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How our changing view of the Bill of Rights has threatened our democracy

K. Sabeel Rahman
Washington Post

Every week, Americans are confronted with a growing sense of political and economic crisis, from the inequalities of the new economy to renewed debates about racial and gender discrimination to fresh stresses on our political institutions. During periods of crisis, the Constitution can provide a backstop, spelling out foundational rules and rights that offer a bulwark against the vicissitudes of politics. But the meaning of the Constitution can change precisely during these moments of pressure and flux. In his timely new book, "The Heart of the Constitution," Gerard N. Magliocca highlights how a key component of our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, has been a central touchstone for Americans throughout history, especially when faced with existential challenges to the legitimacy of American government.

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