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Featured Acquisitions - October 2010

 

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Wanted Women : An American Obsession in the Reign of J. Edgar Hoover  by Mary Elizabeth Strunk
Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, c2010
HV6785 .S77 2010  Basement

Mary Elizabeth Strunk brings together the stories of ten outlaw women from two separate eras: Bonnie Parker, Kathryn Kelly, and Ma Barker of the 1930s; and Patricia Hearst, Assata Shakur, and the five women of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) of the 1970s. Strunk argues that during J. Edgar Hoover's tenure as director of the FBI, he was preoccupied with representing these ten women as outlaws in an effort to promote the federalization of law enforcement and the masculinist figure of the G-man. These representations underscore, however, the anxieties around race, class, sexuality, and gender norms during Hoover's tenure. These women were "outlaws," writes Strunk. In other words, they defied social norms and the law, setting themselves apart from gangsters and revolutionaries. Using FBI archival materials, popular culture, and film, Strunk skillfully tells the story of these women before and after their wanted status and describes how their popular representations emerged. She also, importantly, demonstrates how these women struggled to reinvent and represent themselves.


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Judge Sentences : Tales from the Bench  by Dermot Meagher
Boston : Northeastern University Press ; Hanover, [N.H.] : Published by University Press of New England, c2010
KF373.M39943 A3 2010  Balcony

Here at last are the best of Dermot Meagher's tales of life as a judge in Boston Municipal Court, where he presided over real-life cases rivaling the best of David E. Kelley's The Practice, Boston Legal, and Ally McBeal. These true-to-life stories, some of which first appeared in Boston and Double Take magazines, showcase a writer of rare talent and humor: a Harvard-educated "man of the people" who has seen it all yet never lost his ability to be surprised by the parade of humanity that came before his bench--from the offbeat to the curiously affecting to the downright tragic (not to mention tragicomic). A wise, wry, and disarmingly humane observer of human foibles, Judge Meagher waives judicial discretion and deliberates in a way more familiar to literature than to any court of law (but with names changed to protect the innocent as well as the not-so-innocent). Judge Meagher's great achievement in Judge Sentences is to give us a voice of justice rendered as kindness and humor rather than judgment and discipline. In these hugely appealing and provocative tales of dysfunction and conflict, readers have the privilege of experiencing a side of Boston (and America) that is otherwise largely hidden from public view. Real life often is stranger than fiction, and Judge Meagher shows us just how strange--and how urgent and real--it can be. 


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From the Closet to the Courtroom : Five LGBT Rights Lawsuits That Have Changed Our Nation  by Carlos A. Ball
Boston : Beacon Press, c2010
KF4754.5 .B35 2010  Balcony

Carlos A. Ball describes five lawsuits that have helped change the way lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBT) people are treated in the United States. The cases are Braschi v. Stahl Associates, in which an appellate court recognize that two men can constitute a family; Nabozny v. Podlesny (1996), in which a Wisconsin jury recognized that a bullied gay teenager had had his constitutional rights violated by school officials who looked the other way; Rome v. Evans, in which the US Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional to deny LGBT people the opportunity to seek antidiscrimination protection under the law; Baehr v. Lewin (1993), in which the Hawaii Supreme Court questioned the constitutionality of denying same-sex couples the right to marry; and Lawrence v. Texas (2003), in which the US Supreme Court held that the government cannot criminalize private and consensual gay sex. For each case, he offers a description of the facts involved, a discussion of the legal issues involved and how they were dealt with in the litigation, and an analysis of the legal and social impact of the case.


