This book explains the Constitution simply and thoroughly, including all the juicy controversy it evokes. Whether you’re a student, a lawyer, or just a concerned citizen, I hope you find it to be both a good read and a great resource.
You don’t have to read this book from cover to cover, and you don’t have to read the chapters in order. I’ve written each chapter so it can be understood on its own; if it refers to topics that aren’t covered in that chapter, I tell you where to find information about that topic elsewhere in the book. Using the Table of Contents or the Index, feel free to identify topics of the greatest interest to you, and dive in wherever you want. Even if you dive into the middle or end first, I promise I won’t let you get lost.
I cover the entire Constitution in this book, but I don’t give each article or amendment equal attention. That’s because some parts are more important, more difficult to understand, more controversial, or more relevant to modern society than others. If I believe a particular part of the Constitution requires or deserves more explanation than another, I give it lots of real estate in the pages that follow. Parts that are easier to understand or less important to your 21st-century life get less space in the book.
Throughout the book, I offer not just facts but also a variety of opinions about constitutional issues that have created debate for more than 200 years. In some cases, the opinions belong to Supreme Court justices, advocates for or against specific rights, or any number of other sources. In other cases, the opinions are my own — and I alert you to that fact. I may sometimes try to persuade you of the rightness or wrongness of a certain opinion, but you’re welcome to disagree — that’s the fun and the privilege of becoming a more informed citizen!