masthead

Featured Acquisitions - February 2011

 

Book Jacket Photo Justice for Hedgehogs by Ronald Dworkin
Cambridge, Mass. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011
BD435 .D85 2011 Basement

The fox knows many things, the Greeks said, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. In his most comprehensive work Ronald Dworkin argues that value in all its forms is one big thing: that what truth is, life means, morality requires, and justice demands are different aspects of the same large question. He develops original theories on a great variety of issues very rarely considered in the same book: moral skepticism, literary, artistic, and historical interpretation, free will, ancient moral theory, being good and living well, liberty, equality, and law among many other topics. What we think about any one of these must stand up, eventually, to any argument we find compelling about the rest.

Skepticism in all its forms-philosophical, cynical, or post-modern-threatens that unity. The Galilean revolution once made the theological world of value safe for science. But the new republic gradually became a new empire: the modern philosophers inflated the methods of physics into a totalitarian theory of everything. They invaded and occupied all the honorifics-reality, truth, fact, ground, meaning, knowledge, and being-and dictated the terms on which other bodies of thought might aspire to them, and skepticism has been the inevitable result. We need a new revolution. We must make the world of science safe for value.


Book JacketPhoto

Counsel for the Situation: Shaping the Law to Realize America's Promise  by William T. Coleman, Jr.; with Donald T. Bliss
Washington , D.C. Brookings Institution Press, 2010
KF373.C635 A3 2010 Balcony

Bill Coleman has spent a lifetime opening doors and breaking down barriers. He has been an eyewitness to history; moreover, he has made history. This is his inspiring story, in his own words.

Americans of color faced daunting barriers in the 1940s. Despite graduating first in his class at Harvard Law and clerking for Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, Coleman was shut out of major East Coast law firms. But as he writes, "The times, they were a'changing." He not only benefitted from that change –he helped propel it, by way of dogged determination, undeniable intellect, and stellar accomplishment.

Coleman was the first American of color to clerk for the Supreme Court. He was the first American of color to join a major American law firm. He served as senior counsel to the Warren Commission, investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy. His legal work with Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund helped produce the historic 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education . In 1975, he was appointed Secretary of Transportation by President Ford. In 1995, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton.

At his professional core, Bill is a lawyer -fiercely proud of the legal profession's responsibilities in a democratic society and free economy and grateful for the opportunities it has afforded him in the court room, the board room, and the corridors of power. It is through this prism that he relates his own story -his life and the law.

Coleman strives to be what Louis Brandeis described as a "counsel for the situation" -an advocate able to take on major matters in a variety of legal disciplines while upholding the highest traditions of justice and the public interest. The results speak for themselves, and in this immensely entertaining chronicle, the Counsel for the Situation speaks for himself.


Book Jacket Photo

Lost Lives, Lost Art: Jewish Collectors, Nazi Art Theft, and the Quest for Justice by Melissa Müller, Monika Tatzkow ; with contributions from Thomas Blubacher and Gunnar Schnabel : foreword by Ronald S. Lauder
New York : Vendome Press, c2010
N8795.3.E85 M8513 2010 Basement

The legendary names include Rothschild, Mendelssohn, Bloch-Bauer—distinguished bankers, industrialists, diplomats, and art collectors. Their diverse taste ranged from manuscripts and musical instruments to paintings by Old Masters and the avant-garde. But their stigma as Jews in Nazi Germany and occupied Europe doomed them to exile or death in Hitler's concentration camps. Here, after years of meticulous research, Melissa Müller (Anne Frank: The Biography) and Monika Tatzkow (Nazi Looted Art) present the tragic, compelling stories of 15 Jewish collectors, the dispersal of their extraordinary collections through forced sale and/or confiscation, and the ongoing efforts of their heirs to recover their inheritance. For every victory in the effort to return these works to their rightful heirs, there are daunting defeats and long court battles. This real-life legal thriller follows works by Rembrandt, Klimt, Pissarro, Kandinsky, and others.


Book Jacket Photo The Justice of Mercy by Linda Ross Meyer
Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 2010
K250 .M49 2010 Balcony

How can granting mercy be just if it gives a criminal less punishment than he "deserves" and treats his case differently from others like it? This ancient question has become central to debates over truth and reconciliation commissions, alternative dispute resolution, and other new forms of restorative justice. The traditional response has been to marginalize mercy and to cast doubt on its ability to coexist with forms of legal justice.

Flipping the relationship between justice and mercy, Linda Ross Meyer argues that our rule-bound and harsh system of punishment is deeply flawed and that mercy should be, not the crazy woman in the attic of the law, but the lady of the house. This book articulates a theory of punishment with mercy and illustrates the implications of that theory with legal examples drawn from criminal law doctrine, pardons, mercy in military justice, and fictional narratives of punishment and mercy.


