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Featured Acquisitions - July 2012

 

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Citizen Lane: Defending Our Rights in the Courts, the Capitol, and the Streets by Mark Lane
Chicago, Ill.: Lawrence Hill Books; Chicago Review Press, 2012
KF373.L35 A3 2012 Balcony

Freedom Rider, friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, Dick Gregory's vice-presidential running mate, legal defense at Wounded Knee, survivor of the Jonestown Massacre--Mark Lane has been inspiring social consciousness, influencing history makers, and inciting controversy for more than six decades. In Citizen Lane he tells the story of his remarkable life, demonstrating how a single dedicated individual can fight for the underdog, provoke the establishment, and trigger change. From the streets to the courtroom, he has been on the front lines in the events that shaped a generation in opposition to government excesses and war. Icons of the American political and social landscape appear throughout his narrative as Lane's cohorts and companions and as his vicious opponents. Radical leaders embraced him; the FBI and CIA tried to destroy him. No one who dealt with him had a neutral reaction to his forceful, larger-than-life persona. Entertaining and enlightening, this autobiography confirms that one person can make a difference and change the lives of millions by holding to his principles regardless of the consequences.


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Individual Criminal Responsibility in International Law by Elies van Sliedregt
Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2012
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This book examines the concept of individual criminal responsibility for serious violations of international law, i.e. aggression, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Such crimes are rarely committed by single individuals. Rather, international crimes generally connote a plurality of offenders, particularly in the execution of the crimes, which are often orchestrated and masterminded by individuals behind the scene of the crimes who can be termed 'intellectual perpetrators'. For a determination of individual guilt and responsibility, a fair assessment of the mutual relationships between those persons is indispensable. By setting out how to understand and apply concepts such as joint criminal enterprise, superior responsibility, duress, and the defense of superior orders, this work provides a framework for that assessment. It does so by bringing to light the roots of these concepts, which lie not merely in earlier phases of development of international criminal law but also in domestic law and legal doctrine. The book also critically reflects on how criminal responsibility has been developed in the case law of international criminal tribunals and courts. It thus illuminates and analyses the rules on individual responsibility in international law.


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Endowed by Our Creator: the Birth of Religious Freedom in America by Michael I. Meyerson
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012
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The debate over the framers' concept of freedom of religion has become heated and divisive. This scrupulously researched book sets aside the half-truths, omissions, and partisan arguments, and instead focuses on the actual writings and actions of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and others. Legal scholar Michael I. Meyerson investigates how the framers of the Constitution envisioned religious freedom and how they intended it to operate in the new republic. Endowed by Our Creator shows that the framers understood that the American government should not acknowledge religion in a way that favors any particular creed or denomination. Nevertheless, the framers believed that religion could instill virtue and help to unify a diverse nation. They created a spiritual public vocabulary, one that could communicate to all--including agnostics and atheists--that they were valued members of the political community. Through their writings and their decisions, the framers affirmed that respect for religious differences is a fundamental American value. Now it is for us, Meyerson concludes, to determine whether religion will be used to alienate and divide or to inspire and unify our religiously diverse nation.


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Run for the Border: Vice and Virtue in U.S.-Mexico Border Crossings by Steven W. Bender
New York: New York University Press, 2012
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Mexico and the United States exist in a symbiotic relationship: Mexico frequently provides the United States with cheap labor, illegal goods, and, for criminal offenders, a refuge from the law. In turn, the U.S. offers Mexican laborers the American dream: the possibility of a better livelihood through hard work. To supply each other's demands, Americans and Mexicans have to cross their shared border from both sides. Despite this relationship, U.S. immigration reform debates tend to be security-focused and center on the idea of menacing Mexicans heading north to steal abundant American resources. Further, Congress tends to approach reform unilaterally, without engaging with Mexico or other feeder countries, and, disturbingly, without acknowledging problematic southern crossings that Americans routinely make into Mexico. In Run for the Border , Steven W. Bender offers a framework for a more comprehensive border policy through a historical analysis of border crossings, both Mexico to U.S. and U.S. to Mexico. In contrast to recent reform proposals, this book urges reform as the product of negotiation and implementation by cross-border accord; reform that honors the shared economic and cultural legacy of the U.S. and Mexico. Covering everything from the history of Anglo crossings into Mexico to escape law authorities, to vice tourism and retirement in Mexico, to today's focus on Mexican border-crossing immigrants and drug traffickers, Bender takes lessons from the past 150 years to argue for more explicit and compassionate cross-border cooperation steeped in several disciplines, Run for the Border is a blend of historical, cultural, and legal perspectives, as well as those from literature and cinema, that reflect Bender's cultural background and legal expertise.


