Monday, December 29, 2014

Tocqueville's Nightmare: The Administrative State Emerges in America, 1900-1940

Daniel R. Ernst (Georgetown Law). Tocqueville's Nightmare (Oxford University Press, 2014).

"In the 1830s, the French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that 'insufferable despotism' would prevail if America ever acquired a national administrative state. Today's Tea Partiers evidently believe that, after a great wrong turn in the early twentieth century, Tocqueville's nightmare has come true. In those years, it seems, a group of radicals, seduced by alien ideologies, created vast bureaucracies that continue to trample on individual freedom. Tocqueville's Nightmare, shows, to the contrary, that the nation's best corporate lawyers were among the creators of 'commission government,' that supporters were more interested in purging government of corruption than creating a socialist utopia, and that the principles of individual rights, limited government, and due process were designed into the administrative state. "
Publisher's website

Monday, December 22, 2014

Fighting Westway: Environmental Law, Citizen Activism, and the Regulatory War that Transformed New York City

William W. Buzbee (Georgetown Law). Fighting Westway (Cornell University Press, 2014).

"From 1971 to 1985, battles raged over Westway, a multibillion-dollar highway, development, and park project slated for placement in New York City. It would have projected far into the Hudson River, including massive new landfill extending several miles along Manhattan’s Lower West Side. . . . Buzbee reveals how environmentalists, citizens, their lawyers, and a growing opposition coalition, despite enormous resource disparities, were able to defeat this project supported by presidents, senators, governors, and mayors, much of the business community, and most unions. . . . Buzbee goes beyond the veneer of government actions and court rulings to illuminate the stakes, political pressures, and strategic moves and countermoves that shaped the Westway war, a fight involving all levels and branches of government, scientific conflict, strategic citizen action, and hearings, trials, and appeals in federal court."
Publisher's website

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Comparative Matters: The Renaissance of Comparative Constitutional Law

Ran Hirschl (University of Toronto). Comparative Matters (Oxford University Press, 2014).

"Through an extensive exploration of comparative constitutional endeavours past and present, near and far, Hirschl shows how attitudes towards engagement with the constitutive laws of others reflect tensions between particularism and universalism as well as competing visions of who 'we' are as a political community. Drawing on insights from social theory, religion, history, political science, and public law, Hirschl argues for an interdisciplinary approach to comparative constitutionalism that is methodologically and substantively preferable to merely doctrinal accounts. The future of comparative constitutional studies, he contends, lies in relaxing the sharp divide between constitutional law and the social sciences."
Publisher's website

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Comic Art, Creativity and the Law

Marc H. Greenberg (Golden Gate University). Comic Art, Creativity and the Law (Edward Elgar, 2014).

"The creation of works of comic art, including graphic novels, comic books, cartoons and comic strips, and political cartoons, is affected, and at times limited, by a diverse array of laws, ranging from copyright law to free speech laws. This book examines how this intersection affects the creative process, and proposes approaches that encourage, rather than limit, that process in the comic art genre. Attention to the role comic art occupies in popular culture, and how the law responds to that role, is also analyzed."
Publisher's website

Thursday, December 11, 2014

An Introduction to Empirical Research

Lee Epstein (Washington University) & Andrew D. Martin (University of Michigan). An Introduction to Empirical Research (Oxford University Press, 2014).

"As the role of empirical methods in traditional legal scholarship and practice grows, new forms of education are needed for today's lawyers. All lawyers asked to present or assess empirical arguments need to understand the fundamental principles of social science methodology that underpin sound empirical research. An Introduction to Empirical Research presents that methodology in a legal context, explaining how empirical analysis can inform legal arguments; how lawyers can set about framing empirical questions, conducting empirical research, analyzing data, and presenting or evaluating the results. The fundamentals of understanding data, statistical models, and the structure of empirical arguments are explained in a way accessible to lawyers with or without formal training in statistics."
From book jacket

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Right to Flee: Refugees, States, and the Construction of International Cooperation

Phil Orchard (University of Queensland). A Right to Flee: Refugees, States, and the Construction of International Cooperation (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

"Since the seventeenth century, a mix of collective interests and basic normative understandings held by states created a space for refugees to be separate from other migrants. However, ongoing crisis events undermine these understandings and provide opportunities to reshape how refugees are understood, how they should be protected, and whether protection is a state or multilateral responsibility. Drawing on extensive archival and secondary materials, Phil Orchard examines the interplay among governments, individuals, and international organizations that has shaped how refugees are understood today."
Publisher's website

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Justice through Apologies: Remorse, Reform, and Punishment

