masthead

Featured Acquisitions - March 2015

 

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The Eternal Criminal Record by James B. Jacobs
Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England: Harvard University Press, 2015
Balcony KF9751 .J33 2015

For over sixty million Americans, possessing a criminal record overshadows everything else about their public identity. A rap sheet, or even a court appearance or background report that reveals a run-in with the law, can have fateful consequences for a person’s interactions with just about everyone else. The Eternal Criminal Record makes transparent a pervasive system of police databases and identity screening that has become a routine feature of American life. The United States is unique in making criminal information easy to obtain by employers, landlords, neighbors, even cyberstalkers. Its nationally integrated rap-sheet system is second to none as an effective law enforcement tool, but it has also facilitated the transfer of ever more sensitive information into the public domain. While there are good reasons for a person’s criminal past to be public knowledge, records of arrests that fail to result in convictions are of questionable benefit. Simply by placing someone under arrest, a police officer has the power to tag a person with a legal history that effectively incriminates him or her for life. In James Jacobs’s view, law-abiding citizens have a right to know when individuals in their community or workplace represent a potential threat. But convicted persons have rights, too. Jacobs closely examines the problems created by erroneous record keeping, critiques the way the records of individuals who go years without a new conviction are expunged, and proposes strategies for eliminating discrimination based on criminal history, such as certifying the records of those who have demonstrated their rehabilitation.


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Climate Change Impacts on Ocean and Coastal Law: US and International Perspectives edited by Randall S. Abate
New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2015
Balcony K3585.5 .C554 2015

Ocean and coastal law has grown rapidly in the past three decades as a specialty area within natural resources law and environmental law. The protection of oceans has received increased attention in the past decade because of sea-level rise, ocean acidification, the global overfishing crisis, widespread depletion of marine biodiversity such as marine mammals and coral reefs, and marine pollution. Paralleling the growth of ocean and coastal law, climate change regulation has emerged as a focus of international environmental diplomacy, and has gained increased attention in the wake of disturbing and abrupt climate change related impacts throughout the world that have profound implications for ocean and coastal regulation and marine resources. Climate Change Impacts on Ocean and Coastal Law effectively unites these two worlds. It raises important questions about whether and how ocean and coastal law will respond to the regulatory challenges that climate change presents to resources in the oceans and coasts of the U.S. and the world. This comprehensive work assembles the insights of global experts from academia and major NGOs (e.g., Center for International Environmental Law, Ocean Conservancy, and Environmental Law Institute) to address regulatory challenges from the perspectives of U.S. law, foreign domestic law, and international law.


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Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist by Jack Abramoff
Washington, D.C.: WND Books, 2011
Basement JK1118 .A55 2011

The name Jack Abramoff is synonymous with Washington scandal, but the fascinating facts of his case are either largely unknown or wildly misunderstood. His memoir will serve as a corrective - an engrossing, informative work of political nonfiction that is also a gripping real-life thriller. The biggest surprise twist comes in the form of Abramoff himself, a smart, funny, charming, clear-eyed narrator who confounds every expectation of the media's villainous portrait. He's a perfect bundle of contradictions: an Orthodox Jew and upstanding family man with a staunch moral streak, caught in multiple scandals of bribery and corruption with an undercurrent of murder. Abramoff represented Indian tribes whose lucrative casinos were constantly under threat from proposed changes in law; though he charged the tribes many millions, he saved them billions by ensuring votes to support the livelihoods of their reservations. Much of Jack's share was funneled not into his own coffers, but to charities. Abramoff on the front pages could not be further from the Jack Abramoff who's ready to tell his honest and compelling story.


