Justice Alito Reviews the Paulsens

by Matthew J. Franck

One of the new guys around here is Professor Michael Stokes Paulsen, but he is not new to making his mark on the scholarly understanding of the Constitution.  With his son Luke Paulsen, Mike has also recently published a book for general readers titled simply The Constitution: An Introduction.  A review of it by our own Ed Whelan should appear in NR very soon.  But meanwhile, in the Federalist Society’s journal Engage, Justice Samuel Alito has published a glowing brief review, which has been reprinted at the Powerline blog.  A sample:

Many Americans interested in understanding the Constitution naturally – and quite correctly – look first to the document itself, which is relatively brief and still quite readable. But where should interested citizens look if they want to know more? 

A new book by Michael Stokes Paulsen, a distinguished constitutional scholar, and his son, Luke, a recent college graduate, fits the bill. It provides a solid, intelligent, reliable, and interesting look at the origins of the Constitution, its basic structure, and its interpretation over the course of our country’s history. . . .

After analyzing the constitutional text, the Paulsens provide a lively tour through 200 plus years of constitutional controversy and litigation. Famous and less well-known cases are recounted in accessible terms. Understanding some of the most important cases in our country’s history, including Marbury v. Madison and the Dred Scott case, requires at least some comprehension of what most non-lawyers are likely to regard as arcane and boring procedural questions. But the Paulsens explain these preliminary matters without seeming to break a sweat. The Paulsens also enliven the story of our country’s constitutional experience by providing brief biographies of individuals who made that history.

This is quite an endorsement to get.  Congratulations to both Mike and Luke!