Nick Smith (University of New Hampshire). Justice through Apologies (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

"After rejecting court-ordered apologies as unjustifiable humiliation, this book explains that penitentiaries were originally designed to bring about penance – something like apology – and that this tradition has been lost in the assembly line of mass incarceration. Smith argues that the state should modernize these principles and techniques to reduce punishments for offenders who demonstrate moral transformation through apologizing. Smith also explains the counterintuitive situation whereby apologies come to have considerable financial worth in civil cases because victims associate them with priceless matters of the soul. Such confusions allow powerful wrongdoers to manipulate perceptions to disastrous effect, such as when corporations or governments assert that apologies do not equate to accepting blame or require reform or redress."
Publisher's website

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The International Law of Human Trafficking

Anne T. Gallagher, The International Law of Human Trafficking (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

"Although human trafficking has a long and ignoble history, it is only recently that trafficking has become a major political issue for states and the international community and the subject of detailed international rules. This book presents the first-ever comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the international law of human trafficking. Anne T. Gallagher calls on her direct experience working within the United Nations to chart the development of new international laws on this issue. She links these rules to the international law of state responsibility as well as key norms of international human rights law, transnational criminal law, refugee law, and international criminal law, in the process identifying and explaining the major legal obligations of states with respect to preventing trafficking, protecting and supporting victims, and prosecuting perpetrators."

Publisher's website

Monday, November 17, 2014

Law and Development of Middle-Income Countries: Avoiding the Middle-Income Trap

Randall Peerenboom (La Trobe University) & Tom Ginsburg (University of Chicago) (eds.). Law and Development of Middle-Income Countries: Avoiding the Middle-Income Trap (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

"In 1960, there were 101 middle-income countries. By 2008, only thirteen of these had become high-income countries. Why do so many middle-income countries fail to develop after a promising start, becoming mired in the so-called middle-income trap? This interdisciplinary volume addresses the special challenges that middle-income countries confront from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. It is the first volume that addresses law and development issues in middle-income countries from the perspective of political, administrative, and legal institutions and policies." 
Publisher's website

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Perfecting Pregnancy: Law, Disability, and the Future of Reproduction

Isabel Karpin & Kristin Savell (University of Sydney), Perfecting Pregnancy: Law, Disability, and the Future of Reproduction (University of Cambridge Press, 2014).

"Prenatal and preimplantation testing technologies have offered unprecedented access to information about the genetic and congenital makeup of our prospective progeny. Future developments such as preconception testing, noninvasive prenatal testing, and more extensive preimplantation testing promise to increase that access further still. . . . The overwhelming question for legislators has been whether and, if so, how to regulate the use of these technologies in the face of compelling but seemingly contradictory claims about the advancement of reproductive choice and the dangers of eugenic or discriminatory effects."
                                                               —Publisher's website

Monday, November 10, 2014

Seeking Human Rights Justice in Latin America: Truth, Extra-Territorial Courts, and the Process of Justice

Jeffrey Davis (University of Maryland), Seeking Human Rights Justice in Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

"This book studies how victims of human rights violations in Latin America, their families, and their advocates work to overcome entrenched impunity and seek legal justice. Their struggles show that legal justice is a multifaceted process, the overarching purpose of which is to restore human dignity and prevent further violence. Uncovering, revealing, and proving the truth are essential elements of legal justice, and are also powerful tools to activate the process. When faced with stubborn impunity at home, victims, families, and advocates can carry on their work for legal justice by bringing cases in courts in other countries or in the Inter-American human rights system. These extra-territorial courts can jumpstart the process of legal justice at home."

Publisher's website

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What Stays in Vegas: The World of Personal Data—Lifeblood of Big Business—and the End of Privacy as We Know It

Adam Tanner (Harvard University). What Stays in Vegas: The World of Personal Data—Lifeblood of Big Business—and the End of Privacy as We Know It (PublicAffairs, 2014).

"Caesars’ dogged data-gathering methods have been so successful that they have grown to become the world’s largest casino operator, and have inspired companies of all kinds to ramp up their own data mining in the hopes of boosting their targeted marketing efforts. Some do this themselves. Some rely on data brokers. Others clearly enter a moral gray zone that should make American consumers deeply uncomfortable. . . . We live in an age when our personal information is harvested and aggregated whether we like it or not. And it is growing ever more difficult for those businesses that choose not to engage in more intrusive data gathering to compete with those that do."
—Publisher's Website

Monday, November 3, 2014

Outlawry, Governance, and Law in Medieval England

Melissa Sartore (West Virginia University Institute of Technology). Outlawry, Governance, and Law in Medieval England (Peter Lang, 2013).

