" From an award-winning legal scholar, a stirring argument about the central role of citizen activists in shaping our nation's constitutional law Who determines whether gay Americans can marry? Who says whether citizens can own guns? And who decides on the fate of prisoners taken in the War on Terror? Most Americans would answer: the Supreme Court. While the rest of us stand by waiting for their decisions, the nine justices decide the fate of our freedoms. Overturning this conventional wisdom, David Cole argues that citizen activists are the true drivers of constitutional change. He shows that time and time again, associations of ordinary Americans have persuaded a majority of the justices to adopt their point of view and transform constitutional law. Revealing the tactics successful causes adopt, Cole offers a guidebook for anyone seeking social change, as well as a deeper understanding of how our Constitution actually works. An unexpected account of the power of small groups of committed people, The Spirit of Liberty is essential reading for anyone who has lost faith in political activism in our era of gridlock. "-- Provided by publisher.