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Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws that Affect Us Today

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A noted children's nonfiction author and one of the nation's foremost constitutional scholars team up to create an essential book on the United States Constitution for everyone grappling with today's most urgent political issues.

Many of the political issues we struggle with today have their roots in one place—the U.S. Constitution. Fault Lines in the Constitution takes readers back to the creation of this historic document and reveals how many of the problems that trouble us today—such as voting rights, the Electoral College, gerrymandering—were first introduced. Cynthia and Sanford Levinson explain the unexpected ramifications of decisions make in 1787 and explore possible solutions found in the constitutions of states and other countries.

Each chapter begins with a story―all but one of them true―that connects directly back to a section of the document that forms the basis of our society and government. Informative sidebars and graphics run throughout along with a timeline and bibliography.

ISBN-13: 9781682631065

Media Type: Paperback(Revised ed.)

Publisher: Holiday House

Publication Date: 08-06-2019

Pages: 272

Product Dimensions: 6.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

A former teacher and educational policy consultant and researcher, Cynthia Levinson is the author of numerous award-winning nonfiction books about social justice for young readers,. She holds degrees from Wellesley College and Harvard University and also attended the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She divides her time between Austin, Texas, and Boston, Massachusetts. Sanford Levinson is an American legal scholar and a professor at the University of Texas Law School. He holds degrees from Duke, Stanford, and Harvard universities and is the author of several books for adults on the Constitution. He also writes frequently for a variety of newspapers, magazines, and blogs. He divides his time between Austin, Texas, and Boston, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Introduction 6

Preamble 13

Part I How Bills Become (Or, More Likely, Don't Become) Law 22

Chapter 1 It Takes Two to Tango / Bicameralism 23

Chapter 2 Big States, Little Say / The Senate 33

Chapter 3 Delete! / Presidential Veto 46

Chapter 4 Majority Rules-Except When It Doesn't / Supermajority Rules 54

Part II Hello, Can You Hear Me? 63

Chapter 5 How to Cherry-pick Voters / Gerrymandering 64

Chapter 6 Taxation without Representation / The District of Columbia 80

Chapter 7 "I'll Just Do It Myself!" "Oh No You Won't" / Direct Democracy 88

Part III If America Threw a Party, Would You Be Let In? 92

Chapter 8 Who Can Vote? How Do You Know? / Voting Rights 93

Chapter 9 Who Gets to Represent You? / Restrictions on Running for Congress 104

Chapter 10 Who Gets a Shot at the Oval Office? / Restrictions on Running for President 112

Chapter 11 Time's Up! / Presidential Term Limits 118

Part IV "Hurrah! I'm 18. Finally I Can Vote for the President." "Not So Fast." 126

Chapter 12 The College with No Courses or Credits / The Electoral College 127

Part V Can the President Really Do That?! 144

Chapter 13 Pardon Me? / Presidential Pardons 145

Chapter 14 "You're Hired! (Maybe.) You're Fired!" / The Unitary Executive 154

Part VI Who's Running America? 163

Chapter 15 Knock Knock. Is Anybody There? / Continuity in Government 164

Chapter 16 Is There a Leader in the Room? / Presidential Succession 176

Chapter 17 The Duck's in Charge. January 20 / Inauguration Day 185

Part VII Emergency! Emergency! 191

Chapter 18 At War / Emergency Powers 192

Chapter 19 At War with Bugs / Habeas Corpus 202

Chapter 20 We Can Change It, Right? / Amending the Constitution 213

Part VIII Keeping Pace with the Times 224

Chapter 21 Grading the Constitution 225

Chapter 22 Now What? 234


Timeline of Events 241

Acknowledgments 245

Notes 246

Bibliography 257

Articles and Amendments 259

Index 260