Book JacketPhoto

Habeas corpus after 9/11: Confronting America's New Global Detention System by Jonathan Hafetz
New York : New York University Press, 2011
KF9011 .H34 2011 Balcony

The U.S. detention centre at Guantánamo Bay has long been synonymous with torture, secrecy, and the abuse of executive power. It has come to epitomize lawlessness and has sparked protracted legal battles and political debate. For too long, however, Guantánamo has been viewed in isolation and has overshadowed a larger, interconnected global detention system that includes other military prisons such as Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan , secret CIA jails, and the transfer of prisoners to other countries for torture. Guantánamo is simply - and alarmingly - the most visible example of a much larger prison system designed to operate outside the law. Habeas Corpus after 9/11 examines the rise of the U.S.-run global detention system that emerged after 9/11 and the efforts to challenge it through habeas corpus (a petition to appear in court to claim unlawful imprisonment). Habeas expert and litigator Jonathan Hafetz gives us an insider's view of the detention of "enemy combatants" and an accessible explanation of the complex forces that keep these systems running.

In the age of terrorism, some argue that habeas corpus is impractical and unwise. Hafetz advocates that it remains the single most important check against arbitrary and unlawful detention, torture, and the abuse of executive power.


Book Jacket Photo

Justice Older than the Law: the Life of Dovey Johnson Roundtree by Katie McCabe and Dovey Johnson Roundtree
Jackson : University Press of Mississippi , 2009
KF373.R686 M34 2009 Balcony

From the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, to the segregated courtrooms of the nation's capital, from the white male bastion of the World War II Army to the male stronghold of Howard University Law School, from the pulpits of churches where women had waited years for the right to minister--in all these places Dovey Johnson Roundtree (b. 1914) sought justice. Though she is a legendary African American figure in the legal community of Washington , D.C. , she remains largely unknown to the American public.

Justice Older than the Law is her story, the product of a remarkable, ten-year collaboration with National Magazine Award-winner Katie McCabe. As a protégé of Mary McLeod Bethune, Roundtree became one of the first women to break the gender and color barriers in the United States military. Inspired by Thurgood Marshall and James Madison Nabrit, Jr., Roundtree went on to make history by winning a 1955 bus desegregation case, Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company . That decision demolished "separate but equal" in the realm of interstate transportation and enabled Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to combat southern resistance to the Freedom Riders' campaign in 1961.

At a time when black attorneys had to leave the courthouses to use the bathrooms, Roundtree took on Washington 's white legal establishment and prevailed. She led the vanguard of women ordained to the ministry in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1961 and merged her law practice with her ministry to fight for families and children being destroyed by urban violence. Hers is a vision of biblical and social justice older by far than the law, and her life story speaks movingly and urgently to our racially troubled times


Book Jacket Photo

Legality by Scott J. Shapiro
Cambridge , Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011
K230.S525 L44 2011 Balcony

What is law? This question has preoccupied philosophers from Plato to Thomas Hobbes to H. L. A. Hart. Yet many others find it perplexing. How could we possibly know how to answer such an abstract question? And what would be the point of doing so? In Legality , Scott Shapiro argues that the question is not only meaningful but vitally important. In fact, many of the most pressing puzzles that lawyers confront-including who has legal authority over us and how we should interpret constitutions, statutes, and cases-will remain elusive until this grand philosophical question is resolved.

Shapiro draws on recent work in the philosophy of action to develop an original and compelling answer to this age-old question. Breaking with a long tradition in jurisprudence, he argues that the law cannot be understood simply in terms of rules. Legal systems are best understood as highly complex and sophisticated tools for creating and applying plans . Shifting the focus of jurisprudence in this way-from rules to plans-not only resolves many of the most vexing puzzles about the nature of law but has profound implications for legal practice as well.

Written in clear, jargon-free language, and presupposing no legal or philosophical background, Legality is both a groundbreaking new theory of law and an excellent introduction to and defense of classical jurisprudence.


Book Jacket Photo

Virtual Justice: The New Laws of Online Worlds  by Greg Lastowka
New Haven : Yale University Press, 2010
K564.C6 L374 2010 Balcony

Tens of millions of people today are living part of their life in a virtual world. In places like World of Warcraft, Second Life, and Free Realms, people are making friends, building communities, creating art, and making real money. Business is booming on the virtual frontier, as billions of dollars are paid in exchange for pixels on screens. But sometimes things go wrong. Virtual criminals defraud online communities in pursuit of real-world profits. People feel cheated when their avatars lose virtual property to wrongdoers. Increasingly, they turn to legal systems for solutions. But when your avatar has been robbed, what law is there to assist you?

