admissions

Featured Acquisitions - December 2011

 

Book JacketPhoto

A Common Justice: The Legal Allegiances of Christians and Jews under Early Islam by Uriel I. Simonsohn
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011
K236 .S56 2011 Balcony

In A Common Justice Uriel I. Simonsohn examines the legislative response of Christian and Jewish religious elites to the problem posed by the appeal of their coreligionists to judicial authorities outside their communities. Focusing on the late seventh to early eleventh centuries in the region between Iraq in the east and present-day Tunisia in the west, Simonsohn explores the multiplicity of judicial systems that coexisted under early Islam to reveal a complex array of social obligations that connected individuals across confessional boundaries. By examining the incentives for appeal to external judicial institutions on the one hand and the response of minority confessional elites on the other, the study fundamentally alters our conception of the social history of the Near East in the early Islamic period. Contrary to the prevalent scholarly notion of a rigid social setting strictly demarcated along confessional lines, Simonsohn's comparative study of Christian and Jewish legal behavior under early Muslim rule exposes a considerable degree of fluidity across communal boundaries. This seeming disregard for religious affiliations threatened to undermine the position of traditional religious elites; in response, they acted vigorously to reinforce communal boundaries, censuring recourse to external judicial institutions and even threatening transgressors with excommunication.


Book JacketPhoto

Lincoln's Forgotten Ally: Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt of Kentucky by Elizabeth Leonard
Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011
KF368.H586 L46 2011 Balcony

Joseph Holt, the stern, brilliant, and deeply committed Unionist from Kentucky, spent the first several months of the American Civil War successfully laboring to maintain Kentucky's loyalty to the Union, then went on to serve as President Lincoln's judge advocate general. In Lincoln's Forgotten Ally , Elizabeth Leonard offers the first full-scale biography of Holt, who has long been overlooked and misunderstood by historians and students of the war. In his capacity as the administration's chief arbiter and enforcer of military law, Holt strove tenaciously, often against strong resistance, to implement Lincoln's wartime policies, including emancipation. After Lincoln's assassination, Holt accepted responsibility for pursuing and bringing to justice everyone involved in John Wilkes Booth's conspiracy. It was because of this role, in which he is often portrayed as a brutal prosecutor, and because of his hard position toward the South, Leonard contends, that Holt's reputation suffered. Leonard argues, however, that Holt should not be defined by what Southern sympathizers and proponents of the Lost Cause came to think of him. Lincoln's Forgotten Ally seeks to restore Holt, who dedicated both his energy and his influence to ensuring that the Federal victory would bring about lasting positive change for the nation, to his rightful place in American memory.


Book JacketPhoto

Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America by Adam Winkler
New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co., 2011
KF3941 .W56 2011 Balcony

Gunfight promises to be a seminal work in its examination of America's four-centuries-long political battle over gun control and the right to bear arms. In the tradition of Gideon's Trumpet , Adam Winkler uses the landmark 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller , which invalidated a law banning handguns in the nation's capital, as a springboard for a groundbreaking historical narrative. From the Founding Fathers and the Second Amendment to the origins of the Klan, ironically as a gun control organization, the debate over guns has always generated controversy. Whether examining the Black Panthers' role in provoking the modern gun rights movement or Ronald Reagan's efforts to curtail gun ownership, Winkler brilliantly weaves together the dramatic stories of gun rights advocates and gun control lobbyists, providing often unexpected insights into the venomous debate that now cleaves our nation.