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The Right to Be Parents: LGBT Families and the Transformation of Parenthood by Carlos A. Ball
New York: New York University Press, 2012
KF540 .B35 2012 Balcony

In 1975, California courts stripped a lesbian mother of her custody rights because she was living openly with another woman. Twenty years later, the Virginia Supreme Court did the same thing to another lesbian mother. In ordering that children be separated from their mothers, these courts ruled that it was not possible for a woman to be both a good parent and a lesbian. The Right to be Parents is the first book to provide a detailed history of how LGBT parents have turned to the courts to protect and defend their relationships with their children. Carlos A. Ball chronicles the stories of LGBT parents who, in seeking to gain legal recognition of and protection for their relationships with their children, have fundamentally changed how American law defines and regulates parenthood. Each chapter contains riveting human stories of determination and perseverance as LGBT parents challenge the widely-held view that having a same-sexual orientation, or that being a transsexual, renders individuals incapable of being good parents. To this day, some courts are still not able to look beyond sexual orientation and gender identity in order to fairly apply legal principles in cases involving LGBT parents and their children. Yet on the whole, Ball's stories are of progress and transformation: as a result of these pioneering LGBT parent litigants, the law is increasingly recognizing the wide diversity in American familial structures. The Right to be Parents explores why and how that has come to be.


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Rethinking Patent Law by Robin Feldman
Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2012
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Scientific and technological innovations are forcing patent law into the spotlight and revealing its many glaring inadequacies. Take, for example, the patent case that almost shut down the Blackberry, or the growing phenomenon of patent trolling, in which patents are acquired for the sole purpose of entrapping companies whose products relate to them. And patents on genes have everyone up in arms-and our courts confused. Robin Feldman explains why patents are causing so much trouble. The problem lies in our assumption that patents set clear boundaries for rights to an invention. In reality, they do no such thing. The very nature of inventions makes them impossible to describe unambiguously for all time. When something is so new that we do not understand yet how it works, what it is capable of doing, or how it could be applied-as is often the case in biotechnology-description is necessarily slippery. Instead of hoping for clear boundaries, and moaning when we don't get them, Rethinking Patent Law urges lawmakers to focus on what the law can do well: craft rules that anticipate the bargaining that will occur as rights unfold. By steering clear of laws that distort the bargaining process, lawmakers can help courts answer difficult questions, such as whether genes, software, and business methods constitute patentable subject matter, whether patents in the life sciences should control inventions that have yet to be discovered, and how to resolve the battles between pharmaceutical companies and generics.


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Aftermath: Deportation Law and the New American Diaspora by Daniel Kanstroom
New York: Oxford University Press, 2012
KF4842 .K38 2012 Balcony

Since 1996, when new, harsher deportation laws went into effect, the United States has deported millions of noncitizens back to their countries of origin. While the rights of immigrants-with or without legal status--as well as the appropriate pathway to legal status are the subject of much debate, hardly any attention has been paid to what actually happens to deportees once they "pass beyond our aid." In fact, we have fostered a new diaspora of deportees, many of whom are alone and isolated, with strong ties to their former communities in the United States. Daniel Kanstroom, author of the authoritative history of deportation, Deportation Nation, turns his attention here to the current deportation system of the United States and especially deportation's aftermath: the actual effects on individuals, families, U.S. communities, and the countries that must process and repatriate ever-increasing numbers of U.S. deportees. Few know that once deportees have been expelled to places like Guatemala, Cambodia, Haiti, and El Salvador, many face severe hardship, persecution and, in extreme instances, even death. Addressing a wide range of political, social, and legal issues, Kanstroom considers whether our deportation system "works" in any meaningful sense. He also asks a number of under-examined legal and philosophical questions: What is the relationship between the "rule of law" and the border? Where do rights begin and end? Do (or should) deportees ever have a "right to return"? After demonstrating that deportation in the U.S. remains an anachronistic, ad hoc, legally questionable affair, the book concludes with specific reform proposals for a more humane and rational deportation system.