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The Force of Law by Frederick Schauer
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2015
Online and Balcony K579.D8 S33 2015

Many legal theorists maintain that laws are effective because we internalize them, obeying even when not compelled to do so. In a comprehensive reassessment of the role of force in law, Frederick Schauer disagrees, demonstrating that coercion, more than internalized thinking and behaving, distinguishes law from society’s other rules. Reinvigorating ideas from Jeremy Bentham and John Austin, and drawing on empirical research as well as philosophical analysis, Schauer presents an account of legal compliance based on sanction and compulsion, showing that law’s effectiveness depends fundamentally on its coercive potential. Law, in short, is about telling people what to do and threatening them with bad consequences if they fail to comply. Although people may sometimes obey the law out of deference to legal authority rather than fear of sanctions, Schauer challenges the assumption that legal coercion is marginal in society. Force is more pervasive than the state’s efforts to control a minority of disobedient citizens. When people believe that what they should do differs from what the law commands, compliance is less common than assumed, and the necessity of coercion becomes apparent. Challenging prevailing modes of jurisprudential inquiry, Schauer makes clear that the question of legal force has sociological, psychological, political, and economic dimensions that transcend purely conceptual concerns. Grappling with the legal system’s dependence on force helps us understand what law is, how it operates, and how it helps organize society.


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Lincoln’s Greatest Case: The River, the Bridge, and the Making of America by Brian McGinty
New York, NY: Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, 2015
Balcony KF223.H856 M34 2015

In the early hours of May 6, 1856, the steamboat Effie Afton barreled into a pillar of the Rock Island Bridge--the first railroad bridge ever to span the Mississippi River. Soon after, the newly constructed vessel, crowded with passengers and livestock, erupted into flames and sank in the river below, taking much of the bridge with it. As lawyer and Lincoln scholar Brian McGinty dramatically reveals in Lincoln's Greatest Case, no one was killed, but the question of who was at fault cried out for an answer. Backed by powerful steamboat interests in St. Louis, the owners of the Effie Afton quickly pressed suit, hoping that a victory would not only prevent the construction of any future bridges from crossing the Mississippi but also thwart the burgeoning spread of railroads from Chicago. The fate of the long-dreamed-of transcontinental railroad lurked ominously in the background, for if rails could not cross the Mississippi by bridge, how could they span the continent all the way to the Pacific? The official title of the case was Hurd et al. v. The Railroad Bridge Company, but it could have been St. Louis v. Chicago, for the transportation future of the whole nation was at stake. Indeed, was it to be dominated by steamboats or by railroads? Conducted at almost the same time as the notorious Dred Scott case, this new trial riveted the nation's attention.

Meanwhile, Abraham Lincoln, already well known as one of the best trial lawyers in Illinois, was summoned to Chicago to join a handful of crack legal practitioners in the defense of the bridge. While there, he successfully helped unite the disparate regions of the country with a truly transcontinental rail system and, in the process, added to the stellar reputation that vaulted him into the White House less than four years later. Re-creating the Effie Afton case from its unlikely inception to its controversial finale, McGinty brilliantly animates this legal cauldron of the late 1850s, which turned out to be the most consequential trial in Lincoln's nearly quarter century as a lawyer. Along the way, the tall prairie lawyer's consummate legal skills and instincts are also brought to vivid life, as is the history of steamboat traffic on the Mississippi, the progress of railroads west of the Appalachians, and the epochal clashes of railroads and steamboats at the river's edge. Lincoln's Greatest Case is legal history on a grand scale and an essential first act to a pivotal Lincoln drama we did not know was there.


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Intellectual Privacy: Rethinking Civil Liberties in the Digital Age by Neil Richards
New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2015
Balcony K3263 .R53 2015

Most people believe that the right to privacy is inherently at odds with the right to free speech. Courts all over the world have struggled with how to reconcile the problems of media gossip with our commitment to free and open public debate for over a century. The rise of the Internet has made this problem more urgent. We live in an age of corporate and government surveillance of our lives. And our free speech culture has created an anything-goes environment on the web, where offensive and hurtful speech about others is rife. How should we think about the problems of privacy and free speech? In Intellectual Privacy, Neil Richards offers a different solution, one that ensures that our ideas and values keep pace with our technologies. Because of the importance of free speech to free and open societies, he argues that when privacy and free speech truly conflict, free speech should almost always win. Only when disclosures of truly horrible information are made (such as sex tapes) should privacy be able to trump our commitment to free expression. But in sharp contrast to conventional wisdom, Richards argues that speech and privacy are only rarely in conflict.

