Synopses & Reviews
A former U.S. senator joins a legal scholar to examine a hushed effort to radically change our Constitution, offering a warning and a way forward.
Over the last two decades, a fringe plan to call a convention under the Constitution's amendment mechanism — the nation's first ever — has inched through statehouses. Delegates, like those in Philadelphia two centuries ago, would exercise nearly unlimited authority to draft changes to our fundamental law, potentially altering anything from voting and free speech rights to regulatory and foreign policy powers. Such a watershed moment would present great danger, and for some, great power.
In this important book, Feingold and Prindiville distill extensive legal and historical research and examine the grave risks inherent in this effort. But they also consider the role of constitutional amendment in modern life. Though many focus solely on judicial and electoral avenues for change, such an approach is at odds with a cornerstone ideal of the Founding: that the People make constitutional law, directly. In an era defined by faction and rejection of long-held norms, The Constitution in Jeopardy examines the nature of constitutional change and asks urgent questions about what American democracy is, and should be.
“A well-crafted book about the history, relevance, challenges, and future of the Constitution’s amendment process. This book is for all citizens who want to better understand our Constitution and why it is the core and soul of our democracy.” Senator Chuck Hagel, former secretary of defense
“A comprehensive, clear, and compelling study of the Constitution’s creation and contemporary influences. Vast in scope yet precise in its analysis, this accessible yet meticulous treatise will engage legal and political experts while attracting and enlightening a wide spectrum of concerned citizens. A richly rewarding examination of why understanding the past is key to shaping the future.” Booklist (starred review)
“Only a small number of Americans know what an Article V constitutional convention is. That needs to change — and fast. Feingold and Prindiville expose the underbelly of a national movement to overhaul the United States Constitution and radically change the nature of our democracy. Secrecy is their best friend, so patriotic citizens who want our Republic to survive must read this book.” Larry Sabato, professor and director of the center for politics, University of Virginia
“A page-turning and eye-opening examination of the many forces working to alter the bedrock foundation of our nation: the Constitution itself.” Senator Cory Booker
About the Author
As a lawmaker, diplomat, attorney, and professor, Russ Feingold has devoted his career to protecting the Constitution's bedrock guarantees. Serving nearly two decades in the United States Senate, Feingold was the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act, citing civil liberty concerns, and cosponsored the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain-Feingold Act), the most important campaign finance reform in decades. He sat on the Senate Judiciary Committee and chaired its Sub-committee on the Constitution.
Feingold has also served as a U.S. special envoy and taught at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and Marquette Law Schools. He is now president of the American Constitution Society, the nation's leading progressive legal organization, and an affiliated scholar of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center. He is a recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. His previous book, While America Sleeps: a Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era, was a New York Times bestseller.
Peter Prindiville is a nonresident fellow at the Stanford Constitutional Law Center and an attorney based in Washington, D.C. He previously was a fellow on the Senate Judiciary Committee and a high school history and civics teacher. Prindiville earned a law degree from Stanford; master's degrees from Notre Dame and University College Cork, Ireland, where he was a Mitchell Scholar; and an undergraduate degree from Georgetown.