In this book, one of our country's most distinguished scholar-judges shares with us his vision of the law. For the past two thousand years, the philosophy of law has been dominated by two rival doctrines. One contends that law is more than politics and yields, in the hands of skillful judges, correct answers to even the most difficult legal questions; the other contends that law is politics through and through and that judges wield essentially arbitrary powers. Rejecting these doctrines as too metaphysical in the first instance and too nihilistic in the second, Richard Posner argues for a pragmatic jurisprudence, one that eschews formalism in favor of the factual and the empirical. Laws, he argues, are not abstract, sacred entities, but socially determined goads for shaping behavior to conform with society's values.
Examining how judges go about making difficult decisions, Posner argues that they cannot rely on either logic or science, but must fall back on a grab bag of informal methods of reasoning that owe less than one might think to legal training and experience. Indeed, he reminds us, the greatest figures in American law have transcended the traditional conceptions of the lawyer's craft. Robert Jackson did not attend law school and Benjamin Cardozo left before getting a degree. Holmes was neither the most successful of lawyers nor the most lawyerly of judges. Citing these examples, Posner makes a plea for a law that frees itself from excessive insularity and takes all knowledge, practical and theoretical, as grist for its mill.
The pragmatism that Posner espouses implies looking at problems concretely, experimentally, without illusions, with an emphasis on keeping diverse paths of inquiry open, and, above all, with the insistence that social thought and action be evaluated as instruments to desired human goals rather than as ends in themselves. In making his arguments, he discusses notable figures in jurisprudence from Antigone to Ronald Dworkin as well as recent movements ranging from law and economics to civic republicanism, and feminism to libertarianism. All are subjected to Posner's stringent analysis in a fresh and candid examination of some of the deepest problems presented by the enterprise of law.
The First Amendment puts it this way: Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. Yet, in 1960, a city official in Montgomery, Alabama, sued The New York Times for libel--and was awarded $500,000 by a local jury--because the paper had published an ad critical of Montgomery's brutal response to civil rights protests. The centuries of legal precedent behind the Sullivan case and the U.S. Supreme Court's historic reversal of the original verdict are expertly chronicled in this gripping and wonderfully readable book by the Pulitzer Prize Pulitzer Prize-winning legal journalist Anthony Lewis. It is our best account yet of a case that redefined what newspapers--and ordinary citizens--can print or say.
Vengeance and bitter violence have had their turns -- without redemptive results. How should we as a society respond to wrongdoing? When a crime occurs or an injustice is done, what needs to happen? What does justice require?Howard Zehr, known worldwide for his pioneering work in transforming our understandings of justice, here proposes workable Principles and Practices for making restorative justice both possible and useful. First he explores how restorative justice is different from criminal justice. Then, before letting those appealing observations drift out of reach, into theoretical space, Zehr presents Restorative Justice Practices. Zehr undertakes a massive and complex subject and puts it in graspable form, without reducing or trivializing it. This is a handbook, a vehicle for moving our society toward healing and wholeness. This is a sourcebook, a starting point for handling brokenness with hard work and hope. This resource is also suitable for academic classes and workshops, for conferences and trainings. By the author of Changing Lenses; Transcending: Reflections of Crime Victims; and Doing Life: Reflections of Men and Women Serving Life Sentences.
The first biography of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, the best known figure in the history of American law. His book The Common Law is still in print after 100 years, and is considered to be one of the great works of American legal history.
This one-of-a-kind user's guide to successful lobbying for defense appropriation draws on Matthew R. Kambrod's forty-plus years of experience both in the Pentagon as a military officer and on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist. The book presents step-by-step instructions for the lobbyist along with detailed information that only someone with the author's background could provide. He understands how the system works and shows how, when lobbying is conducted within the boundaries of propriety, the process can efficiently benefit lawmakers and defense officials as well as industry. A former Deputy for Aviation to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development, and Acquisition and a current lobbyist for the defense industry, Colonel Kambrod leads the reader through the annual lobbying process, explaining how the armed services establish their requirements for defense programs and how the annual budget is formulated. He also addresses the all-important distinction between "funded" and "unfunded" requirements; defines the roles played by the military, industry, and Congress; and lists the steps to be taken to develop arguments in the pursuit of congressional funding. Topics of general interest, such as campaign contributions, abuse of power, and possible lobbying reforms, are included along with a practical list of lessons learned and an appendix filled with samples of useful documents. In demystifying the process of lobbying for defense dollars, the author provides an essential tool for everyone interested in the subject both lobbyists and all those who must interact with them.
