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On the much-ignored Ninth Amendment (“The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”), Mr. Barnett takes Judge Robert Bork, retired distinguished fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, to task.

During his unsuccessful Senate confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court slot, Judge Bork famously likened such unspecified, open-ended rights to “an ink blot,” adding he didn’t “think the Court can make up whatever rights might be under the ink blot.” Mr. Barnett concedes the Bork opinion is within the mainstream of legal, if fatally conceited, thought.

Mr. Barnett still rebuts Judge Bork, noting that the Ninth Amendment, the creation of constitutional architect James Madison, is a way to preclude specific guaranteed rights — such as freedom of speech, press and assembly — from being the only rights for Americans. Unenumerated rights — e.g., the right to marry or not to marry — are simply not to be denied nor disparaged.

Still, if “as is,” the Constitution stands. Reform is possible. For example, the 18th(Prohibition) Amendment of 1919 fell into flagrant public disregard and overt gangsterism. It was mercifully repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933.

Or, as Randy Barnett concludes his book: “So long as the courts profess fealty to the written Constitution under glass in Washington, the opportunity still exists to adopt a Presumption of Liberty and restore the lost Constitution.”

William H. Peterson is an adjunct scholar at the Heritage Foundation and a contributing editor to the FoundationforEconomic Education’s “The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty.”