Happy Constitution Day, 2021!

In honor of Constitution Day, we would like to highlight some of the Con Law related books that we have in our collection, for your enjoyment.

Both published in 2019, we have added How to Read the Constitution and Why, by Kim Wehle, and What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck.

Reading How to Read the Constitution and Why made me feel smarter.  It is geared to the general public, but, for any Con Law junkie, or anyone who loves the phrases prior restraint, rational basis, intermediate scrutiny, strict scrutiny, vagueness, overbreadth, content-based prohibitions, due process, equal protection,  this is definitely the book for you.

Professor Wehle’s discussion of the 3 branches of government took me back to Saturday morning cartoons to many a School House Rock episode. (“I’m just a bill…..” sorry, I was having a moment there.)

While not everyone will agree with Professor Wehle’s perspective on substantive issues, as opposed to procedural ones (see how I just did that—it’s a very Con law thing, too!), it is refreshing that the Constitution is highlighted in an accessible book geared toward explaining the Constitution and how it lays out our system of government to everyone.  In discussing the Constitutional right to counsel, she also points out that  “Lawyering is not easy.  Anyone who tells you the opposite is lying. It can’t be done well without a law degree.” How to Read, p. 177.

What the Constitution Means to Me is a pop culture phenomenon.  After out of town and off-Broadway runs, the play opened on Broadway on March 31, 2019, and is now making its way around the US on its National Tour.

(You can also watch the play on Amazon Prime, but, you did not hear that from me….)

If you don’t know the basic plot, teenage Heidi Schreck competes in debate competitions about the Constitution.  She takes the audience on her journey through a few of those debates, and shares her love of the Constitution, and especially the 9th Amendment, with her audience.

As the Legionnaire character in the play quotes for her as she is about to debate, “Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”

Regardless of where readers may fall on the side of the debates Ms. Schreck outlines, it is pretty cool that for a shining moment, there was a play on Broadway that played actual voice overs from the tapes of oral arguments for Griswold v. Connecticut and Castle Rock v. Gonzales. In what other play can you listen to Justices Scalia and Breyer debating the meaning of the word “shall” ?

In addition to these two titles, here at the Hamilton County Law Library, you can also find:

Corwin on the Constitution, ed. Richard Loss

The Constitution of the United States of America: a Contextual Analysis, by Mark Tushnet

A Lawyer Looks at the Constitution, by Rex E. Lee

Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World, by Linda Hirshman

The Supreme Court: How It Was, How It Is, by Justice William H. Renquist

Two Jewish Justices: Outcasts in the Promised Land, by Robert A. Burt


If you are a subscriber who would like to check out these, or some of our other Constitutional Law books, to meet your need for a little bit of the Constitution, please feel free to contact us at reference.cms.hamilton-co.org, or 513-946-5300.