Books provide insights into our Constitution

To the editor:

I would like to recommend two books to readers of The Herald Viewpoint page. The first one has relevance in the current “scandal” in which Republican lawmakers lust to find that the Obama White House forced the former Bush-appointed IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman to look the other way when tea party groups were scrutinized by the IRS on claims of tax-exempt status, and that the acting commissioner at the time when these activities were uncovered — a Reagan-era appointee — conspired with Obama to hide these activities from Congress. Pundits defending the honor of these applicants for tax-exempt status state that many are merely “teaching the Constitution.”

A few local contributors to Viewpoint have demonstrated to us over the past years that their grasp of the U.S. Constitution is wide and strong. But is it more than a millimeter deep? If you believe that a constitutional scholar who has taught at six law schools deserves a chance to answer this question, then Garret Epps wrote a book for you. It is called “Wrong and Dangerous.” What sources of instruction are behind the current surge in citizen “experts” on the Constitution? Endless repetition creates belief, but does it also create truth?

Do Supreme Court justices always have historically accurate and well-reasoned views of the Constitution? Mr. Epps has written a short, entertaining search for the elusive factual basis of the popular Founding Fathers worship. I highly recommend this to anyone who agrees that we should try to find ways to apply in our world the actual words that were written in the world of more than 200 years ago.  

The second book is “Who Stole the American Dream?” by Hedrick Smith. He gives names and provides more than 400 footnotes, enough to keep honest skeptics busy for weeks. All of your favorite villains are here, from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama. Plus many important ones that you haven’t heard of. One thing I am sure of is that this book by Mr. Smith contains more information that has a direct bearing on the lives of you and your children than the Federalist Papers do.

—David Dudine

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