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At Liberty to Die: the Battle for Death with Dignity in America by Howard Ball
New York: New York University Press, 2012
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Over the past hundred years, average life expectancy in America has nearly doubled, due largely to scientific and medical advances, but also as a consequence of safer working conditions, a heightened awareness of the importance of diet and health, and other factors. Yet while longevity is celebrated as an achievement in modern civilization, the longer people live, the more likely they are to succumb to chronic, terminal illnesses. In 1900, the average life expectancy was 47 years, with a majority of American deaths attributed to influenza, tuberculosis, pneumonia, or other diseases. In 2000, the average life expectancy was nearly 80 years, and for too many people, these long lifespans included cancer, heart failure, Lou Gehrig's disease, AIDS, or other fatal illnesses, and with them, came debilitating pain and the loss of a once-full and often independent lifestyle. In this compelling and provocative book, noted legal scholar Howard Ball poses the pressing question: is it appropriate, legally and ethically, for a competent individual to have the liberty to decide how and when to die when faced with a terminal illness? At Liberty to Die charts how, the right of a competent, terminally ill person to die on his or her own terms with the help of a doctor has come deeply embroiled in debates about the relationship between religion, civil liberties, politics, and law in American life. Exploring both the legal rulings and the media frenzies that accompanied the Terry Sciavo case and others like it, Howard Ball contends that despite raging battles in all the states where right to die legislation has been proposed, the opposition to the right to die is intractable in its stance. Combining constitutional analysis, legal history, and current events, Ball surveys the constitutional arguments that have driven the right to die debate.


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Not Guilty: Are the Acquitted Innocent? by Daniel Givelber and Amy Farrell
New York: New York University Press, 2012
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"A brilliant book that masterfully debunks the conventional wisdom that those who are charged with crimes in our criminal justice system, even when they are acquitted at trial, are almost certainly guilty. It is a data-driven tour de force." --Richard A. Leo, author of Police Interrogation and American Justice "Givelber and Farrell make a persuasive case that most jury acquittals are based on evidence not emotion, and that acquittals should be taken to mean what they say: that the defendant is Not Guilty." --Samuel Gross, co-author of A Modern Approach to Evidence: Text, Problems, Transcripts, and Cases As scores of death row inmates are exonerated by DNA evidence and innocence commissions are set up across the country, conviction of the innocent has become a well-recognized problem. But our justice system makes both kinds of errors--we acquit the guilty and convict the innocent--and exploring the reasons why people are acquitted can help us to evaluate the efficiency and fairness of our criminal justice system. Not Guilty provides a sustained examination and analysis of the factors that lead juries to find defendants "not guilty," as well as the connection between those factors and the possibility of factual innocence, examining why some criminal trials result in not guilty verdicts and what those verdicts suggest about the accuracy of our criminal process.


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Failing Law Schools by Brian Z. Tamanaha
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012
KF272 .T353 2012 Balcony

On the surface, law schools today are thriving. Enrollments are on the rise, and their resources are often the envy of every other university department. Law professors are among the highest paid and play key roles as public intellectuals, advisers, and government officials. Yet behind the flourishing facade, law schools are failing abjectly. Recent front-page stories have detailed widespread dubious practices, including false reporting of LSAT and GPA scores, misleading placement reports, and the fundamental failure to prepare graduates to enter the profession. Addressing all these problems and more in a ringing critique is renowned legal scholar Brian Z. Tamanaha. Piece by piece, Tamanaha lays out the how and why of the crisis and the likely consequences if the current trend continues. The out-of-pocket cost of obtaining a law degree at many schools now approaches $200,000. The average law school graduate's debt is around $100,000--the highest it has ever been--while the legal job market is the worst in decades, with the scarce jobs offering starting salaries well below what is needed to handle such a debt load. At the heart of the problem, Tamanaha argues, are the economic demands and competitive pressures on law schools--driven by competition over U.S. News and World Report ranking. When paired with a lack of regulatory oversight, the work environment of professors, the limited information available to prospective students, and loan-based tuition financing, the result is a system that is fundamentally unsustainable. Growing concern with the crisis in legal education has led to high-profile coverage in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, and many observers expect it soon will be the focus of congressional scrutiny. Bringing to the table his years of experience from within the legal academy, Tamanaha has provided the perfect resource for assessing what's wrong with law schools and figuring out how to fix them.