"Outlawry, Governance, and Law in Medieval England evaluates the role of exclusionary practices, namely outlawry, in law and governance in England from the tenth through the thirteenth centuries. Traditional historical narratives dismiss exile, outlawry, and banishment as ineffective and weak methods of maintaining social order. More specifically, the present volume reassesses these forms of exclusion in matters of politics, law, and society, as well as their influence on increased use of imprisonment in later medieval England. Outlawry, Governance, and Law in Medieval England is essential reading for scholars working in this field but is also highly recommended as a text for courses that assess medieval law and the practice of outlawry as well as the development of English Common Law."
From publisher's website

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Making Human Rights a Reality

Emilie M. Hafner-Burton (University of California, San Diego), Making Human Rights a Reality (Princeton University Press, 2013).

"Emilie Hafner-Burton argues that more progress is possible if human rights promoters work strategically with the group of states that have dedicated resources to human rights protection. These human rights 'stewards' can focus their resources on places where the tangible benefits to human rights are greatest. Success will require setting priorities as well as engaging local stakeholders such as nongovernmental organizations and national human rights institutions. . . . To date, promoters of international human rights law have relied too heavily on setting universal goals and procedures and not enough on assessing what actually works and setting priorities . . . with a different strategy, human rights stewards can make international law more effective and also safeguard human rights for more of the world population."
From publisher's website

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Judging the Boy Scouts of America: Gay Rights, Freedom of Association, and the Dale Case

Richard J. Ellis (Willamette University). Judging the Boy Scouts of America (University Press of Kansas, 2014).

"As Americans, we cherish the freedom to associate. However, with the freedom to associate comes the right to exclude those who do not share our values and goals. What happens when the freedom of association collides with the equally cherished principle that every individual should be free from invidious discrimination? This is precisely the question posed in Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale, a lawsuit that made its way through the courts over the course of a decade, culminating in 2000 with a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Judging the Boy Scouts of America, Richard J. Ellis tells the fascinating story of the Dale case, placing it in the context of legal principles and precedents, Scouts’ policies, gay rights, and the 'culture wars' in American politics."
—Publisher's Website

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs

Joshua Wolf Shenk. Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014).

"Society has long romanticised the creative power of the loner, be it the scientist who works all night in a laboratory or the cloistered writer wrapped up in the world of his own imagination. 'For centuries the myth of the lone genius has towered over us like a colossus,' writes Joshua Wolf Shenk at the start of his new book, Powers of Two. Unimpressed, he tries to debunk the idea that 'world-changing things' come from single minds, and makes the controversial claim that it is the 'creative pair', rather than the individual, that has produced the most imaginative work in history."
The Economist

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Family Law Reimagined

Jill Elaine Hasday (University of Minnesota). Family Law Reimagined (Harvard University Press, 2014).  

"Family Law Reimagined is the first book to evaluate the canonical narratives, examples, and ideas that legal decisionmakers repeatedly invoke to explain family law and its governing principles. These stories contend that family law is exclusively local, that it repudiates market principles, that it has eradicated the imprint of common law doctrines which subordinated married women, that it is dominated by contract rules permitting individuals to structure their relationships as they choose, and that it consistently prioritizes children's interests over parents' rights.  [This book] reveals how family law's canon misdescribes the reality of family law, misdirects attention away from the actual problems that family law confronts, and misshapes the policies that legal authorities pursue." 
Publisher's Website

Monday, October 6, 2014

Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation

Estelle B. Freedman (Standford University). Redefining Rape (Harvard University Press, 2013).

"Rape has never had a universally accepted definition, and the uproar over 'legitimate rape' during the 2012 U.S. elections confirms that it remains a word in flux. . . . In this ambitious new history, Estelle Freedman demonstrates that our definition of rape has depended heavily on dynamics of political power and social privilege. . . . Between the 1870s and the 1930s, at the height of racial segregation and lynching, and amid the campaign for woman suffrage, women’s rights supporters and African American activists tried to expand understandings of rape in order to gain legal protection from coercive sexual relations, assaults by white men on black women, street harassment, and the sexual abuse of children. By redefining rape, they sought to redraw the very boundaries of citizenship."
Publisher's Website

Friday, October 3, 2014

Getting Incentives Right: Improving Torts, Contracts, and Restitution

Robert D. Cooter (U.C. Berkeley) & Ariel Porat (Tel Aviv University). Getting Incentives Right (Princeton University Press, 2014).