America's obsession with celebrity culture has blinded us to more important aspects of how privacy and speech fit together. Celebrity gossip might be a price we pay for a free press, but the privacy of ordinary people need not be. True invasions of privacy like peeping toms or electronic surveillance will rarely merit protection as free speech. And critically, Richards shows how most of the law we enact to protect online privacy pose no serious burden to public debate, and how protecting the privacy of our data is not censorship. More fundamentally, Richards shows how privacy and free speech are often essential to each other. He explains the importance of "intellectual privacy", protection from surveillance or interference when we are engaged in the processes of generating ideas - thinking, reading, and speaking with confidantes before our ideas are ready for public consumption. In our digital age, in which we increasingly communicate, read, and think with the help of technologies that track us, increased protection for intellectual privacy has become an imperative. What we must do, then, is to worry less about barring tabloid gossip, and worry much more about corporate and government surveillance into the minds, conversations, reading habits, and political beliefs of ordinary people. A timely and provocative book on a subject that affects us all, Intellectual Privacy will radically reshape the debate about privacy and free speech in our digital age.


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Color-Blind Justice: Albion Tourgee and the Quest for Racial Equality from the Civil War to Plessy v. Ferguson by Mark Elliott
Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2006
Online and Basement E185.61 .E44 2006

Civil War officer, Reconstruction "carpetbagger," best-selling novelist, and relentless champion of equal rights, Albion Tourgee battled his entire life for racial justice. Now, in this engaging biography, Mark Elliott offers an insightful portrait of a fearless lawyer, jurist, and writer, who fought for equality long after most Americans had abandoned the ideals of Reconstruction. Elliott provides a fascinating account of Tourgee's life, from his childhood in the Western Reserve region of Ohio (then a hotbed of abolitionism), to his years as a North Carolina judge during Reconstruction, to his memorable role as lead plaintiff's counsel in the landmark Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson. Tourgee's brief coined the phrase that justice should be "color-blind," and his career was one long campaign to made good on that belief. A redoubtable lawyer and an accomplished jurist, Tourgee wrote fifteen political novels, eight books of historical and social criticism, and several hundred newspaper and magazine articles that all told represent a mountain of dissent against the prevailing tide of racial oppression. Through the lens of Tourgee's life, Elliott illuminates the war of ideas about race that raged through the United States in the nineteenth century, from the heated debate over slavery before the Civil War, through the conflict over aid to freedmen during Reconstruction, to the backlash toward the end of the century, when Tourgee saw his country retreat from the goals of equality and freedom and utterly repudiate the work of Reconstruction. A poignant and inspiring study in courage and conviction, Color Blind Justice offers us an unforgettable portrayal of Albion Tourgee and the principles to which he dedicated his life.


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America’s Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System by Steven Brill
New York: Random House, 2015
Basement RA395.A3 B755 2015

America's Bitter Pill is Steven Brill's much-anticipated, sweeping narrative of how the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was written, how it is being implemented, and, most important, how it is changing--and failing to change--the rampant abuses in the healthcare industry. Brill probed the depths of our nation's healthcare crisis in his trailblazing Time magazine Special Report, which won the 2014 National Magazine Award for Public Interest. Now he broadens his lens and delves deeper, pulling no punches and taking no prisoners. It's a fly-on-the-wall account of the fight, amid an onslaught of lobbying, to pass a 961-page law aimed at fixing America's largest, most dysfunctional industry--an industry larger than the entire economy of France. It's a penetrating chronicle of how the profiteering that Brill first identified in his Time cover story continues, despite Obamacare. And it is the first complete, inside account of how President Obama persevered to push through the law, but then failed to deal with the staff incompetence and turf wars that crippled its implementation. Brill questions all the participants in the drama, including the president, to find out what happened and why. He asks the head of the agency in charge of the Obamacare website how and why it crashed. And he tells the cliffhanger story of the tech wizards who swooped in to rebuild it. Brill gets drug lobbyists to open up on the deals they struck to protect their profits in return for supporting the law. And he buttresses all these accounts with meticulous research and access to internal memos, emails, notes, and journals written by the key players during all the pivotal moments. Brill is there with patients when they are denied cancer care at a hospital, or charged $77 for a box of gauze pads. Then he asks the multimillion-dollar executives who run the hospitals to explain why. He even confronts the chief executive of America's largest health insurance company and asks him to explain an incomprehensible Explanation of Benefits his company sent to Brill. And he's there as a group of young entrepreneurs gamble millions to use Obamacare to start a hip insurance company in New York's Silicon Alley.

