The civil liberties and constitutional rights possessed by our nation's citizens - not only in theory, but in the courtroom, where the state can be forced to honor those liberties - are a uniquely American invention.
And when we were taught history and learned about the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, we were always made aware of that uniqueness, of the extraordinary experiment that gave to every citizen of this new nation a gift possessed by no others.
Now you can learn exactly what that gift was - in a series of 36 lectures based on Supreme Court opinions from dozens of the Court's most important landmark decisions, presented by an award-winning teacher who is also an internationally recognized expert in constitutional law.
You'll learn just what liberties and rights the Founders wanted the new government to protect, as well as how we get from what Professor Finn calls the Constitution's wonderfully elastic and vague language to the finely tuned specifics of the Supreme Court's opinions about speech, abortion, and religion, and so much more. And you'll grasp the hard truth that no matter how unwavering the Constitution's language on any subject may appear, things are almost invariably more complicated than it would seem at first reading.
The result is a legacy of questions that multiplies with each passing decade, and explains why generations of jurists and legal scholars, not to mention legislators, presidents, and citizens, have argued so long and hard about the meaning of what often appears to be unambiguous phrasing.
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