"Lawyers, judges, and scholars have long debated whether incentives in tort, contract, and restitution law effectively promote the welfare of society. If these incentives were ideal, tort law would reduce the cost and frequency of accidents, contract law would lubricate transactions, and restitution law would encourage people to benefit others. Unfortunately, the incentives in these laws lead to too many injuries, too little contractual cooperation, and too few unrequested benefits. Getting Incentives Right explains how law might better serve the social good."

Publisher's Website

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Failure to Flourish: How Law Undermines Family Relationships

Clare Huntington (Fordham University). Failure to Flourish (Oxford University Press, 2014).

"Exploring the connection between families and inequality, Failure to Flourish argues that the legal regulation of families stands fundamentally at odds with the needs of families. Strong, stable, positive relationships are essential for both individuals and society to flourish, but from transportation policy to the criminal justice system, and from divorce rules to the child welfare system, the legal system makes it harder for parents to provide children with these kinds of relationships, exacerbating the growing inequality in America.  [The book] contends that we must re-orient the legal system to help families avoid crises and, when conflicts arise, intervene in a manner that heals relationships. To understand how wrong our family law system has gone and what we need to repair it, Failure to Flourish takes us from ancient Greece to cutting-edge psychological research, and from the chaotic corridors of local family courts to a quiet revolution under way in how services are provided to families in need."
Publisher's Website

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Ethics of Immigration

Joseph H. Carens (University of Toronto). The Ethics of Immigration (Oxford University Press, 2014)

"Carens begins by focusing on current immigration controversies in North America and Europe about access to citizenship, the integration of immigrants, temporary workers, irregular migrants and the admission of family members and refugees. Working within the moral framework provided by liberal democratic values, he argues that some of the practices of democratic states in these areas are morally defensible, while others need to be reformed. In the last part of the book he moves beyond the currently feasible to ask questions about immigration from a more fundamental perspective. He argues that democratic values of freedom and equality ultimately entail a commitment to open borders. Only in a world of open borders, he contends, will we live up to our most basic principles."
Publisher's Website

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Regulating Land-Based Casinos: Policies, Procedures, and Economics

Anthony Cabot & Ngai Pindell (eds.). Regulating Land-Based Casinos (UNLV Gaming Press, 2014).

"Once restricted to exotic locations like Las Vegas, Macau, and Monte Carlo, casinos are now operating in many cities nationally and internationally, from the Maryland waterfront to Ho Chi Minh City. This expansion of the gaming industry, both geographically and economically, raises new and important policy questions about the role of government in gaming regulation, the obligations and opportunities for casinos, and public support for gambling and gaming tax revenue."
Publisher's Website

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Voices at Work: Continuity and Change in the Common Law World

Alan Bogg (University of Oxford) & Tonia Novitz (University of Bristol). Voices at Work (Oxford University Press, 2014).

"The book aims to shed light on the problematic concept of worker 'voice' by tracking its evolution and its complex interactions with various forms of law. Contributors to the volume identify the scope for continuity of legal approaches to voice and the potential for change in a sample of industrialised English speaking common law countries . . . . These countries, facing broadly similar regulatory dilemmas, have often sought to borrow and adapt certain legal mechanisms from one another. The variance in the outcomes of any attempts at 'borrowing' seems to demonstrate that, despite apparent membership of a 'common law' family, there are significant differences between industrial systems and constitutional traditions, thereby casting doubt on the notion that there are definitive legal solutions which can be applied through transplantation."
Publisher's Website

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A-Z of Mediation

Marian Roberts (University of London). A-Z of Mediation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

". . . A-Z of Mediation succinctly captures the concepts, applications, debates and critiques that are shaping this rapidly expanding field. Expertly organised into just over 80 entries, the book combines theory, research and practitioner experience to provide a wealth of insight and analysis.

The book's unique A-Z format makes it an ideal point of reference. Numerous cross-references are in place to guide you through the material and highlight the field's connecting strands. The key classic and contemporary readings are also systematically signposted, topic by topic, drawn from an extensive multidisciplinary literature."

Publisher's Website

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life

William Deresiewicz. Excellent Sheep (Free Press, 2014).

