List: Unconstitutional Conventions


Andrew P. Napolitano is senior judicial analyst at Fox News, where he flogs his unique brand of constitutionalism and frequently goes head to head with Bill O'Reilly. His new book, A Nation of Sheep (Nelson), asks "what has happened to the America that was once in love with freedom?"

Below, Napolitano lists some of the most egregious incursions against the Constitution in U.S. history. A self-described "pro-life libertarian," Napolitano was also tempted to include the PATRIOT Act, for undermining the Fourth Amendment, and Roe v. Wade, which "unleashed the slaughter of 40 million babies."

1. Slavery: "Unfortunately, slavery was institutionalized in the Constitution. As much as I love that document, preach its worth, and would shed my blood to defend it, slavery is the indelible stain not eradicated until the 13th Amendment."

2. Wartime Incarcerations: "In the Civil War about 3,000 people were incarcerated for speech. In World War I it was about 1,500 people for perceived anti-social behavior, which the government called 'anarchy.' In World War II, it was for ethnicity—Japanese Americans, Italian Americans, and German Americans."

3. The Alien and Sedition Acts: "The very same generation that liberated us from a tyrannical king, in part because he punished speech that he hated and feared, made it a crime to criticize members of the government. It's beyond me that the Federalists, as pro–big government as they were, stooped so low."