Dissent and the Supreme Court: its role in the Court’s history and the nation’s
constitutional dialogue. Melvin I. Urofsky. New York: Pantheon Books, 2015.
KF8748 .U76 2015. Click here to view the Full Catalog Record
“Melvin Urofsky’s major new book looks at the role of dissent in the Supreme Court and the meaning of the Constitution through the greatest and longest lasting public-policy debate in the country’s history, among members of the Supreme Court, between the Court and the other branches of government, and between the Court and the people of the United States.
Urofsky writes of the necessity of constitutional dialogue as one of the ways in which we as a people reinvent and reinvigorate our democratic society. In Dissent and the Supreme Court, he explores the great dissents throughout the Court’s 225-year history. He discusses in detail the role the Supreme Court has played in helping to define what the Constitution means, how the Court’s majority opinions have not always been right, and how the dissenters, by positing alternative interpretations, have initiated a critical dialogue about what a particular decision should mean. This dialogue is sometimes resolved quickly; other times it may take decades before the Court adjusts its position. Louis Brandeis’s dissenting opinion about wiretapping became the position of the Court four decades after it was written. The Court took six decades to adopt the dissenting opinion of the first Justice John Harlan in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)—that segregation on the basis of race violated the Constitution—in Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
Urofsky shows that the practice of dissent grew slowly but steadily and that in the nineteenth century dissents became more frequent. In the (in)famous case of Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), Chief Justice Roger Taney’s opinion upheld slavery, declaring that blacks could never be citizens. The justice received intense condemnations from several of his colleagues, but it took a civil war and three constitutional amendments before the dissenting view prevailed and Dred Scott was overturned.
Urofsky looks as well at the many aspects of American constitutional life that were affected by the Earl Warren Court—free speech, race, judicial appointment, and rights of the accused—and shows how few of these decisions were unanimous, and how the dissents in the earlier cases molded the results of later decisions; how with Roe v. Wade—the Dred Scott of the modern era—dissent fashioned subsequent decisions, and how, in the Court, a dialogue that began with the dissents in Roe has shaped every decision since.
Urofsky writes of the rise of conservatism and discusses how the resulting appointments of more conservative jurists to the bench put the last of the Warren liberals—William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall—in increasingly beleaguered positions, and in the minority. He discusses the present age of incivility, in which reasoned dialogue seems less and less possible. Yet within the Marble Palace, the members of the Supreme Court continue to hear arguments, vote, and draft majority opinions, while the minority continues to “respectfully dissent.” The Framers understood that if a constitution doesn’t grow and adapt, it atrophies and dies, and if it does, so does the democratic society it has supported. Dissent—on the Court and off, Urofsky argues—has been a crucial ingredient in keeping the Constitution alive and must continue to be so.
Getting screwed: sex workers and the law. Alison Bass. Lebanon, NH: ForeEdge, An imprint of University Press of New England, 2015. ebook. Click here to view the Full Catalog Record
“Alison Bass weaves the true stories of sex workers with the latest research on prostitution into a gripping journalistic account of how women (and some men) navigate a culture that routinely accepts the implicit exchange of sex for money, status, or even a good meal, but imposes heavy penalties on those who make such bargains explicit. Along the way, Bass examines why an increasing number of middle-class white women choose to become sex workers and explores how prostitution has become a thriving industry in the twenty-first-century global economy. Situating her book in American history more broadly, she also discusses the impact of the sexual revolution, the rise of the Nevada brothels, and the growing war on sex trafficking after 9/11.
Drawing on recent studies that show lower rates of violence and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, in regions where adult prostitution is legal and regulated, Bass makes a powerful case for decriminalizing sex work. Through comparisons of the impact of criminalization vs. decriminalization in other countries, her book offers strategies for making prostitution safer for American sex workers and the communities in which they dwell.
This riveting assessment of how U.S. anti-prostitution laws harm the public health and safety of sex workers and other citizens—and affect larger societal attitudes toward women—will interest feminists, sociologists, lawyers, health-care professionals, and policy makers. The book also will appeal to anyone with an interest in American history and our society’s evolving attitudes toward sexuality and marriage.”