“Books like this one, volumes that probe the sick soul of American higher education, come and go, more than a few of them hitting the long tail of the best-seller lists. . . . 'Excellent Sheep' is likely to make more of a lasting mark than many of these books, for three reasons. One, Mr. Deresiewicz spent 24 years in the Ivy League, graduating from Columbia and teaching for a decade at Yale. (Yale denied him tenure, leading some to shrug this book off as sour grapes.) He brings the gory details. Two, the author is a striker, to put it in soccer terms. He’s a vivid writer, a literary critic whose headers tend to land in the back corner of the net. Three, his indictment arrives on wheels: He takes aim at just about the entirety of upper-middle-class life in America."
—Dwight Garner, New York Times

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Disability Incarcerated: Imprisonment and Disability in the United States and Canada

Allison C. Carey & Liat Ben-Moshe (eds.). Disability Incarcerated (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

"Disability Incarcerated gathers thirteen contributions from an impressive array of fields. Taken together, these essays assert that a complex understanding of disability is crucial to an understanding of incarceration, and that we must expand what has come to be called 'incarceration.' The chapters in this book examine a host of sites, such as prisons, institutions for people with developmental disabilities, psychiatric hospitals, treatment centers, special education, detention centers, and group homes; explore why various sites should be understood as incarceration; and discuss the causes and effects of these sites historically and currently."
Publisher's website

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Managing Cyber Attacks in International Law, Business, and Relations: In Search of Cyber Peace

Scott J. Shackelford (Indiana University). Managing Cyber Attacks in International Law, Business, and Relations (Cambridge University Press, 2014). 
"This book presents a novel framework to reconceptualize Internet governance and better manage cyber attacks. Specifically, it makes an original contribution by examining the potential of polycentric regulation to increase accountability through bottom-up action. It also provides a synthesis of the current state of cybersecurity research, bringing features of the cloak and dagger world of cyber attacks to light and comparing and contrasting the cyber threat to all relevant stakeholders. Throughout the book, cybersecurity is treated holistically, covering outstanding issues in law, science, economics, and politics."
Publisher's website

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Constitutional Parent: Rights, Responsibilities, and the Enfranchisement of the Child

Jeffrey Shulman (Georgetown). The Constitutional Parent (Yale University Press, 2014).

"In this bold and timely work, law professor Jeffrey Shulman argues that the United States Constitution does not protect a fundamental right to parent. Based on a rigorous reconsideration of the historical record, Shulman challenges the notion, held by academics and the general public alike, that parental rights have a long-standing legal pedigree. What is deeply rooted in our legal tradition and social conscience, Shulman demonstrates, is the idea that the state entrusts parents with custody of the child, and it does so only as long as parents meet their fiduciary duty to serve the developmental needs of the child."

Publisher's Website

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Expanding Spaces of Law: A Timely Legal Geography

Irus Braverman et al (eds.). The Expanding Spaces of Law (Stanford University Press, 2014).

The Expanding Spaces of Law
presents readers with cutting-edge scholarship in legal geography. An invaluable resource for those new to this line of scholarship, the book also pushes the boundaries of legal geography, reinvigorating previous modes of inquiry and investigating new directions. It guides scholars interested in the law-space-power nexus to underexplored empirical sites and to novel theoretical and disciplinary resources. Finally, The Expanding Spaces of Law asks readers to think about the temporality and dynamism of legal spaces.
Publisher's Website

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Question of Sex: Feminism, Rhetoric, and Differences that Matter

Kristan Poirot (Texas A&M University). A Question of Sex: Feminism, Rhetoric, and Differences that Matter (University of Massachusetts Press, 2014).

"By the mid-1990s feminist theorists and critics began to challenge conventional thinking about sex difference and its relationship to gender and sexuality. Scholars such as Anne Fausto-Sterling and Judith Butler troubled the sex-gender/nature-nurture divide. Some have asserted that these questions about sex are much too abstract to contribute to a valuable understanding of the material politics faced by feminist movements. In A Question of Sex, Kristan Poirot challenges this assumption and demonstrates that contemporary theories about sex, gender, identity, and difference compel a rethinking of the history of feminist movements and their rhetorical practices."
—Publisher's Website

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Intellectual Privilege: Copyright, Common Law, and the Common Good

Tom Bell (Chapman University). Intellectual Privilege (Mercatus Center at George Mason University, 2014).

"Two opposing viewpoints have driven the debate over copyright policy. One side questions copyright for the same reasons it questions all restraints on freedoms of expression, and dismisses copyright, like other forms of property, as a mere plaything of political forces. The opposing side regards copyrights as property rights that deserve—like rights in houses, cars, and other forms of property—the fullest protection of the law.

Each of these viewpoints defends important truths. Both fail, however, to capture the essence of copyright. Intellectual Privilege reveals copyright as a statutory privilege that threatens our natural and constitutional rights. From this fresh perspective comes fresh solutions to copyright's problems."
Publisher's Website

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Mother Court: Tales of Cases that Mattered in America's Greatest Trial Court

James D. Zirin. The Mother Court (American Bar Association, 2014).  