Vividly capturing what he calls the "milestone" achievement of Obamacare, Brill introduces us to patients whose bank accounts or lives have been saved by the new law--although, as he explains, that is only because Obamacare provides government subsidies for "tens of millions of new customers" to pay the same exorbitant prices that were the problem in the first place. All that is weaved together in an elegantly crafted, fast-paced narrative. But by chance America's Bitter Pill ends up being much more--because as Brill was completing this book, he had to undergo urgent open-heart surgery. Thus, this also becomes the story of how one patient who thinks he knows everything about healthcare "policy" rethinks it from a hospital gurney--and combines that insight with his brilliant reporting. The result: a surprising new vision of how we can fix American healthcare so that it stops draining the bank accounts of our families and our businesses, and the federal treasury.


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Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader by Herminia Ibarra
Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business Review Press, 2015
Main Floor HD57.7 .I35 2015

You aspire to lead with greater impact. The problem is you're busy executing on today's demands. You know you have to carve out time from your day job to build your leadership skills, but it's easy to let immediate problems and old mind-sets get in the way. Herminia Ibarra-an expert on professional leadership and development and a renowned professor at INSEAD, a leading international business school-shows how managers and executives at all levels can step up to leadership by making small but crucial changes in their jobs, their networks, and themselves. In Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader, she offers advice to help you:

  • Redefine your job in order to make more strategic contributions
  • Diversify your network so that you connect to, and learn from, a bigger range of stakeholders
  • Become more playful with your self-concept, allowing your familiar-and possibly outdated-leadership style to evolve

Ibarra turns the usual "think first and then act" philosophy on its head by arguing that doing these three things will help you learn through action and will increase what she calls your outsight -the valuable external perspective you gain from direct experiences and experimentation. As opposed to insight, outsight will then help change the way you think as a leader: about what kind of work is important; how you should invest your time; why and which relationships matter in informing and supporting your leadership; and, ultimately, who you want to become. Packed with self-assessments and practical advice to help define your most pressing leadership challenges, this book will help you devise a plan of action to become a better leader and move your career to the next level. It's time to learn by doing.


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Preventive Justice by Andrew Ashworth and Lucia Zedner
Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2014
Basement KD7883 .A937 2014

This book arises from a three-year study of Preventive Justice directed by Professor Andrew Ashworth and Professor Lucia Zedner at the University of Oxford. The study seeks to develop an account of the principles and values that should guide and limit the state's use of preventive techniques that involve coercion against the individual. States today are increasingly using criminal law or criminal law-like tools to try to prevent or reduce the risk of anticipated future harm. Such measures include criminalizing conduct at an early stage in order to allow authorities to intervene; incapacitating suspected future wrongdoers; and imposing extended sentences or indefinite on past wrongdoers on the basis of their predicted future conduct - all in the name of public protection and security. The chief justification for the state's use of coercion is protecting the public from harm. Although the rationales and justifications of state punishment have been explored extensively, the scope, limits and principles of preventive justice have attracted little doctrinal or conceptual analysis. This book re-assesses the foundations for the range of coercive measures that states now take in the name of prevention and public protection, focusing particularly on coercive measures involving deprivation of liberty. It examines whether these measures are justified, whether they distort the proper boundaries between criminal and civil law, or whether they signal a larger change in the architecture of security. In so doing, it sets out to establish a framework for what we call 'Preventive Justice'.