The Bill of Rights defines and defends the freedoms we enjoy as Americans from the right to bear arms to the right to a civil jury. Using the dramatic true stories of people whose lives have been deeply affected by such issues as the death penalty and the right to privacy, attorneys Ellen Alderman and Caroline Kennedy reveal how the majestic priciples of the Bill of Rights have taken shape in the lives of ordinary people, as well as the historic and legal significance of each amendment. In doing so, they shed brilliant new light on this visionary document, which remains as vital and as controversial today as it was when a great nation was newly born.
Does a citizenry's revulsion at hate-mongering outweigh the Ku Klux Klan's claimed right to broadcast racist messages? In what circumstances do national security considerations give government the wherewithal to clamp restrictions on a free press? If a mother suspected of child abuse refuses to tell authorities where the youngster is for fear that the state will take him from her, is she acting within the Fifth Amendment right protecting against self-incrimination? These cases and many other thorny issues addressed in this compelling casebook had legal outcomes that hinged on the courts' interpretation of the Bill of Rights. For each of the 10 amendments, one or more pertinent cases are presented in clear, impartial, jargon-free discussions encompassing the rights to privacy, gun control, FBI surveillance of political activists, minimum wage, flag burning and other issues. Columbia Law School graduates Alderman, a Manhattan attorney, and Kennedy (daughter of JFK) have produced a valuable primer for Supreme Court watchers. BOMC alternate. (Feb.)