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The Supreme Court : A C-SPAN Book Featuring the Justices in Their Own Words edited by Brian Lamb, Susan Swain, and Mark Farkas
New York, N.Y. : Public Affairs, c2010 1st ed
KF8742 .S895 2010   Balcony

The companion book to the 2009 C-SPAN documentary records the only time that all the living Supreme Court justices, the nine sitting members and their two retired colleagues, have granted interviews to a single television network. Transcripts from those interviews provide insight into the daily operations and history of the nation's highest court; facts about the building it occupies, trivia (William Howard Taft was the only individual to serve as President and Supreme Court Justice), and numerous personal recollections are also included, as are interviews with experts on the Court's history and daily operation. An appendix presents short biographies of the justices, a list of everyone who has ever served on the Court, and a section noting petitions and arguments heard each year, from 1980 to 2008 (peaking in 2006 with over 10,000 heard and 73 argued). Readers will gain insight into the Court and the justices, including the different approaches they take in writing their opinions, in a volume that will particularly engage history buffs and anyone with an interest in governmental procedure.


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The Last Utopia : Human Rights in History by Samuel Moyn
Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010
JC571 .M85 2010  Basement

Human rights offer a vision of international justice that today’s idealistic millions hold dear. Yet the very concept on which the movement is based became familiar only a few decades ago when it profoundly reshaped our hopes for an improved humanity. In this pioneering book, Samuel Moyn elevates that extraordinary transformation to center stage and asks what it reveals about the ideal’s troubled present and uncertain future. For some, human rights stretch back to the dawn of Western civilization, the age of the American and French Revolutions, or the post-World War II moment when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was framed. Revisiting these episodes in a dramatic tour of humanity’s moral history, The Last Utopia shows that it was in the decade after 1968 that human rights began to make sense to broad communities of people as the proper cause of justice. Across eastern and western Europe, as well as throughout the United States and Latin America, human rights crystallized in a few short years as social activism and political rhetoric moved it from the hallways of the United Nations to the global forefront. It was on the ruins of earlier political utopias, Moyn argues, that human rights achieved contemporary prominence. The morality of individual rights substituted for the soiled political dreams of revolutionary communism and nationalism as international law became an alternative to popular struggle and bloody violence. But as the ideal of human rights enters into rival political agendas, it requires more vigilance and scrutiny than when it became the watchword of our hopes.


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Congress Shall Make No Law : The First Amendment, Unprotected Expression, and the Supreme Court by David M. O'Brien
Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield, c2010
KF4772 .O27 2010   Balcony

The First Amendment declares that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”  Yet, in the following two hundred years, Congress and the states have sought repeatedly to curb these freedoms. The Supreme Court of the United States in turn gradually expanded First Amendment protection for freedom of expression but also defined certain categories of expression -- obscenity, defamation, commercial speech, and fighting words or disruptive expression -- as constitutionally unprotected. From the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798 to the most recent cases to come before the Supreme Court, noted legal scholar David M. O'Brien provides the first comprehensive examination of these exceptions to the absolute command of the First Amendment, providing a history of each category of unprotected speech and putting into bold relief the larger questions of what kinds of expression should (and should not) receive First Amendment protection. O'Brien provides readers interested in civil liberties, constitutional history and law, and the U. S. Supreme Court a treasure trove of information and ideas about how to think about the First Amendment.


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Foundations of Public Law by Martin Loughlin
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2010
K3150 .L677 2010   Balcony

Foundations of Public Law offers a distinctive, provocative theory of public law, building on the views first outlined in The Idea of Public Law (OUP, 2003). The theory aims to identify the essential character of public law, explain its particular modes of operation, and specify its unique task. Public law is conceived broadly as a type of law that comes into existence as a consequence of the secularization, rationalization and positivization of the medieval idea of fundamental law. Formed as a result of the changes that give birth to the modern state, public law establishes the authority and legitimacy of modern governmental ordering. Public law today is a universal phenomenon, but its origins are European. Part I of the book examines the conditions of its formation, showing how much the concept borrowed from the refined debates of medieval jurists. Part II then examines the nature of public law. Drawing on a line of juristic inquiry that developed from the late-sixteenth to the early nineteenth centuries - extending from Bodin, Althusius, Lipsius, Grotius, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke and Pufendorf to the later works of Montesquieu, Rousseau, Kant, Fichte, Smith and Hegel - it presents an account of public law as a special type of political reason. The remaining three Parts unpack the core elements of this concept: state, constitution, and government. By taking this broad approach to the subject, Professor Loughlin shows how, rather than being viewed as a limitation on power, law is better conceived as a means by which public power is generated. And by explaining the way that these core elements of state, constitution and government were shaped respectively by the technological, bourgeois, and disciplinary revolutions of the 16th-19th centuries, he reveals a concept of public law of considerable ambiguity, complexity and resilience.


