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Featured Acquisitions - April 2013

 

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Lawless Capitalism: The Subprime Crisis and the Case for an Economic Rule of Law by Steven A Ramirez
New York: New York University Press, 2013
HB3717 2008 .R36 2013 Basement

The subprime mortgage crisis has been blamed on many: the Bush Administration, Bernie Madoff, the financial industry, overzealous housing developers. Yet little scrutiny has been placed on the American legal system as a whole, even though parts of that system, such as the laws that regulate high-risk lending, have been dissected to bits and pieces. In this innovative and exhaustive study, Steven A. Ramirez posits that the subprime mortgage crisis, as well as the global macroeconomic catastrophe it spawned, is traceable to a gross failure of law. The rule of law must appropriately channel and constrain the exercise of economic and political power. Used effectively, it ensures that economic opportunity isn't limited to a small group of elites that enjoy growth at the expense of many, particularly those in vulnerable economic situations. In Lawless Capitalism, Ramirez calls for the rule of law to displace crony capitalism. Only through the rule of law, he argues, can capitalism be reconstructed.


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Rwanda and the Moral Obligation of Humanitarian Intervention by Josha James Kassner
Edinburg : Edinburgh University Press, 2013
JZ6369 .K37 2013 Sohn Collection

Why the international community should have intervened in Rwanda. Kassner contends that the violation of the basic human rights of the Rwandan Tutsis morally obliged the international community to intervene militarily to stop the genocide. This compelling argument, grounded in basic rights, runs counter to the accepted view on the moral nature of humanitarian intervention. It has profound implications for our understanding of the moral nature of humanitarian military intervention, global justice and the role moral principles should play in the practical deliberations of states.


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Freedom to Harm: The Lasting Legacy of the Laissez Faire Revival by Thomas O. McGarity
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013
KF1600 .M395 2013 Balcony

This book tells the story of how the business community, and the trade associations and think tanks that it created, launched three powerful assaults during the last quarter of the twentieth century on the federal regulatory system and the state civil justice system to accomplish a revival of the laissez faire political economy that dominated Gilded Age America. Although the consequences of these assaults became painfully apparent in a confluence of crises during the early twenty-first century, the patch-and-repair fixes that Congress and the Obama administration put into place did little to change the underlying laissez faire ideology and practice that continues to dominate the American political economy. In anticipation of the next confluence of crises, Thomas McGarity offers suggestions for more comprehensive governmental protections for consumers, workers, and the environment.


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Mental Disability and the Death Penalty: The Shame of the States by Michael L. Perlin
Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013
KF9227.C2 P47 2013 Balcony

There is no question that the death penalty is disproportionately imposed in cases involving defendants with mental disabilities. There is clear, systemic bias at all stages of the prosecution and the sentencing process – in determining who is competent to be executed, in the assessment of mitigation evidence, in the ways that counsel is assigned, in the ways that jury determinations are often contaminated by stereotyped preconceptions of persons with mental disabilities, in the ways that cynical expert testimony reflects a propensity on the part of some experts to purposely distort their testimony in order to achieve desired ends. These questions are shockingly ignored at all levels of the criminal justice system, and by society in general.

Here, Michael Perlin explores the relationship between mental disabilities and the death penalty and explains why and how this state of affairs has come to be, to explore why it is necessary to identify the factors that have contributed to this scandalous and shameful policy morass, to highlight the series of policy choices that need immediate remediation, and to offer some suggestions that might meaningfully ameliorate the situation. Using real cases to illustrate the ways in which the persons with mental disabilities are unable to receive fair treatment during death penalty trials, he demonstrates the depth of the problem and the way it’s been institutionalized so as to be an accepted part of our system. He calls for a new approach, and greater attention to the issues that have gone overlooked for so long.


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Acting White?: Rethinking Race in “Post-Racial” America by Devon W. Carbado and Mitu Gulati
Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2013
KF384 .C37 2013 Balcony

What does it mean to "act black" or "act white"? Is race merely a matter of phenotype, or does it come from the inflection of a person's speech, the clothes in her closet, how she chooses to spend her time and with whom she chooses to spend it? What does it mean to be "really" black, and who gets to make that judgment?

