwise afford an attorney.

First Amendment--Free Speech/Free Press

Hentoff, Nat. Free Speech for Me--But Not for Thee. Harper Collins, 1992. Examines role of free speech and countervailing forces.

Powe, Lucas A. The Fourth Estate and the Constitution. California, 1991. Examines the current state of the right of a free press.

Smolla, Rodney A. Free Speech in an Open Society. Knopf, 1992. What limits should there be on free speech?

First Amendment--Religion

Carter, Stephen L. The Culture of Disbelief. Basic books, 1993. Yale law professor looks at the relationship of religion and law.

Levy, Leonard W. The Establishment Clause. Macmillan, 1986. Examines interpretations of the clause.


Alderman, Ellen and Kennedy, Caroline. The Right to Privacy. Knopf, 1995. Case histories and surveys of the law. Co-author is member of the Kennedy family, adding a personal perspective to the issue.

Tribe, Laurence. The Clash of Absolutes. Norton, 1995. Focuses on the right to abortion, which has been held to be protected by constitutional guarantees of privacy.

Supreme Court

Schwartz, Bernard. History of the Supreme Court. Oxford, 1993. Major recent history.

Hall, Kermit L. (ed.). The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. Oxford, 1992. Excellent resource on the Court covers cases, controversies, concepts, biographies of justices, and more.
[Excerpted from '96 material from the American Bar Assn.]

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