September 09, 2002
The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter (Alfred A. Knopf, 672 pp., $26.95) But for the fact that he has written a novel, Stephen L. Carter is not a novelist. He is a professor of law at Yale who made his debut in 1991 with a lively and candid book called Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby, a sober exploration of affirmative action and its effect on his life.
July 08, 2002
Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich by Kevin Phillips (Broadway Books, 432 pp., $29.95) Stupid White Men ... and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation! by Michael Moore (ReganBooks, 304 pp., $24.95) I. As Lord Bryce noted in 1888 in The American Commonwealth, the American way of choosing presidents rarely produces politicians of quality. Subsequent events vindicated his point: in the half-century after his book appeared, Americans elected to the presidency such undistinguished men as William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Warren G.
The Accidental Jurist
December 17, 2001
John Marshall was not the first chief justice. The Supreme Court was formed in 1789, shortly after the Constitution was ratified, and Marshall was appointed in 1801. But the Court had little business in its early days, and the period of Marshall's chief justiceship, which extended until his death in 1835, was the formative era in the history of the Supreme Court and in the interpretation of the Constitution.
December 10, 2001
Of all the new security measures adopted by the Bush administration since September 11, the most draconian involve the detention and interrogation of aliens. In his dragnet effort to uncover evidence of terrorism, Attorney General John Ashcroft has authorized the detention of some 1,100 noncitizens. Some have been held for months and--thanks to recently passed legislation--may be held indefinitely. Critics call the Ashcroft detentions unconstitutional.
November 26, 2001
Now that a consortium of major newspapers has reported that George W. Bush would have won the Florida recount, his legitimacy is supposedly beyond dispute. "Even Gore partisans," asserts a Wall Street Journal editorial, "now have to admit that the former Vice President was not denied a legitimate victory by the Supreme Court." And this conclusion is not confined to Bush's amen corner. "The comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots solidifies George W. Bush's legal claim to the White House," chimes in The New York Times. So Bush is now a legitimate president, right?
October 29, 2001
Playing It Safe: How the Supreme Court Sidesteps Hard Cases and Stunts the Development of Law by Lisa Kloppenberg (New York University Press, 304 pp., $38) For many years, Israel's General Security Service has engaged in certain forms of physical coercion, reasonably described as torture, of suspected terrorists. Suspected terrorists have been repeatedly shaken, in a way that causes their heads and necks to dangle and to vacillate rapidly. They have been tied in chairs for long periods of time, their heads covered in opaque and foul-smelling sacks, while very loud music is played.
The Right Thing
October 08, 2001
I. Schools, Vouchers and the American Public by Terry M.
October 08, 2001
Rescue workers were still combing through the wreckage of the World Trade Center when stern voices arose to caution us that the war against our attackers will not only challenge America's military resolve but also test its democracy at home. "[A] number of government agencies and their cheerleaders would be clearly tempted to lock the Bill of Rights away in some basement dustbin of the National Archives," The American Prospect warned on its website. Which agencies? Which cheerleaders? The editorial didn't say, though elsewhere the magazine published musings about "a systematic breakdown of res
September 10, 2001
Federal judges are about to make a crucial decision on workplace privacy, but you won't read about it in a court opinion. On September 11, the Judicial Conference of the United States, the organization with ultimate authority over the internal operation of the federal courts, will decide whether to approve or dismantle a computer program that monitors judges and their staff members when they use the Internet on the job.
July 09, 2001
I may be a winner! The Supreme Court held this week that The New York Times violated my rights when it published four freelance op-ed pieces of mine between 1986 and 1995 and then sent them to Lexis-Nexis, the electronic database, without my permission.