In Acting White?, leading scholars of race and the law Devon Carbado and Mitu Gulati argue that, in spite of decades of racial progress and the pervasiveness of multicultural rhetoric, racial judgments are often based not just on skin color, but on how a person conforms to behavior stereotypically associated with a certain race. Specifically, racial minorities are judged on how they "perform" their race. This performance pervades every aspect of their daily life, whether it's the clothes they wear, the way they style their hair, the institutions with which they affiliate, their racial politics, the people they befriend, date or marry, where they live, how they speak, and their outward mannerisms and demeanor. Employing these cues, decision-makers decide not simply whether a person is black but the degree to which she or he is so. Relying on numerous examples from the workplace, higher education, and police interactions, the authors demonstrate that, for African Americans, the costs of "acting black" are high, and so are the pressures to "act white." But, as the authors point out, "acting white" has costs as well.

Provocative yet never doctrinaire, Acting White? will boldly challenge your assumptions and make you think about racial prejudice from a fresh vantage point.


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The Dearest Birth Right of the People of England: The Jury in the History of Common Law edited by John W Cairns and Grant McLeod
Oxford; Portland, Or.: Hart Pub., 2002
KD7540.A75 D43 2002 Basement

While much fundamental research in the recent past has been devoted to the criminal jury in England up to 1800, there has been little work on the nineteenth century, and on the civil jury. This important study fills these obvious gaps in the literature. It also provides a re-assessment of standard issues such as jury lenity or equity, while raising questions about orthodoxies concerning the relationship of the jury to the development of laws of evidence. Moreover, re-assessment of the jury in nineteenth-century England rejects the thesis that juries were squeezed out by judges in favor of market principles. The book contributes a rounded picture of the jury as an institution, considering it in comparison to other modes of fact-finding, its development in both civil and criminal cases, and the significance, both practical and ideological, of its transplantation to North America and Scotland, while opening up new areas of investigation and research.


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The Art of Justice: The Judge’s Perspective by Ruth Herz
Oxford; Portland, OR: Hart, 2012
NC953.5.F8 H47 2012 Basement

This book presents a unique and intriguing collection of drawings of courtroom scenes. Entering the courtroom wearing his robe, Judge Pierre Cavellat literally had a secret up his sleeve. Hidden in it were pens and pencils which he used to sketch the scenes he observed from his bench during a trial. Throughout a 40 year judicial career in one of France's more important regional appellate courts, Cavellat produced hundreds of revealing drawings and paintings of court scenes, depicting the proceedings, as well as the main actors: the prosecutors, defense counsels, his fellow judges, the defendants, witnesses, policemen, the general public, as well as the courtroom itself and its architecture. The resulting vivid and uncensored impressions give an unprecedented insight into how a judge perceives his profession and the institution of justice as a whole. Given the scarcity of written autobiographies by judges, as well as their reticence to expose their inner feelings and thinking, the images reveal, in a candid and immediate fashion, the deeply hidden emotions, ambiguities, and fantasies of a judge going about his work. The author, a judge herself, interprets the images through the lens of her own judicial experience, exploring how judges think and act and how their thinking is constructed through their education, professional training, gender, and class. In doing so, she exposes how personal background, history, and experience play an additional, sometimes conflicting, role in 'judgecraft.' While relevant to both practitioners and students of law, this book should also have an appeal to a wider public that seeks an insight into the world of the court.


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Human Rights at the Crossroads edited by Mark Goodale
Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2013
K3240 .H8549 2013 Sohn Collection

Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a dramatic expansion in both the international human rights system and the transnational networks of activists, development organizations, and monitoring agencies that partially reinforce it. Yet despite or perhaps because of this explosive growth, the multiple statuses of human rights remain as unsettled as ever.

Human Rights at the Crossroads brings together preeminent and emerging voices within human rights studies to think creatively about problems beyond their own disciplines, and to critically respond to what appear to be intractable problems within human rights theory and practice. It includes essays that rethink the ideas surrounding human rights and dignity, human rights and state interests in citizenship and torture, the practice of human rights in politics, genocide, and historical re-writing, and the anthropological and medical approaches to human rights.

Human Rights at the Crossroads provides an integrative and interdisciplinary answer to the existing academic status quo, with broad implications for future theory and practice in all fields dealing with the problems of human rights theory and practice.


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Chasing Gideon: The Elusive Quest for Poor People’s Justice by Karen Houppert
New York: The New Press, 2013
KF336 .H68 2013 Balcony

A half-century after Anthony Lewis' award-winning Gideon's Trumpet (Random House, 1964) chronicled the story of the Gideon v. Wainwright court case (which ensures poor defendants are provided with lawyers by the state), A Muted Trumpet picks up where he left off. Reporter Karen Houppert examines the legacy of the decision, chronicling the cases of defendants who have relied on Gideon's promise, bringing renewed attention to an essential but failing aspect of the US criminal justice system and offering insight into how it might be saved.