The Bill of Rights: A User’s Guide
Foreword by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg
(5th edition, 2018)
In this newly revised edition of The Bill of Rights: A User’s Guide, award-winning author and constitutional scholar Linda R. Monk explores the remarkable history of the first ten amendments to the Constitution. With a foreword by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the book analyzes each amendment, the Supreme Court’s interpretation of every right, and the power of citizens to enforce those rights. The book also examines the Fourteenth Amendment, which nationalized the Bill of Rights and extended new rights of equality to all. The Bill of Rights: A User’s Guide won the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, its highest honor for public education about the law.
Stories of the ordinary people who made the Bill of Rights come alive are featured throughout. These include Fannie Lou Hamer, a Mississippi sharecropper who became a national civil rights leader; Clarence Earl Gideon, a prisoner whose handwritten petition to the Supreme Court expanded the right to counsel; Mary Beth Tinker, a 13-year-old whose protest of the Vietnam War established free speech rights for students; Michael Hardwick, a bartender who fought for privacy after police entered his bedroom unlawfully; Suzette Kelo, a nurse who opposed the city’s takeover of her working-class neighborhood; and Simon Tam, a millennial whose 10-year trademark battle for his band “The Slants” ended in a unanimous Supreme Court victory. Such people prove that, in the words of Judge Learned Hand, “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court, can save it.”
Exploring the history, scope, and meaning of the first ten amendments—as well as the Fourteenth Amendment—The Bill of Rights: A User’s Guide is a powerful examination of the values that define American life and the tools that every citizen needs.