Book Review: We the People

Reviewed by Dawson Moss

Erwin Chemerinsky, a renowned legal scholar of UC Berkeley School of Law, discusses the past, present, and future of the Supreme Court and their interpretation of the Constitution. While shining light to the flaws that plague our judicial system, Chemerinsky gives his own solution to combat these problems. One such problem focused on is that conservative justices are using the Constitution to advance their own agendas.

Chemerinsky opens with discussing the most recent judicial appoints to the Supreme Court of the United States of America (SCOTUS).  All of them were appointed by Trump, which suggests that they will most definitely be conservative justices in their interpretation of the Constitution. This means that when interpreting the Constitution for cases, they will adhere to what it says and not be considerate of the changes society has made since the ratification of the Constitution. Chemerinsky explains the problems that could result. Through examples in history and Supreme Court cases, he cites why this way of thinking about the Constitution is hurtful to society. He then offers a solution; allow the Preamble of the Constitution to hold weight in constitutional issues. He explores the various statements in the Preamble and how they can give people and the government more rights. One such example is using the promise of “Establishing Justice” to further improve justice for those convicted or charged with crimes.

We the People is informative to the problems and the solutions presented. It shines light on the flaws of our judicial system in the United States. While I do believe Chemerinsky tries to take an unbiased position, it is important to understand his opinion is biased, and that does affect his analysis of the problem. His vast knowledge of judicial history helps to give his ideas some context. I recommend this to anyone with a basic knowledge of the American judicial system and who wishes to experience an analysis of it and its current state. I strongly enjoyed this book. It was more than just informative, for Chemerinsky’s construction of presenting a problem then a solution allowed me to think about the problem as I read. I was left with not just thinking of his solution but what other possibilities are out there.

Dawson Moss

Dawson Moss was a sophomore in the Gifted program at Hahnville High School. He enjoys cooking and baking. He also plays soccer for his school.

Editor’s note: Book reviews are published throughout the summer and fall in agreement with Hahnville High School gifted English teacher Deborah Unger in conjunction with the Brown Foundation Service Learning Program and Unger’s “Adolescents Advocate Literacy” Brown Service Learning Grant.


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