Men in Black by Mark R. Levin

General Description (from
Conservative talk radio host, lawyer, and frequent National Review contributor Mark R. Levin comes out firing against the United States Supreme Court in Men in Black, accusing the institution of corrupting the ideals of America’s founding fathers. The court, in Levin’s estimation, pursues an ideology-based activist agenda that oversteps its authority within the government. Levin examines several decisions in the court’s history to illustrate his point, beginning with the landmark Marbury v. Madison case, wherein the court granted itself the power to declare acts of the other branches of government unconstitutional. He devotes later chapters to other key cases culminating in modern issues such as same-sex marriage and the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill. Like effective attorneys do, Levin packs in copious research material and delivers his points with tremendous vigor, excoriating the justices for instances where he feels strict constitutional constructivism gave way to biased interpretation. But Levin’s definition of “activism” seems inconsistent. In the case of McCain-Feingold, the court declined to rule on a bill already passed by congress and signed by the president, but Levin, who thinks the bill violates the First Amendment, still accuses them of activism even when they were actually passive. To his talk-radio listeners, Levin’s hard-charging style and dire warnings of the court’s direction will strike a resonant tone of alarm, though the hyperbole may be a bit off-putting to the uninitiated. As an attack on the vagaries of decisions rendered by the Supreme Court and on some current justices, Men in Black scores points and will likely lead sympathetic juries to conviction.

Why the President Should Read This Book
Understanding and appreciating the Supreme Court is as important for the President as it is for spouses to understand and appreciate one another. Levin’s book is a good introduction to the Supreme Court in terms of the role envisioned for it by the Founders, it’s history (sometimes bizarre), and the risks to the country if a majority of the Justices in it adhere to the concept of a flexible and evolutionary interpretation of the Constitution, which essentially opens the door for the Constitution to mean whatever those in power want it to mean.

Personal Notes
This is the first book I’ve ever read regarding the Supreme Court. My opinion therefore exists in a vacuum, and is perhaps not as reliable as it might be had I read 10 other books on the topic. But you’ve got to start somewhere, and my inclination is to see this book as a good introductory read, if not definitive.