By Garrett Epps

In 1987, E.L. Doctorow celebrated the Constitution's bicentennial by means of interpreting it. "It is 5 thousand phrases lengthy yet reads like fifty thousand," he acknowledged. individual criminal pupil Garrett Epps--himself an award-winning novelist--disagrees. it is approximately 7,500 phrases. And Doctorow "missed a great deal of excessive rhetoric, many literary tropes, or even a hint of, if now not wit, a minimum of irony," he writes. american citizens could venerate the structure, "but all too seldom is it read."

In American Epic, Epps takes us via an entire studying of the Constitution--even the "boring" parts--to in achieving an appreciation of its strength and a holistic realizing of what it says. during this publication he seeks to not supply a definitive interpretation, yet to hear the language and give some thought to its that means. He attracts on 4 modes of studying: scriptural, criminal, lyric, and epic. The Constitution's first 3 phrases, for instance, sound spiritual--but Epps unearths them to be extra aspirational than prayer-like. "Prayers are addressed to anyone . . . both a secular king or a divine lord, and nice care is taken to call the addressee. . . . This does the opposite. The speaker is 'the people,' the phrases addressed to the area at large." He turns the second one modification right into a poem to light up its ambiguity. He notices oddities and omissions. The structure lays out ideas for presidential appointment of officials, for instance, yet no longer elimination. may still the Senate approve every one firing? Can it withdraw its "advice and consent" and strength a resignation? And he demanding situations himself, as noticeable in his dazzling dialogue of the security of Marriage Act (DOMA) in gentle of Article four, which orders states to offer "full religion and credits" to the acts of alternative states.

Wry, unique, and fantastic, American Epic is a scholarly and literary journey de force.

Show description

Read or Download American Epic: Reading the U.S. Constitution PDF

Similar Constitutional Law books

Unequal: How America's Courts Undermine Discrimination Law (Law and Current Events Masters)

It truly is no mystery that because the Eighties, American staff have misplaced strength vis-à-vis employers. in addition to the well-chronicled steep decline in deepest zone unionization, American staff alleging employment discrimination have fared more and more poorly within the courts. in recent times, judges have disregarded rankings of circumstances during which employees awarded proof that supervisors talked about them utilizing racial or gender slurs.

The Constitution and the Pride of Reason

Trying to discover Plato's imaginative and prescient of a republic ruled by means of "reason," American constitutionalists, in accordance with Steven D. Smith's daring new serious learn, have as an alternative reenacted the Tower of Babel fantasy, generating a constitutional discourse marked by way of rampant confusion, difficult sophistry, and thinly veiled authoritarian bullying.

The Law Market

This day, a California resident can include her delivery company in Delaware, sign up her ships in Panama, rent her staff from Hong Kong, position her profits in an asset-protection belief shaped within the Cayman Islands, and input right into a same-sex marriage in Massachusetts or Canada--all the whereas having fun with the California sunshine and very likely keeping off many points of the state's legislation.

After Public Law (Oxford Constitutional Theory)

Public legislation has been conceived in lots of alternative ways, occasionally overlapping, usually conflicting. although in recent times a typical subject operating during the discussions of public legislation is one in all loss. What functionality and destiny can public legislation have during this speedily reworking panorama, the place globalized states and supranational associations have ever-increasing significance?

Extra resources for American Epic: Reading the U.S. Constitution

Show sample text content

Rated 4.36 of 5 – based on 7 votes