Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Age of Deference

David Rudenstine (Cardozo School of Law), The Age of Deference: The Supreme Court, National Security, and the Constitutional Order (Oxford Univ. Press 2016).

"David Rudenstine's The Age of Deference traces the Court's role in the rise of judicial deference to executive power since the end of World War II. He shows how in case after case, going back to the Truman and Eisenhower presidencies, the Court has ceded authority in national security matters to the executive branch. Since 9/11, the executive faces even less oversight. According to Rudenstine, this has had a negative impact both on individual rights and on our ability to check executive authority when necessary." 

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Anatomy of Malice: The Enigma of the Nazi War Criminals

Joel E. Dimsdale (U.C. San Diego), Anatomy of Malice: The Enigma of the Nazi War Criminals (Yale Univ. Press 2016).

"...Before the war crimes trial began, it was self-evident to most people that the Nazi leaders were demonic maniacs. But when the interviews and psychological tests were completed, the answer was no longer so clear. The findings were so disconcerting that portions of the data were hidden away for decades and the research became a topic for vituperative disputes. Gilbert thought that the war criminals’ malice stemmed from depraved psychopathology. Kelley viewed them as morally flawed, ordinary men who were creatures of their environment. Who was right?

Drawing on his decades of experience as a psychiatrist and the dramatic advances within psychiatry, psychology, and neuroscience since Nuremberg, Joel E. Dimsdale looks anew at the findings and examines in detail four of the war criminals, Robert Ley, Hermann Göring, Julius Streicher, and Rudolf Hess. Using increasingly precise diagnostic tools, he discovers a remarkably broad spectrum of pathology. Anatomy of Malice takes us on a complex and troubling quest to make sense of the most extreme evil."

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Infocrime: Protecting Information through Criminal Law

Eli Lederman, Infocrime: Protecting Information through Criminal Law (Edward Elgar 2016).

"It has often been said that information is power. This is more true in the information age than ever. The book profiles the tools used by criminal law to protect confidential information. It deals with the essence of information, the varieties of confidential information, and the basic models for its protection within the context of the Internet and social networks.

Eli Lederman examines the key prohibitions against collecting protected information, and against using, disclosing, and disseminating it without authorization. The investigation cuts across a broad subject matter to discuss and analyze key topics such as trespassing and peeping, the human body as a source of information, computer trespassing, tracking and collecting personal information in the public space, surveillance, privileged communications, espionage and state secrets, trade secrets, personal information held by others, and profiling and sexting."
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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Founding Acts: Constitutional Origins in a Democratic Age

Serdar Tekin (Ege University), Founding Acts: Constitutional Origins in a Democratic Age (Univ. of Pennsylvania 2016).

"Founding Acts explores the relationship between constitutional claims of popular sovereignty and the practice of constitution-making in our pluralistic age. Serdar Tekin argues that the process of making a constitution, or its pedigree, is as morally and politically significant as its content. Consequently, democratic constitution-making is not only about making a democratic constitution but also about making it, as much as possible, democratically.

Tekin develops two overarching arguments in support of this claim. First, citizen participation in the process of constitution-making is essential to the democratic legitimacy of a new constitution. Second, collective action, that is, the political experience of constructing public life together, is what binds diverse people into a democratic peoplehood. Bringing into dialogue a wide range of canonical and contemporary thinkers, Tekin examines historical realities extending from revolutionary America and France to contemporary South Africa and Germany." 

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Friday, December 16, 2016

The American Supreme Court

Robert G. McCloskey (Harvard), revised by Sanford Levinson (University of Texas), The American Supreme Court (6th ed. 2016).

"As in prior editions, McCloskey’s original text remains unchanged. In his historical interpretation, he argues that the strength of the Court has always been its sensitivity to the changing political scene, as well as its reluctance to stray too far from the main currents of public sentiment. In this new edition, Sanford Levinson extends McCloskey’s magisterial treatment to address developments since the 2010 election, including the Supreme Court’s decisions regarding the Defense of Marriage Act, the Affordable Care Act, and gay marriage."

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