Pregnant with the stars : watching and wanting the celebrity baby bump. Renee
Ann Cramer. Stanford, California : Stanford Law Books, 2016. ebook. Click here to view the Full Catalog Record
“Check out that baby bump!” Online and print magazines, television shows, and personal blogs are awash with gossip and speculation about pregnant celebrities. What drives our cultural obsession with celebrity baby bumps? Pregnant with the Stars examines the American fascination with, and judgment of, celebrity pregnancy, and exposes how our seemingly innocent interest in “baby bumps” actually reinforces troubling standards about femininity, race, and class, while increasing the surveillance and regulation of all women in our society.
This book charts how the American understanding of pregnancy has evolved by examining pop culture coverage of the pregnant celebrity body. Investigating and comparing the media coverage of pregnant celebrities, including Jennifer Garner, Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé Knowles, Kristen Bell, M.I.A., Jodie Foster, and Mila Kunis, Renée Cramer shows us how women are categorized and defined by their pregnancies. Their stories provide a paparazzi-sized lens through which we can interpret a complex set of social and legal regulations of pregnant women.
Cramer exposes how cultural ideas like the “rockin’ post-baby body” are not only unattainable; they are a means of social control. Combining cultural and legal analysis, Pregnant with the Stars uncovers a world where pregnant celebrities are governed and controlled alongside the recent, and troubling, proliferation of restrictive laws aimed at women in the realm of reproductive justice and freedom. Cramer asks each reader and cultural consumer to recognize that the seeing, judging, and discussion of the “baby bump” isn’t merely frivolous celebrity gossip—it is an act of surveillance, commodification, and control.”
Research handbook on Chinese environmental law
Ed. by Qin Tianbao, Wuhan University, China.
Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, .
KNQ3127 .R47 2015. Click here to view the Full Catalog Record
“This authoritative Research Handbook presents, for the first time, a comprehensive overview of the salient content and major developments in environmental law in transitional China. Through this rigorous examination, it gives a unique insight into the implementation problems and reform needs of environmental governance in China.
This timely book explores the core concepts, basic mechanisms and key challenges of Chinese environmental law, extending the frontier of understanding in this fundamental area. Combining theory and practice, the expert contributors provide an introduction to and comments on relevant environmental laws and regulations and their latest developments. The Research Handbook builds upon previous knowledge of Chinese environmental law, divulging concerns on redressing environmental protection issues in the context of economic growth and sustainable development. Readers will gain a discerning insight into the nuances of environmental regulation in China from this extensive review.”
Nudge and the law: a European perspective
Ed. by Alberto Alemanno and Anne-Lise Sibony.
Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2015.
ebook. Click here to view the Full Catalog Record
“Behavioural sciences help refine our understanding of human decision-making. Their insights are immensely relevant for policy-making since public intervention works much better when it targets real people rather than imaginary beings assumed to be perfectly rational. Increasingly, governments around the world are keen to rely on those insights for reshaping public interventions in a wide range of policy areas such as energy, health, financial services and data protection. When policy-making meets behavioural sciences, effective and low-cost regulations can emerge in the form of default rules, smart disclosure and simplification requirements. While behaviourally-informed intervention has a huge potential for policymaking, it also attracts legitimacy and practicability concerns.
Nudge and the Law takes a European perspective on those issues and explores the legal implications of the emergent phenomenon of behavioural regulation by focusing on the challenges and opportunities it may offer to EU policy-making and beyond.”
Distribution of responsibilities in international law
Ed. by André Nollkaemper and Dov Jacobs ; Assistant editor, Jessica N.M. Schechinger.
Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
ebook. Click here to view the Full Catalog Record
“This is the second book in the series Shared Responsibility in International Law, which examines the problem of distribution of responsibilities among multiple states and other actors. In its work on the responsibility of states and international organisations, the International Law Commission recognised that attribution of acts to one actor does not exclude possible attribution of the same act to another state or organisation. However, it provided limited guidance for the often complex question of how responsibility is to be distributed among wrongdoing actors.
This study fills that gap by shedding light on principles of distribution from extra-legal perspectives. Drawing on disciplines such as political theory, moral philosophy, and economics, this volume enquires into the bases and justifications for apportionment of responsibilities that can support a critique of current international law, offers insight into the justification of alternative interpretations, and provides inspiration for reform and further development of international law.”