In Virtual Justice, Greg Lastowka illustrates the real legal dilemmas posed by virtual worlds. Presenting the most recent lawsuits and controversies, he explains how governments are responding to the chaos on the cyberspace frontier. After an engaging overview of the history and business models of today's virtual worlds, he explores how laws of property, jurisdiction, crime, and copyright are being adapted to pave the path of virtual law.

Virtual worlds are becoming more important to society with each passing year. This pioneering study will be an invaluable guide to scholars of online communities for years to come.


Book JacketPhoto

Outsourcing War and Peace: Preserving Public Values in a World of Privatized Foreign Affairs  by Laura A. Dickinson
New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 2011
KF855 .D53 2011 Sohn Library

    Over the past decade, states and international organizations have shifted a surprising range of foreign policy functions to private contractors. But who is accountable when the employees of foreign private firms do violence or create harm? This timely book describes the services that are now delivered by private contractors and the threat this trend poses to core public values of human rights, democratic accountability, and transparency. The author offers a series of concrete reforms that are necessary to expand traditional legal accountability, construct better mechanisms of public participation, and alter the organizational structure and institutional culture of contractor firms. The result is a pragmatic, nuanced, and comprehensive set of responses to the problem of foreign affairs privatization.


Book Jacket Photo

Law and Justice in Community by Garrett Barden and Tim Murphy
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2010
K370 .B367 2010 Balcony

This book proposes a general theory of the nature of law based on the assertion that law exists in all human communities before it is ever posited or in any other sense formally expressed. According to the theory, the nature of law is not captured in what is variously called 'positive law', 'conventional law', 'state law' or 'human law'. The theory holds that a living law is an omnipresent feature of human community. By 'living law' is meant primarily those normative judgments and choices that are generally accepted and approved in a particular community.

The book begins by exploring the origins of civil society and the function of law. The authors adopt the Roman law definition of justice as the willingness to give each what is due, and they examine the mutual rights or entitlements that must be for the most part honored for any society to survive. In addition to distinguishing natural justice from conventional justice, and setting out in detail the distinction between distributive justice, rectificatory justice and reciprocal justice. The study proceeds to analyze justice and the trading order; the nature of adjudication and interpretation; the relationship between morality, law and legislation; natural law; rights; law and coercion; and the authority and legitimacy of law.

While the authors invoke several classical and medieval sources, their account of law and justice in community is innovative and contemporary. It will be of interest to students of philosophy, social anthropology, political science, and those involved in the sociological study of law.


Book JacketPhoto

The Offensive Internet: Privacy, Speech, and Reputation edited by Saul Levmore and Martha C. Nussbaum
Cambridge , Mass: Harvard University Press, 2010
KF390.5.C6 O344 2010 Balcony

The Internet has been romanticized as a zone of freedom. The alluring combination of sophisticated technology with low barriers to entry and instantaneous outreach to millions of users has mesmerized libertarians and communitarians alike. Lawmakers have joined the celebration, passing the Communications Decency Act, which enables Internet Service Providers to allow unregulated discourse without danger of liability, all in the name of enhancing freedom of speech. But an unregulated Internet is a breeding ground for offensive conduct.

At last we have a book that begins to focus on abuses made possible by anonymity, freedom from liability, and lack of oversight. The distinguished scholars assembled in this volume, drawn from law and philosophy, connect the absence of legal oversight with harassment and discrimination. Questioning the simplistic notion that abusive speech and mobocracy are the inevitable outcomes of new technology, they argue that current misuse is the outgrowth of social, technological, and legal choices. Seeing this clearly will help us to be better informed about our options.

In a field still dominated by a frontier perspective, this book has the potential to be a real game changer. Armed with example after example of harassment in Internet chat rooms and forums, the authors detail some of the vile and hateful speech that the current combination of law and technology has bred. The facts are then treated to analysis and policy prescriptions. Read this book and you will never again see the Internet through rose-colored glasses.


Book JacketPhoto

The Moral Dimensions of Human Rights by Carl Wellman
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2011
JC571 .W387 2011 Sohn Library

Many books on human rights either concentrate on human rights as fundamental moral rights with little attention to international human rights, or discount moral human rights and focus on international human rights.The Moral Dimensions of Human Rightstakes a broad approach by discussing all three species of human rights - moral, international, and national -at length. At the same time, Carl Wellman pays special attention to the moral reasons that are relevant to each kind of human rights.

The book has three parts. In the first, Wellman develops an original view of the nature and grounds of moral human rights based on his previous publications in the general theory of rights, especially Real Rights. The next part explains how moral human rights are relevant both to the justification and to the interpretation of human rights in international law and identifies several other relevant moral considerations. In the third part, the author argues that different kinds of moral and international human rights ought to be incorporated into national legal systems in four distinct ways-recognition in a written constitution, judicial decisions, legislation, and ratified human rights treaties.