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Featured Acquisitions - January 2012

 

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The Odd Clauses : Understanding the Constitution Through Ten of its Most Curious Provisions by Jay Wexler
Boston: Beacon Press, 2011
KF4550 .W465 2011 Balcony

If the United States Constitution were a zoo, and the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth amendments were a lion, a giraffe, and a panda bear, respectively, then The Odd Clauses would be a special exhibit of shrews, wombats, and bat-eared foxes. Past the ever-popular monkey house and lion cages, Boston University law professor Jay Wexler leads us on a tour of the lesser-known clauses of the Constitution, the clauses that, like the yeti crab or platypus, rarely draw the big audiences but are worth a closer look. Just as ecologists remind us that even a weird little creature like a shrew can make all the difference between a healthy environment and an unhealthy one, understanding the odd clauses offers readers a healthier appreciation for our constitutional system. With Wexler as your expert guide through this jurisprudence jungle, you’ll see the Constitution like you’ve never seen it before.


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A Troubled Marriage : Domestic Violence and the Legal System by Leigh Goodmark
New York: New York University, 2012
KF9322 .G65 2012 Balcony

The development of a legal regime to combat domestic violence in the United States has been lauded as one of the feminist movement's greatest triumphs. But, Leigh Goodmark argues, the resulting system is deeply flawed in ways that prevent it from assisting many women subjected to abuse. The current legal response to domestic violence is excessively focused on physical violence; this narrow definition of abuse fails to provide protection from behaviours that are profoundly damaging, including psychological, economic, and reproductive abuse. The legal system is deaf to the claims of women who defy victim stereotypes and fails to consider how women's identities intersect to create and reinforce their oppression. Separating women subjected to abuse from their partners is the main objective of the legal system, but not necessarily what women subjected to abuse want. The system uses mandatory policies that deny women subjected to abuse autonomy and agency, substituting the state's priorities for women's goals. A Troubled Marriage is a provocative exploration of how the legal system's response to domestic violence developed, why that response is flawed, and what we should do to change it. Goodmark argues for an anti-essentialist system, which would define abuse and allocate power in a manner attentive to the experiences, goals, needs and priorities of individual women. It would maximize options for women subjected to abuse, and it would recognize that state-based justice systems cannot meet the needs of all such women. Theoretically rich yet conversational, A Troubled Marriage imagines a legal system based on anti-essentialist principles and suggests ways to look beyond the system to help women find justice and economic stability, engage men in the struggle to end abuse, and develop community accountability for abuse.


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The Trials of Eroy Brown : the Murder Case That Shook the Texas Prison System by Michael Berryhill
Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011
HV9475.T4 B47 2011 Basement

In April 1981, two white Texas prison officials died at the hands of a black inmate at the Ellis prison farm near Huntsville. Warden Wallace Pack and farm manager Billy Moore were the highest-ranking Texas prison officials ever to die in the line of duty. The warden was drowned face down in a ditch. The farm manager was shot once in the head with the warden's gun. The man who admitted to killing them, a burglar and robber named Eroy Brown, surrendered meekly, claiming self-defense.
In any other era of Texas prison history, Brown's fate would have seemed certain: execution. But in 1980, federal judge William Wayne Justice had issued a sweeping civil rights ruling in which he found that prison officials had systematically and often brutally violated the rights of Texas inmates. In the light of that landmark prison civil rights case, Ruiz v. Estelle, Brown had a chance of being believed.
The Trials of Eroy Brown, the first book devoted to Brown's astonishing defense, is based on trial documents, exhibits, and journalistic accounts of Brown's three trials, which ended in his acquittal. Michael Berryhill presents Brown's story in his own words, set against the backdrop of the chilling plantation mentality of Texas prisons. Brown's attorneys--Craig Washington, Bill Habern, and Tim Sloan--undertook heroic strategies to defend him, even when the state refused to pay their fees. The Trials of Eroy Browntells a landmark story of prison civil rights and the collapse of Jim Crow justice in Texas.


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The Invention of Law in the West by Aldo Schiavone
Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012
KJA147 .S34513 2012 Balcony

Law is a specific form of social regulation distinct from religion, ethics, and even politics, and endowed with a strong and autonomous rationality. Its invention, a crucial aspect of Western history, took place in ancient Rome. Aldo Schiavone, a world-renowned classicist, reconstructs this development with clear-eyed passion, following its course over the centuries, setting out from the earliest origins and moving up to the threshold of Late Antiquity.
The invention of Western law occurred against the backdrop of the Roman Empire's gradual consolidation-an age of unprecedented accumulation of power which transformed an archaic predisposition to ritual into an unrivaled technology for the control of human dealings. Schiavone offers us a closely reasoned interpretative essay that returns us to the primal origins of Western legal machinery and the discourse that was constructed around it-formalism, the pretense of neutrality, the relationship with political power. This is a landmark work of scholarship whose influence will be felt by classicists, historians, and legal scholars for decades.


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Considering Animals: Contemporary Studies in Human-Animal Relations by Carol Freeman et al
QL85 .C667 2011 Basement
QL85 .C667 2011 Basement

Scholars of biological and social sciences and the humanities from across the anglophone world explore relations between humans and non-human animals from perspectives of image, ethics, and agency. Among their topics are the politics of penguin films, wildlife control and the demonization of cuteness, the symbolic nature of US pet evacuation statutes for nonhuman animals, why the art world needs to rethink the representation of animals, the speech of dumb beasts, and cetaceans and sentiment.


