Magazine article The New American

Judge Napolitano's Dred Scott's Revenge: Notable Conservative Judge Andrew Napolitano's New Book Covers the History of Racism in America, and the Effects of U.S. Law on the Same

Magazine article The New American

Judge Napolitano's Dred Scott's Revenge: Notable Conservative Judge Andrew Napolitano's New Book Covers the History of Racism in America, and the Effects of U.S. Law on the Same

Article excerpt

Dred Scott's Revenge: A Legal History of Race and Freedom in America, by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2009, 253 pages, $25.99.

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano is the host of the Fox News online show Freedom Watch (which might soon be televised) and also is a co-host of the Fox News Radio show Brian and the Judge. Napolitano has a diverse group of followers made up of traditional conservatives, libertarians, and constitutionalists. Even though Napolitano has been working as a legal analyst for Fox News since 1998, he hasn't been afraid to challenge the establishment status quo. He has articulately and passionately criticized practically all of the unconstitutional innovations of the "War on Terror," which have been embraced by the "conservative" mainstream media. His principled positions have drawn the ire of members of the establishment fight but earned him the admiration and respect of his faithful fans.

Napolitano is also a best-selling author of four books--Constitutional Chaos, Constitution in Exile, A Nation of Sheep, and Dred Scott's Revenge--that expose the unconstitutionality of our present government. The latter, the subject of this review, is subtitled "A Legal History of Race and Freedom in America." It not only continues his constitutional theme but also explores the very difficult issue of race-based discrimination and demonstrates once again that Napolitano is not afraid to challenge the establishment consensus by taking on a volatile subject.

Napolitano, a former Superior Court judge in New Jersey, proudly proclaims his personal devotion to the concept of natural law. "Natural law teaches that our rights come from our humanity. Since we are created by God in His image and likeness, and since He is perfectly free ... freedom is our birthright. Thus, the natural law informs that freedom comes from our humanity, not from any outside source, like, for example, the government." Napolitano distinguishes this from positive law that "teaches that the law is whatever the lawgiver says it is, providing it is written down."

It is Napolitano's strong adherence to his understanding of natural law that prompts him, in this book, to embrace judicial activism over judicial restraint in cases where the law in question conflicts with his personal belief: "Is it the role of the courts to sidestep the positive law of the land when natural law is violated? My own view, shared by some giants throughout history (and rejected by others) is an unequivocal: YES." Because of this stance, Napolitano openly praises federal actions that he acknowledges are unconstitutional by constitutionalist standards, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education.

Notwithstanding Natural Law

He begins the book by pointing out the abuses of natural law that are embedded in the Constitution and by exploring the conception of slavery in this nation, its growth, and all the surrounding political implications. Napolitano delves into what he characterizes as the Constitutional Convention's greatest failures: the Three-Fifths Compromise (Article I, Section 2, Clause 3, which controls the apportionment of representatives allowing for slaves to be counted as three-fifths a person, giving slave-holding states more political power), the Fugitive Slave Clause (Article IV, Section 2, Clause 3, which authorized the return of runaway slaves), and the Importation Clause (Article I, Section 9, Clause 1, which extended the importation of slaves into the United States until 1808). The aforementioned clauses, when taken together, "provided the federal justification necessary to perpetuate slavery and government-sponsored racism in its most extreme incarnation," he writes. Even with this though, Napolitano argues that the Founders didn't really have the option to take a strong stance against slavery because it would have made ratification impossible. …

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