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The Invisible Constitution

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  80 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
As everyone knows, the United States Constitution is a tangible, visible document. Many see it in fact as a sacred text, holding no meaning other than that which is clearly visible on the page. Yet as renowned legal scholar Laurence Tribe shows, what is not written in the Constitution plays a key role in its interpretation. Indeed some of the most contentious Constitutiona ...more
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published September 17th 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2008)
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Jan 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
If you have ever been mildly annoyed to infuriated when confronted by Right wing talking points asserting that the Constitution is being dismantled by "liberal activist" justices, this book is for you.

Professor Tribe does an excellent job of explaining, in a logical and rational fashion, that the social liberties that we take for granted today - racial and gender equality under the law, reproductive rights (both contraceptives and abortion), and privacy rights, are all firmly grounded in the *st
Aug 25, 2010 added it
Thankfully, Tribe is an unapologetic liberal; that is refreshing and important to understand when reviewing his work contained in "The Invisible Constitution." That said, while Tribe frequently points out both the constitutional hypocrisies on the right and the left, his thesis is riddled with hypocrisy. Nonetheless, the book, and more importantly, his thesis, is tolerable to the point that he makes a salient point, one that, if Scalia was honest with himself, could not dispute. Tribe's salient ...more
Vincent Li
Feb 16, 2016 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand I rather like it, on the other I have to admit that it's so exploratory that it hardly counts as a book. I enjoyed the book and admired it's long discussion on limiting the scope of its argument.

The book is essentially an argument against pure textualism. It argues that there are things in the constitution that are not in the text, and cannot be logically in the text. It's different from an unwritten constitution argument that seeks to legitimi
Jan 31, 2009 rated it did not like it
Tribe's writing style is nothing short of atrocious. He has an especially bad habit of being cavalier with the use of abstractions. I suppose this is what happens when you spend your entire life teaching constitutional law at HLS, no offense to the professors at HLS. This isn't to say that Tribe doesn't make some good points. But whether it is worth the time to separate the wheat from the chaff? That's another matter entirely.
Bryan Woerner
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
I don't know if I really learned anything except I confirmed that you can't be a strict constructionalist because a lot of what they say is "in" the Constitution really isn't. It's only through interpretation of what's written and not written can one affectively apply Constitutional principles.
Dec 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
A great book for anyone who wants to learn about the intricacies of the U.S. Constitution.
Apr 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Crista Colvin
Oct 13, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Constitutional Law Professors
Though Constitutional Law is my practice and passion, I could not finish this book. It either lacked substance or went over my head.
Nov 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Laurence Tribe is the mind of a generation.
Nov 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
A bit dense at times, but worth a read.
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