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The Original Meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment: Its Letter and Spirit Hardcover – 2 November 2021

4.7 out of 5 stars 77 ratings

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By any standard an important contribution to the ongoing discussion of the subject...[A] must-read.--Earl M. Maltz "National Review" (2/21/2022 12:00:00 AM)

The most detailed legal history to date of the constitutional amendment that changed American law more than any before or since...The corpus of legal scholarship is richer for it.-- "Washington Examiner" (12/30/2021 12:00:00 AM)

The book's impressive array of historical materials makes an important contribution to our understanding of the 14th Amendment.--Raymond Kethledge "Wall Street Journal" (11/30/2021 12:00:00 AM)

A major contribution to our understanding of what many consider the single most important amendment to the Constitution. It may well reshape our understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment.--Ilya Somin "Volokh Conspiracy" (11/26/2021 12:00:00 AM)

An outstanding account of the original public meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment's most important provisions. Comprehensive and clear, methodical and elegantly written, this work shines new light on the meaning and spirit of the Reconstruction Framers' work. Anyone who wants to understand the Fourteenth Amendment--one of the great achievements of American constitutionalism--should consult this book.--Jack M. Balkin, Yale Law School

Antislavery constitutionalism meets modern originalism in this sweeping reading of the original public meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. Engaging for critics and adherents of originalism alike, this inventive fusion of history and constitutional theory catapults Republican antislavery to the forefront of today's rights disputes.--Pamela Brandwein, author of
Rethinking the Judicial Settlement of Reconstruction

As complete an account of the intellectual and political origins of the Fourteenth Amendment as one could hope for. As a work of history, it bristles with surprises. As a contribution to constitutional theory, it poses challenging new questions for both originalists and nonoriginalists.--Richard H. Fallon Jr., author of
Law and Legitimacy in the Supreme Court

Provides fresh and interesting--and sometimes surprising--arguments about how best to interpret the Fourteenth Amendment. A major theme of the book is that both liberal and conservative judges have been significantly mistaken in their interpretations of the amendment. This book is designed to set them straight and to provide guidance for new and better interpretations. A truly excellent and challenging analysis of the historical record.--Sanford V. Levinson, author of
Framed: America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance

The Fourteenth Amendment, by far the longest of the momentous Reconstruction Amendments, is a landmark in the continuing struggle for racial equality in America, but its importance hardly ends there. Its political as well as legal origins, meanwhile, carry profound significance for the history of race, citizenship, the US Constitution, and much more. In this breakthrough book, Barnett and Bernick brilliantly explore the amendment's origins while grappling with its original meaning, in ways that will command attention from historians as well as legal scholars and constitutional lawyers.--Sean Wilentz, author of
No Property in Man

Evincing the highest academic values of openness, integrity, and truth-seeking, this book reflects a systematic and even-handed consideration of the origins and original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, one of the most vital subjects in constitutional law. The definitive treatment of the subject for years and decades to come.--Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash, author of
The Living Presidency

About the Author

Randy E. Barnett is the Patrick Hotung Professor of Constitutional Law at the Georgetown University Law Center. A Guggenheim Fellow and Supreme Court advocate, he is the author of The Structure of Liberty, Restoring the Lost Constitution, and Our Republican Constitution.

Evan D. Bernick is Assistant Professor of Law at Northern Illinois University College of Law. He was previously Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. His scholarship appears in the
Georgetown Law Journal, Notre Dame Law Review, and William & Mary Law Review.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ *Harvard University Press; 1st edition (2 November 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 488 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0674257766
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0674257764
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 15.88 x 4.45 x 23.5 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 77 ratings

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Allan Marinelli
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for those that want to be enlightened
Reviewed in Canada on 6 November 2021
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Peter C
5.0 out of 5 stars A very timely book
Reviewed in the United States on 27 November 2021
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Scott Shine
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging but important for every US citizen to read.
Reviewed in the United States on 1 August 2022
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5.0 out of 5 stars Learn history and about 14th ammendment
Reviewed in the United States on 28 January 2022
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One person found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another stellar contribution by Barnett
Reviewed in the United States on 4 November 2021
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2 people found this helpful
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