The “Men in Black” book is written for supporters of the Republican side of politics and for people who believe in upholding the United States Constitution in a court of law. This book is an easy read and very informative for anyone who is interested in the Supreme Court and how they make decisions. The book also shows how over the years the Supreme Court has become more liberal in the decisions that they have made and the author explains why this hurts our country.
The book is great in that it describes many difference Supreme Court cases and how the justices came to their conclusions and decisions. The main part of their job is to uphold the United States Constitution. One of the big emphases of the book, which is mentioned several times, is that the framers of the Constitution had reasons for their laws. The Supreme Court is supposed to know the meaning of the rules at the time of the writing of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and apply them to laws today. The rules the justices make become law of the land.
One of the chapters that I found most interesting was The Court Counts the Ballots. “Florida law provides that either candidate could request a manual recount…(if) an error in vote tabulation which could affect the outcome of the election” (Levin, 2005, p. 161). Al Gore decided he wanted the ballots to be recounted but the process went on for months. In a note written by L. Clayton Roberts, the Director of the Florida Division of Elections wrote to the county certification boards in the three counties that were recounting ballots the meaning of error in tabulation (DE 00-11) Roberts defined the error as only when a vote tabulation system has failed to properly count marked mark sense (made with a pen) or properly punched punch card ballots or an error in tabulation software. This type of error could result from incorrect election parameters. The canvassing board cannot recount the ballots unless it is for non-presidential vote counts as specified in 102.166(5)(a) and (b) Florida. The Florida Supreme Court nor the United States Supreme Court should not have been involved. The Constitution already set the rule for how a question of who is to become president if a problem arises with ballots. “Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 specifically empowers state legislatures to determine how electors are chosen. Each state shall appoint in the electoral matters” (Levin, 2005, p 166). This law was not applied to this recount and it could have saved many hours and dollars if it had been done the way the Constitution spelled it out. That is why the Constitution was written so we can make decisions with law that are already active.
I did find it interesting to learn there was a lengthy process that a terrorist has to go through before they are jailed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Before I read this book I thought all terrorists where imprisoned there. After September 11, 2001 President George W. Bush wanted to help further secure the United States at home and abroad. He came up with the designation of enemy combatants. I learned that there is a vetting process after a potential terrorist is imprisoned. After capture the commander in the field uses all information that is provided to determine if the individual is an enemy combatant. (Levin, 2008, p. 115, 117, 118). If the person is part of or in a supporting force that is hostile against the United States or our Coalition partners or is already in armed conflict against the United States they are classed as an enemy combatant. The enemy combatant is the sent to a centralized holding in an area of operations where they are seen by the military screening team and other United States government officials and the circumstance of the capture and their potential threat is evaluated. If the official think that further detention is warranted the enemy combatant can be recommended to imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay.
This book did change my way of understanding how the Supreme Court actually worked. That is part of the reason I wanted to read this book to get a better understanding of what the Supreme Court’s responsibilities are to the great nation. I also learned that the justices are chosen by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate.
I found it interesting that in Roe v. Wade and gay marriages were judged on as freedom. Although my belief in the Bible says that gay marriage and killing are against God’s laws I can see why the Supreme Court ruled this way. As Americans we are granted freedom in the Bill of Rights as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These two subjects do not make me happy but I cannot really stand in the way if someone chooses to live their life this way.
I enjoyed reading this book and I came away with a better understanding of the Supreme Court is supposed to rule on court cases. It is important to understand the United States Constitution for how can anyone enforce the law of the land if they do not know the rules? I believe that Mark Levin did an excellent job in writing this book. He wrote it from the standpoint that he wanted people to know what really went on behind the closed doors of the United States Supreme Court. I do think that he did try to blame most of the problems on Democrats, which is partly true but the Republicans did their part as well. He did try to convey to his reads that all the justices are still human beings and will not always make the best choice no matter what party affiliation they are a part of. I did find the memorandum in the appendix an interesting addition to the book. The notes are proof that the Left (Democrats) have tried their best to subvert the judicial nomination process. I did not completely understand that part mentioned in the chapter about liberals stacking the bench. The appendix helped shed a little more light on what the author was trying to get across to his reader.
DE 00-11 Definitions of Errors in Tabulation
Nov. 13, 2000
Letter by Roberts, L. Clayton, Director of Florida Division of Elections
To County Certification Board p. 1, 2.
Retrieved from: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/docs/florida2000/111500HarrisAppendix8.pdf
Retrieved Feb 18, 2012
Levin, Mark R. (2005), Men in Black
Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing Inc.
p. 115, 117, 118, 161, 166