"The Mother Court is the first book to chronicle the mid-twentieth century history of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, the most influential trial court in the United States, written from the perspective of a litigator who has tried many cases before some of its most iconic judges . . . This is a must read for all lawyers old and new, anyone involved in the criminal justice system, legal history buffs, and even those with merely a passing interest in the law looking for an insightful, entertaining, and illuminating read about the greatest trial court in the country."
—From book jacket

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Courts, Codes, and Custom: Legal Tradition and State Policy toward International Human Rights and Environment Law

Dana Zartner (University of San Francisco). Courts, Codes, and Custom (Oxford University Press, 2014).  

"Courts, Codes, and Custom argues that the degree to which states accept and comply with international legal norms is rooted in a country's domestic legal tradition. Offering a novel cultural-institutional theory to explain this variation, Dana Zartner looks specifically at state policy towards international human rights and environmental law. A state's legal tradition-the cultural and institutional factors that shape attitudes about the law, appropriate standards of behavior, and the legal process-is the key mechanism by which international law becomes recognized, accepted, and internalized in the domestic legal framework. Legal tradition shapes not only perceptions about law, but also provides the lens through which policy-makers view state interests, providing both direct and indirect influence on state policy."
Publisher's website

Monday, July 28, 2014

Scalia: A Court of One

Bruce Allen Murphy (Lafayette College). Scalia: A Court of One (Simon and Schuster, 2014).

"Mr. Murphy’s book does not read, despite its blunt criticisms, like a book-length put-down. It’s a sensitive and scholarly reading of Justice Scalia’s intellectual life. . . . This book is more about the mind than about the man. It’s most impressive for the manner in which the author takes us slowly through case after case and ruling after ruling, sometimes stretching our patience but illuminating every twitch of Justice Scalia’s synapses along the way. This volume, which quotes the justice at length, functions as an M.R.I. scan of one of the most influential conservative thinkers of the 20th century."
―Dwight Garner, New York Times

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bentham's Theory of Law and Public Opinion

Xiaobo Zhai & Michael Quinn (eds.). Bentham's Theory of Law and Public Opinion (Cambridge University Press, 2014).  

"This collection represents the latest research from leading scholars whose work has helped to frame our understanding of Bentham since the publication of H. L. A. Hart's Essays on Bentham. The authors explore fundamental areas of Bentham's thought, including the relationship between the rule of law and public opinion; law and popular prejudices or manipulated tastes; Bentham's methodology versus Hart's; sovereignty and codification; and the language of natural rights. Drawing on original manuscripts and volumes in The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham, the chapters combine philosophical and historical approaches and offer new and more faithful interpretations of Bentham's legal philosophy and its development."
Publisher's Website

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Long Decade: How 9/11 Changed the Law

David Jenkins et al. (eds.) (Copenhagen School of Law). The Long Decade: How 9/11 Changed the Law (Oxford University Press, 2014).

"The terrorist attacks of 9/11 precipitated significant legal changes over the ensuing ten years, a 'long decade' that saw both domestic and international legal systems evolve in reaction to the seemingly permanent threat of international terrorism. At the same time, globalization produced worldwide insecurity that weakened the nation-state's ability to monopolize violence and assure safety for its people. . . .  This book examines how the uncertainties of the 'long decade' made fear a political and legal force, challenged national constitutional orders, altered fundamental assumptions about the rule of law, and ultimately raised questions about how democracy and human rights can cope with competing security pressures, while considering the complex process of crafting anti-terrorism measures."
Publisher's Website

Monday, July 14, 2014

Do Great Cases Make Bad Law?

Lackland H. Bloom, Jr. (Southern Methodist University). Do Great Cases Make Bad Law? (Oxford University Press, 2014).

"In Do Great Cases Make Bad Law?, Lackland H. Bloom, Jr. tests Justice Holmes' dictum by analyzing in detail the history of the Supreme Court's great cases, from Marbury v. Madison in 1803, to National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act case, in 2012. He treats each case with its own chapter, and explains why the Court found a case compelling, how the background and historical context affected the decision and its place in constitutional law and history, how academic scholarship has treated the case, and how the case integrates with and reflects off of Justice Holmes' famous statement."
—Publisher's website

Friday, July 11, 2014

America's Dirty Wars: Irregular Warfare From 1776 to the War on Terror

Russell Crandall (Davidson College). America's Dirty Wars (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

"This book examines the long, complex experience of American involvement in irregular warfare. It begins with the American Revolution in 1776 and chronicles big and small irregular wars for the next two and a half centuries. What is readily apparent in dirty wars is that failure is painfully tangible while success is often amorphous. Successfully fighting these wars often entails striking a critical balance between military victory and politics."
—Publisher's website

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Legitimating International Organizations

Dominik Zaum (ed.) (University of Reading). Legitimating International Organizations (Oxford University Press, 2014).

