The Odd Clauses: All About the Constitution’s “Crazy Uncles”

LTB logo

Odd clauses

If you want to read an interesting and highly entertaining book about constitutional law, and who doesn't, you should immediately buy The Odd Clauses, the latest book by Boston University law professor Jay Wexler.

That name has been associated with legal humor for a while now, going back at least to the time The Green Bag published his analysis of Supreme Court transcripts, a task he carried out in order to determine who the funniest justice was. (Hint: it wasn't Thomas.) I mentioned and recommended his previous book, Holy Hullabaloos, a very funny and interesting piece of work on the legal battles over the relationship between church and state in America, and am glad to do the same now for The Odd Clauses.

I really enjoyed this book, except for the persistent angst I felt over the fact that he had beaten me to the concept. The U.S. Constitution may not be as popular as it used to be, but it does have some great stuff in it. But those who actually read it will occasionally come across something weird and/or puzzling, and that's the kind of stuff that this book is about. Unless you are a Third Amendment scholar or routinely draft letters of marque and reprisal for your clients, you will also learn a lot from this book, whether you planned to or not. Nor is it just of historical interest — Ron Paul has suggested issuing letters of marque allowing people to go after Somali pirates, and then there's the "natural-born citizen" clause, which according to some people is relevant right now.

Like Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice, who previously reviewed the book here, I'm a big fan and highly recommend it.