Book JacketPhoto

The Collapse of American Criminal Justice by William J. Stuntz
Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011
HV7432 .S78 2011 Basement

The rule of law has vanished in America's criminal justice system. Prosecutors now decide whom to punish and how severely. Almost no one accused of a crime will ever face a jury. Inconsistent policing, rampant plea bargaining, overcrowded courtrooms, and ever more draconian sentencing have produced a gigantic prison population, with black citizens the primary defendants and victims of crime. In this passionately argued book, the leading criminal law scholar of his generation looks to history for the roots of these problems-and for their solutions. The Collapse of American Criminal Justice takes us deep into the dramatic history of American crime-bar fights in nineteenth-century Chicago, New Orleans bordellos, Prohibition, and decades of murderous lynching. Digging into these crimes and the strategies that attempted to control them, Stuntz reveals the costs of abandoning local democratic control. The system has become more centralized, with state legislators and federal judges given increasing power. The liberal Warren Supreme Court's emphasis on procedures, not equity, joined hands with conservative insistence on severe punishment to create a system that is both harsh and ineffective. What would get us out of this Kafkaesque world? More trials with local juries; laws that accurately define what prosecutors seek to punish; and an equal protection guarantee like the one that died in the 1870s, to make prosecution and punishment less discriminatory. Above all, Stuntz eloquently argues, Americans need to remember again that criminal punishment is a necessary but terrible tool, to use effectively, and sparingly.


Book JacketPhoto

Elbert Parr Tuttle: Chief Jurist of the Civil Rights Revolution by Anne Emanuel
Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press, 2011
KF373.T9 E46 2011 Balcony

This is the first-and the only authorized-biography of Elbert Parr Tuttle (1897--1996), the judge who led the federal court with jurisdiction over most of the Deep South through the most tumultuous years of the civil rights revolution. By the time Tuttle became chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, he had already led an exceptional life. He had cofounded a prestigious law firm, earned a Purple Heart in the battle for Okinawa in World War II, and led Republican Party efforts in the early 1950s to establish a viable presence in the South. But it was the inter¬section of Tuttle's judicial career with the civil rights movement that thrust him onto history's stage. When Tuttle assumed the mantle of chief judge in 1960, six years had passed since Brown v. Board of Education had been decided but little had changed for black southerners. In landmark cases relating to voter registration, school desegregation, access to public transportation, and other basic civil liberties, Tuttle's determination to render justice and his swift, decisive rulings neutralized the delaying tactics of diehard segregationists-including voter registrars, school board members, and governors-who were determined to preserve Jim Crow laws throughout the South. Author Anne Emanuel maintains that without the support of the federal courts of the Fifth Circuit, the promise of Brown might have gone unrealized. Moreover, without the leadership of Elbert Tuttle and the moral authority he commanded, the courts of the Fifth Circuit might not have met the challenge.


Book JacketPhoto

Faith in Paper: The Ethnohistory and Litigation of Upper Great Lakes Indian Treaties by Charles E. Cleland
Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011
KF8205 .C54 2011 Balcony

Faith in Paper is about the reinstitution of Indian treaty rights in the Upper Great Lakes region during the last quarter of the 20th century. The book focuses on the treaties and legal cases that together have awakened a new day in Native American sovereignty and established the place of Indian tribes on the modern political landscape. In addition to discussing the historic development of Indian treaties and their social and legal context, Charles E. Cleland outlines specific treaties litigated in modern courts as well as the impact of treaty litigation on the modern Indian and non-Indian communities of the region. Faith in Paper is both an important contribution to the scholarship of Indian legal matters and a rich resource for Indians themselves as they strive to retain or regain rights that have eroded over the years. Charles E. Cleland is Michigan State University Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Curator of Anthropology and Ethnology. He has been an expert witness in numerous Native American land claims and fishing rights cases and written a number of other books on the subject, including Rites of Conquest: The History and Culture of Michigan's Native Americans ; The Place of the Pike (Gnoozhekaaning): A History of the Bay Mills Indian Community ; and (as a contributor) Fish in the Lakes, Wild Rice, and Game in Abundance: Testimony on Behalf of Mille Lacs Ojibwe Hunting and Fishing Rights


Book JacketPhoto

The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe by Peter Godwin
New York: Little, Brown, 2011
DT2996 .G64 2011 Sohn Library

Zimbabwe-born-and-raised and British-educated journalist Godwin narrates his experiences returning to his homeland in the midst of the controversy over the disputed elections of 2008. He structures the story as a personal recollection of one part of a broader picture, the struggle between an aging and violent dictator determined to hang on to power by any means necessary, Robert Mugabe, and the brave Zimbabweans determined to oppose him.


