A prominent lawyer and legal scholar describes her vision of an evolving Constitution, examining current legal issues that range from health care to gun control.
Pamela S. Karlan is a unique figure in American law. A professor at Stanford Law School and former counsel for the NAACP, she has argued seven cases at the Supreme Court and worked on dozens more as a clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun. In her first book written for a general audience, she examines what happens in American courtrooms—especially the Supreme Court—and what it means for our everyday lives and to our national commitments to democracy, justice, and fairness.
Through an exploration of current hot-button legal issues—from voting rights to the death penalty, health care, same-sex marriage, invasive high-tech searches, and gun control—Karlan makes a sophisticated and resonant case for her vision of the Constitution. At the heart of that vision is the conviction that the Constitution is an evolving document that enables government to solve novel problems and expand the sphere of human freedom. As skeptics charge congressional overreach on such issues as the Affordable Care Act and even voting rights, Karlan pushes back. On individual rights in particular, she believes the Constitution allows Congress to enforce the substance of its amendments. And she calls out the Roberts Court for its disdain for the other branches of government and for its alignment with a conservative agenda.