"The legitimacy of international and regional organisations and their actions is frequently asserted and challenged by states and commentators alike. Their authorisations or conduct of military interventions, their structures of decision-making, and their involvement into what states deem to be domestic matters have all raised questions of legitimacy. . . . Despite the prominence of legitimacy talk around international organisations, little attention has been paid to the practices and processes through which such organisations and their member states justify the authority these organisations exercise
how they legitimise themselves both vis-a-vis their own members and external audiences. This book addresses this gap by comparing and evaluating the legitimation practices of a range of international and regional organisations." 
From publisher's website

Monday, July 7, 2014

Taming Lust: Crimes Against Nature in the Early Republic

Doron S. Ben-Atar (Fordham University) & Richard D. Brown (University of Connecticut). Taming Lust (University of Pennsylvania, 2014).

"In 1796, as revolutionary fervor waned and the Age of Reason took hold, an eighty-five-year-old Massachusetts doctor was convicted of bestiality and sentenced to hang. Three years later and seventy miles away, an eighty-three-year-old Connecticut farmer was convicted of the same crime and sentenced to the same punishment. Prior to these criminal trials, neither Massachusetts nor Connecticut had executed anyone for bestiality in over a century. Though there are no overt connections between the two episodes, the similarities of their particulars are strange and striking. Historians Doron S. Ben-Atar and Richard D. Brown delve into the specifics to determine what larger social, political, or religious forces could have compelled New England courts to condemn two octogenarians for sexual misbehavior typically associated with much younger men."
—Publisher's website

Monday, June 30, 2014

Baseball on Trial: The Origin of Baseball's Antitrust Exemption

Nathaniel Grow (University of Georgia). Baseball on Trial (University of Illinois Press, 2014).

"The controversial 1922 Federal Baseball Supreme Court ruling held that the "business of base ball" was not subject to the Sherman Antitrust Act because it did not constitute interstate commerce. In Baseball on Trial, legal scholar Nathaniel Grow defies conventional wisdom to explain why the unanimous Supreme Court opinion authored by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, which gave rise to Major League Baseball's exemption from antitrust law, was correct given the circumstances of the time."

—Publisher's website

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Crusade for Equality in the Workplace: The Griggs v. Duke Power Story

Robert Belton (Vanderbilt University). The Crusade for Equality in the Workplace (University Press of Kansas, 2014).

"Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 eliminated much blatant discrimination, but after its enactment before Griggs, businesses held the view that a commitment to equality required only eliminating policies and practices that were intentionally discriminatory—the 'disparate treatment' test. . . . In Griggs v. Duke Power Co., the Supreme Court ruled that a 'disparate impact' test could also apply—that the 1964 Civil Rights Act extended to practices with a discriminatory effect. In tracing the impact of the Griggs ruling on employment practices, this book documents the birth, maturation, death and rebirth of disparate impact theory, including its erosion by later Supreme Court decisions and its restoration by congressional action in the Civil Rights Act of 1991."
The Crusade for Equality in the Workplace book jacket

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Inferno: An Anatomy of American Punishment

Robert A. Ferguson (Columbia University). Inferno (Harvard University Press, 2014).

"The book is potentially transformative not just because it offers policy makers some solutions to the litany of problems they face as they seek ways to reform our broken penal systems. It is transcendent because it posits that America needs a fundamentally revised understanding of the concept of punishment itself if it is to save its soul in these prisons . . . . This book forces prison officials and lawmakers to look inward and see within themselves the dark, unremitting reasons why things have gotten as bad as they have inside our prisons and jails. It says squarely to these political and legal and community leaders (and by extension to their constituents): in seeking to bring retributive justice to bear, in seeking to diminish the prisoner, you have also diminished yourself in ways you are unable or unwilling to admit . . . ."

—Andrew Cohen, The Atlantic

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fresh Water in International Law

Laurence Boisson de Chazournes (University of Geneva). Fresh Water in International Law (Oxford University Press, 2013).