Book JacketPhoto

The Judicial Imagination: Writing after Nuremberg by Lyndsey Stonebridge
Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011
PN56.J87 S76 2011 Basement

This book provides a new theorization of the relation between law and trauma. Returning to the work of Hannah Arendt, Lyndsey Stonebridge traces the emergence of a critical aesthetics of judgment in a group of writers -- often hard to place in the 'between' of modernism and contemporary writing -- including Elizabeth Bowen, Muriel Spark, Iris Murdoch and Martha Gellhorn. From Nuremberg to the Eichmann trial, and from the Paris Peace Conference to attempts to legislate for the world's newly stateless through the discourse of human rights, Stonebridge shows that these ethically driven women intellectuals were drawn to the law because of its promise of historical justice, yet critical of its political blindness and suspicious of its moral claims.


Book JacketPhoto

Reclaiming Justice: The International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and Local Courts by Sanja Kutnjak Ivkovich and John Hagan
Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2011
KZ1203.A12 K88 2011 Sohn Library

For the first time in legal history, an indictment was filed against an acting head of state, Slobodan Milosevic, for crimes that he allegedly committed while in office. Seeking to change the concept of ethnic cleansing from a rationalizing euphemism to an incriminating metaphor, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) established precedents and expanded the boundaries of international criminal and humanitarian law. In Reclaiming Justice: The International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and Local Courts, Sanja Kutnjak Ivkovi and John Hagan expand on prior literature about the ICTY by providing a comprehensive view of how people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, and Serbia view and evaluate the ICTY. Kutnjak Ivkovi and Hagan raise crucial questions about international justice in a systematic and comprehensive manner, focusing on the ICTY's legality and judicial independence, as well as specific issues of substantive and procedural justice and collective and individual responsibility. They provide an in-depth analysis of perceptions about the ICTY and the subsequent work and decisions reached by its local courts. In addition, they examine the relationship between the views of the ICTY and ethnicity as the war was fought largely along ethnic lines.


Book JacketPhoto

Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy by Susan Herman
Oxford; New Yor : Oxford University Press, 2011
KF9430 .H47 2011 Balcony

In this eye-opening work, the president of the ACLU takes a hard look at the human and social costs of the War on Terror. A decade after 9/11, it is far from clear that the government's hastily adopted antiterrorist tactics - such as the Patriot Act - are keeping us safe, but it is increasingly clear that these emergency measures in fact have the potential to ravage our lives - and have already done just that to countless Americans. From the Oregon lawyer falsely suspected of involvement with terrorism in Spain to the former University of Idaho football player arrested on the pretext that he was needed as a "material witness" (though he was never called to testify), this book is filled with unsettling stories of ordinary people caught in the government's dragnet. These are not just isolated mistakes in an otherwise sound program, but demonstrations of what can happen when our constitutional protections against government abuse are abandoned. Whether it's running a chat room, contributing to a charity, or even urging a terrorist group to forego its violent tactics, activities that should be protected by the First Amendment can now lead to prosecution. Blacklists and watchlists keep people grounded at airports and strand American citizens abroad, although these lists are rife with errors - errors that cannot be challenged. National Security Letters allow the FBI to demand records about innocent people from libraries, financial institutions, and internet service providers without ever going to court. Government databanks now brim with information about every aspect of our private lives, while efforts to mount legal challenges to these measures have been stymied. Barack Obama, like George W. Bush, relies on secrecy and exaggerated claims of presidential prerogative to keep the courts and Congress from fully examining whether these laws and policies are constitutional, effective, or even counterproductive. Democracy itself is undermined. This book is a wake-up call for all Americans, who remain largely unaware of the post-9/11 surveillance regime's insidious and continuing growth.