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Battle Over the Bench : Senators, Interest Groups, and Lower Court Confirmations by Amy Steigerwalt
Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, 2010
KF8776 .S74 2010  Balcony

Who gets seated on the lower federal courts and why? Why are some nominees confirmed easily while others travel a long, hard road to confirmation? What role do senators and interest groups play in determining who will become a federal judge? The lower federal courts have increasingly become the final arbiters of the important political and social issues of the day. As a result, who gets seated on the bench has become a major political issue. In Battle over the Bench, Amy Steigerwalt argues that the key to understanding the dynamics of the lower court confirmation process is to examine the process itself. She offers a new analytic framework for understanding when nominations become contested, and shows when and how key actors can influence the fate of nominations and ultimately determine who will become a federal judge. Given the increasing salience of lower court decisions, it is not surprising that interest groups and partisan agendas play an important role. Steigerwalt inventories the means by which senators push through or block nominations, and why interest groups decide to support or oppose certain nominations. The politics of judicial confirmations do not end there, however. Steigerwalt also reveals how many nominees are blocked for private political reasons that have nothing to do with ideology, while senators may use their support for or opposition to nominees as bargaining chips to garner votes for their positions on unrelated issues. Battle over the Bench showcases the complex and, at times, hidden motivations driving the staffing of the federal bench. Constitutionalism and Democracy.


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Making Our Democracy Work : A Judge's View  by Stephen Breyer
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2010  1st ed
KF4575 .B73 2010  Balcony

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer gives us, for the first time, his original and accessible theory of the United States Supreme Court's responsibility and integrity. Every time the court exercises its power of review to overturn legislation, it overrides the actions of popularly elected leaders. In each case, Justice Breyer argues, the court must act responsibly to safeguard the trust of the American people and ensure the cooperation of the other branches of government. He illuminates this argument with the fascinating stories of key decisions, told from his unique perspective. Among others, Justice Breyer discusses Andrew Jackson's reaction to the Cherokee cases; FDR's reaction to cases that invalidated New Deal legislation; Eisenhower's response to Cooper v. Aaron(which, in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education, held that the states were bound by the Court's decisions); and the public response to Bush v. Gore. Through the Eyes of a Judge is an opportunity for Justice Breyer-one of the few Democrats on the bench-to refute the strict constructionism advocated by the court's conservatives. Here he powerfully demonstrates that the influence of our Supreme Court is not historically constant-rather, it has evolved over time, as it continues to do today.


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Peculiar Institution : America's Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition  by David Garland
Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010
HV8699.U5 G36 2010  Basement

The U.S. death penalty is a peculiar institution, and a uniquely American one. Despite its comprehensive abolition elsewhere in the Western world, capital punishment continues in dozens of American states; a fact that is frequently discussed but rarely understood. The same puzzlement surrounds the peculiar form that American capital punishment now takes, with its uneven application, its seemingly endless delays, and the uncertainty of its ever being carried out in individual cases, none of which seem conducive to effective crime control or criminal justice. In a brilliantly provocative study, David Garland explains this tenacity and shows how death penalty practice has come to bear the distinctive hallmarks of America’s political institutions and cultural conflicts.  America’s radical federalism and local democracy, as well as its legacy of violence and racism, account for our divergence from the rest of the West. Whereas the elites of other nations were able to impose nationwide abolition from above despite public objections, American elites are unable and unwilling  to end a punishment that has the support of local majorities and a storied place in popular culture.  In the course of hundreds of decisions, federal courts sought to rationalize and civilize an institution that too often resembled a lynching, producing layers of legal process but also delays and reversals. Yet the Supreme Court insists that the issue is to be decided by local political actors and public opinion. So the death penalty continues to respond to popular will, enhancing the power of criminal justice professionals, providing drama for the media, and bringing pleasure to a public audience who consumes its chilling tales. Garland brings a new clarity to our understanding of this peculiar institution and a new challenge to supporters and opponents alike.