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Integrating Schools in a Changing Society: New Policies and Legal Options for a Multiracial Generation by Erica Frankenberg and Elizabeth Debray
Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011
LC214.2 .I68 2011

As a result of tremendous social, legal, and political movements after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, the South led the nation in school desegregation from the late 1960s through the beginning of the twenty-first century. However, following a series of court cases in the past two decades--including a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that raised potentially strong barriers for districts wishing to pursue integration--public schools in the South and across the nation are now resegregating faster than ever. In this comprehensive volume, a roster of leading scholars in educational policy and related fields offer eighteen essays seeking to illuminate new ways for American public education to counter persistent racial and socioeconomic inequality in our society. Drawing on extensive research, the contributors reinforce the key benefits of racially integrated schools, examine remaining options to pursue multiracial integration, and discuss case examples that suggest how to build support for those efforts. Framed by the editors' introduction and a conclusion by Gary Orfield, these essays engage the heated debates over school reform and advance new arguments about the dangers of resegregation while offering practical, research-grounded solutions to one of the most pressing issues in American education.


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Living Originalism by Jack M. Balkin
Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011
KF4552 .B35 2011 Balcony

Originalism and living constitutionalism, so often understood to be diametrically opposing views of our nation's founding document, are not in conflict-they are compatible. So argues Jack Balkin, one of the leading constitutional scholars of our time, in this long-awaited book. Step by step, Balkin gracefully outlines a constitutional theory that demonstrates why modern conceptions of civil rights and civil liberties, and the modern state's protection of national security, health, safety, and the environment, are fully consistent with the Constitution's original meaning. And he shows how both liberals and conservatives, working through political parties and social movements, play important roles in the ongoing project of constitutional construction. By making firm rules but also deliberately incorporating flexible standards and abstract principles, the Constitution's authors constructed a framework for politics on which later generations could build. Americans have taken up this task, producing institutions and doctrines that flesh out the Constitution's text and principles. Balkin's analysis offers a way past the angry polemics of our era, a deepened understanding of the Constitution that is at once originalist and living constitutionalist, and a vision that allows all Americans to reclaim the Constitution as their own.


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Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War by Mark E. Neely Jr.
Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011
KFZ9001.5 .N44 2011 Basement

The Civil War placed the U.S. Constitution under unprecedented--and, to this day, still unmatched--strain. In Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Mark Neely examines for the first time in one book the U.S. Constitution and its often overlooked cousin, the Confederate Constitution, and the ways the documents shaped the struggle for national survival.
Previous scholars have examined wartime challenges to civil liberties and questions of presidential power, but Neely argues that the constitutional conflict extended to the largest questions of national existence. Drawing on judicial opinions, presidential state papers, and political pamphlets spiced with the everyday immediacy of the partisan press, Neely reveals how judges, lawyers, editors, politicians, and government officials, both North and South, used their constitutions to fight the war and save, or create, their nation.
Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation illuminates how the U.S. Constitution not only survived its greatest test but emerged stronger after the war. That this happened at a time when the nation's very existence was threatened, Neely argues, speaks ultimately to the wisdom of the Union leadership, notably President Lincoln and his vision of the American nation.


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Probate Wars of the Rich and Famous: an Insider's Guide to Estate Planning and Probate Litigation by Russell J. Fishkind
Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley, 2011
KF755 .F57 2011 Balcony

Surrogate Court dockets are filled with cases involving family members fighting over the assets and intentions of a deceased parent or spouse. Probate Wars of the Rich & Famous: An Insider's Guide to Estate Planning and Probate Litigation tracks the estate litigation cases of Anna Nicole Smith, Brooke Astor, Michael Jackson, Nina Wang, Jerry Garcia and Leona Helmsley and identifies the five universal factors that caused such disputes. Each chapter provides estate planning insights designed to help individuals plan their estates without causing litigation. If, however, probate litigation cannot be avoided, the book also provides invaluable lessons about undue influence claims, how to remove a fiduciary, demanding an estate accounting and claims seeking to set aside lifetime transfers that undermined the decedents intentions. Few - if any - estate planning books utilize colorful celebrity accounts to provide meaningful insights and actionable advice.


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Five Chiefs : a Supreme Court Memoir by John Paul Stevens
New York: Little, Brown, 2011
KF8745.S78 A3 2011 Balcony

When he resigned last June, Justice Stevens was the third longest serving Justice in American history (1975-2010) - only Justice William O. Douglas, whom Stevens succeeded and Stephen Field have served on the Court for a longer time. In Five Chiefs, Justice Stevens captures the inner workings of the Supreme Court via his personal experiences with the five Chief Justices - Fred Vinson, Earl Warren, Warren Burger, William Rehnquist, and John Roberts - that he interacted with. He reminisces of being a law clerk during Vinson's tenure; a practicing lawyer for Warren; a circuit judge and junior justice for Burger; a contemporary colleague of Rehnquist; and a colleague of current Chief Justice John Roberts. Along the way, he will discuss his views of some the most significant cases that have been decided by the Court from Vinson, who became Chief Justice in 1946 when Truman was President, to Roberts, who became Chief Justice in 2005. Packed with interesting anecdotes and stories about the Court, Five Chiefs is an unprecedented and historically significant look at the highest court in the United States.