"Magisterial . . . in Williams' richly detailed portrait, Marshall emerges as a born rebel."--Jack E. White, Time
Thurgood Marshall was the twentieth century's great architect of American race relations. His victory in the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the landmark Supreme Court case outlawing school segregation in the United States, would have made him a historic figure even if he had never been appointed as the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court. He had a fierce will to change America, which led to clashes with Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X, and Robert F. Kennedy. Most surprising was Marshall's secret and controversial relationship with the FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover. Based on eight years of research and interviews with over 150 sources, Thurgood Marshall is the sweeping and inspirational story of an enduring figure in American life who rose from the descendants of slaves to become an American hero.
A tiny, ebullient Jew who started as America's leading liberal and ended as its most famous judicial conservative. A Klansman who became an absolutist advocate of free speech and civil rights. A backcountry lawyer who started off trying cases about cows and went on to conduct the most important international trial ever. A self-invented, tall-tale Westerner who narrowly missed the presidency but expanded individual freedom beyond what anyone before had dreamed.
Four more different men could hardly be imagined. Yet they had certain things in common. Each was a self-made man who came from humble beginnings on the edge of poverty. Each had driving ambition and a will to succeed. Each was, in his own way, a genius.
They began as close allies and friends of FDR, but the quest to shape a new Constitution led them to competition and sometimes outright warfare. SCORPIONS tells the story of these four great justices: their relationship with Roosevelt, with each other, and with the turbulent world of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. It also serves as a history of the modern Constitution itself.
From the author of the national bestseller Dead Man Walking comes a brave and fiercely argued new book that tests the moral edge of the debate on capital punishment: What if we're executing innocent men? Two cases in point are Dobie Gillis Williams, an indigent black man with an IQ of 65, and Joseph Roger O'Dell. Both were convicted of murder on flimsy evidence (O'Dell's principal accuser was a jailhouse informant who later recanted his testimony). Both were executed in spite of numerous appeals. Sister Helen Prejean watched both of them die.As she recounts these men's cases and takes us through their terrible last moments, Prejean brilliantly dismantles the legal and religious arguments that have been used to justify the death penalty. Riveting, moving, and ultimately damning, The Death of Innocents is a book we dare not ignore.
In the waning days of his presidency, in January 1801, John Adams made some historic appointments to preserve his Federalist legacy. Foremost among them, he named his secretary of state, John Marshall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court-neither of them anticipating that Marshall would soon need to decide the most crucial case in Supreme Court history-Marbury vs. Madison. The Activist is the story of that case and its impact on American history. It revolved around a suit brought by Federalist William Marbury and 3 others that unwittingly set off a Constitutional debate that has reverberated for more than two centuries, for the case introduced a principle ("judicial review") at the heart of our democracy: does the Supreme Court have the right to interpret the Constitution and the law. Acclaimed narrative historian Larry Goldstone makes this early American legal drama come alive for readers today as a seminal moment in our history, chronicling, as it does, the formation and foundation of the Supreme Court. But it has ever since given cover to justices, like Antonin Scalia today, who assert the Court's power over the meaning of the Constitution.That Marshall's opinion was also the very height of the judicial activism that Scalia, John Roberts, and their fellow conservatives deplore promises to be one of American history's great ironies.The debate began in 1801, and continues to this day-and in Lawrence Goldstone's hands, it has never been more interesting or relevant for general readers.
How did America become a nation that tortured prisoners, spied on its citizens, and gave its president unchecked powers in matters of defense? Has justice been the greatest casualty of the war on terror?After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration swiftly began to rethink its approach to national security. In a series of memos and policy decisions, many top secret and only made public much later, the administration s lawyers dismissed the Geneva conventions as quaint, justified the torture of suspected terrorists, argued that the president in his capacity as commander in chief was bound by no laws in defending the nation at home and abroad, and approved a domestic surveillance program that flagrantly violated US law.In Justice at War, David Cole takes a critical look at the men who made the decisions that shaped America s war on terror. After September 11, Attorney General John Ashcroft aggressively expanded federal law enforcement powers. John Yoo, who served in the Justice Department s Office of Legal Counsel, drafted some of the most controversial memos justifying torture. David Addington, Dick Cheney s counsel, argued for virtually unlimited presidential power. Alberto Gonzales, Bush s counsel, seemed willing to defend the president s view on any issue.
Yet Cole believes that America can prevail against the threat of terror, not by dismantling the checks and balances that guarantee the fairness of our justice system but by restoring them. He discusses how Michael Mukasey, the new attorney general, may try to improve the Justice Department s tattered reputation. He explains why the Supreme Court rejected the president s claim of authority to try enemy combatants in military tribunals under rules that violated the Geneva conventions. And he considers arguments by legal scholars about the limits of constitutional protections when the nation is under the threat of terrorism.Yet above all we must remember that the Constitution embodies principles that we should not give up in times of fear, Cole argues: Both the strength and security of the nation in the struggle with terrorists rest on adherence to the rule of law, including international law, because only such adherence provides the legitimacy we need if we are to win back the world s respect. "