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Selecting International Judges : Principle, Process, and Politics by Ruth Mackenzie ... [et al.]
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2010
KZ6250 .S45 2010  Basement

This book examines the way international court judges are chosen. Focusing principally on the judicial selection procedures of the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court, it provides the first detailed examination of how the selection process works in practice at national and international levels: what factors determine whether a state will nominate a candidate? How is a candidate identified? What factors influence success or failure? What are the respective roles of merit, politics, and other considerations in the nomination and election process? The research was based on interviews, case studies and survey data in a range of different states. It concludes that although the nature and quality of nomination and election processes vary widely, a common theme indicates the powerful influence of domestic and international political considerations, and the significant role of a small group of diplomats, civil servants, lawyers, and academics, often without transparency or accountability. The processes allow overt political considerations to be introduced throughout the decision-making process in ways that may detract from the selection of the most highly qualified candidates and, ultimately, undermine independence. This is particularly evident in the election campaigning that has become a defining feature of the selection process, accompanied by widespread vote trading and reciprocal agreements between states. The effect of these practices is often to undermine the role of statutory selection criteria and to favor candidates from more politically powerful states. The book reviews new judicial selection models adopted or proposed in other international and regional courts, and considers a number of proposals for change to promote more independent, transparent, and merit-based nomination and election procedures.


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John Paul Stevens : An Independent Life by Bill Barnhart and Gene Schlickman
DeKalb, Ill. : Northern Illinois University Press, c2010
KF8745.S78 B37 2010  Balcony

During Justice Sonya Sotomayor's recent confirmation hearings, the idea of biography played a high-profile role in the debate. How much does a person's experience affect his or her judicial opinions? Should personal history be a key consideration when determining qualifications to sit on the highest court in the land? In this impeccably researched book, journalist Bill Barnhart and retired lawyer and former legislator Gene Schlickman paint a detailed portrait of Justice John Paul Stevens' remarkable life and tenure on the Court. Through vivid family history and a careful look at his work on the bench, Barnhart and Schlickman offer the first biography of the second longest serving Supreme Court justice of the modern era-one who has proudly earned the title of the Court's most prolific dissenter. To provide a nuanced and multifaceted look at the justice, Barnhart and Schlickman interviewed Stevens and an extraordinary number of Steven's friends and family members, former clerks, current colleagues, politicians, and court watchers. They spoke with such public figures as former President Ford, former Ford chief of staff Donald Rumsfeld, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Interviews with Stevens' children and one of his brothers provide personal insights into the man behind the robe. Tales of his childhood, of growing up in an affluent family in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, and of the family business, including The Stevens Hotel (now the Chicago Hilton and Towers), create a rich portrait of the independent man and judge. Intimate anecdotes from Stevens' former law clerks reveal the lighter side of some of the most serious work in the country. Barnhart and Schlickman also give careful consideration to Stevens' career. They trace his early years as a Chicago lawyer, his appointment to the federal appeals bench in Chicago, and his ultimate nomination to the Supreme Court by Republican President Ford. They examine his best-known opinions, including his emotional dissents in Texas v. Johnson and Bush v. Gore. They trace his growth as a molder of Court decisions. In an era of an increasingly politicized judiciary, the story of Stevens' life, as a lawyer who joined the bench with no political or ideological baggage, is an urgent reminder of the importance of judicial impartiality and the need to cultivate it. This vibrant biography will be of interest to those fascinated by the inner workings of the Supreme Court as well as those who simply want to learn more about one of Chicago's favorite sons.