"The regulation of fresh water has primarily developed through the conclusion of treaties concerning international watercourses. Yet a number of other legal regimes also apply to the governance of fresh water. In particular, there has been an increasing recognition of the importance of fresh water to environmental protection. The development of international human rights law and international humanitarian law has also proven crucial for ensuring the sound and equitable management of this resource. In addition, the economic uses of fresh water feature prominently in the law applicable to watercourses, while water itself has become an important element of the trade and investment regimes. These bodies of rules and principles not only surface in an array of dispute settlement mechanisms, but also stimulate wider trends of institutionalization."
Fresh Water in International Law book jacket

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Digital Copyright and the Consumer Revolution: Hands Off My iPod

Matthew Rimmer (Australian National University College of Law). Digital Copyright and the Consumer Revolution (Edward Elgar, 2007).

"With a focus on recent US copyright law, the book charts the consumer rebellion against the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act 1998 (US) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998 (US). The author explores the significance of key judicial rulings and considers legal controversies over new technologies, such as the iPod . . . Google Book Search, and peer-to-peer networks. The book also highlights cultural developments, such as the emergence of digital sampling and mash-ups, the construction of the BBC Creative Archive, and the evolution of the Creative Commons."
Digital Copyright and the Consumer Revolution book jacket

Monday, June 9, 2014

Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality

Jo Becker. Forcing the Spring (The Penguin Press, 2014).

"A tour de force of ground-breaking reportage . . . Forcing the Spring  follows the historic legal challenge mounted against California's ban on same-sex marriage, a remarkable lawsuit that forced the issue of marriage equality before the highest court of the land. For nearly five years Becker embedded with the lawsuit's plaintiffs, was given free rein within the legal and political war rooms where strategy was plotted, and attended every day of the trial and every appellate argument. Based on singular access to the internal workings of this momentous trial—and enlivened by original interviews with the participants on both sides of the case, many speaking for the first timeForcing the Spring offers a gripping behind-the-scenes narrative with the lightning pace of the greatest legal thrillers."
Forcing the Spring book jacket 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Money: The Unauthorized Biography

Felix Martin. Money: The Unauthorized Biography (Alfred A Knopf, 2014).

"What is money, and how does it work? In this tour de force of political, cultural, and economic history, Felix Martin challenges nothing less than our conventional understanding of money. He describes how the Western idea of money emerged from interactions between Mesopotamia and ancient Greece and was shaped over the centuries by tensions between sovereigns and the emerging middle classes. He explores the extraordinary diversity of the world's monetary systems, from the Pacific island of Yap, where value was once measured by immovable stones, to the currency of today that exists solely on globally connected computer screens."
Money: The Unauthorized Biography book jacket

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Future of the Patent System

Ryo Shimanami (ed.) (Kobe University). The Future of the Patent System (Edward Elgar, 2012).

"In a rapidly changing world, the underlying philosophies, the rationale and the appropriateness of patent law have come under question. In this insightful collection, the authors undertake a careful examination of existing patent systems and their prospects for the future. Scholars and practitioners from Japan, the US, Europe, India, Brazil and China give detailed analyses of current and likely future problems with their respective systems, and outline possible responses to them."
The Future of the Patent System book jacket 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers that Rule our World

Zachary Karabell. The Leading Indicators (Simon & Schuster, 2014).

"Zachary Karabell’s lively account, 'The Leading Indicators,' is a terrific introduction to the range of statistics economists and governments use to address these questions. As Karabell tells us, the role of the government in the economy explains why we have the statistics we do: 'Until the early 20th century, significant economic hardship was so woven into human history and experience that it wasn’t yet seen as an aberration. Only the combination of a severe crisis and the belief that such crises not only could but should be prevented by collective government action led to the creation of unemployment statistics.' Karabell also shows how many judgment calls are involved in developing statistics. Even so seemingly straightforward a measure as unemployment requires assumptions — for example about how to treat transient workers or students or people who are working fewer hours than they would like."
—Diane Coyle, New York Times 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reclaiming American Virtue: The Human Rights Revolution of the 1970's

Barbara J. Keys (University of Melbourne). Reclaiming American Virtue (Harvard University Press).

"The American commitment to international rights emerged in the 1970s not as a logical outgrowth of American idealism but as a surprising response to national trauma, as Barbara Keys shows in this provocative history. Reclaiming American Virtue situates this novel enthusiasm as a reaction to the profound challenge of the Vietnam War and its tumultuous aftermath. Instead of looking inward for renewal, Americans on the right and left alike looked outward for ways to restore America's moral leadership. . . . [L]iberals and conservatives both saw human rights as a way of moving guilt to pride."
Reclaiming American Virtue book jacket