Author: John William Sayer
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2000
This study of the Wounded Knee trials demonstrates the impact that legal institutions and the media have on political dissent. Sayer draws on court records, news reports, and interviews to show how both the defense and the prosecution had to respond continually to legal constraints, media coverage, and political events outside the courtroom.
Political trials take issues of responsibility, conscience, representation, and legitimacy, which are tied in tight political and legal knots, and force us to face questions about our public identity, our standards for public policy, and our sense of history. Ron Christenson explores how political trials, especially those within the rule of law, engage society's conflicting values and loyalties. He examines numerous political trials throughout history, bringing into question basic foundations of law, politics, and society. Christenson classifies political trials according to the issues they generate in the political sphere: partisan trials are spurious legal proceedings but politically expedient; trials of corruption and insanity raise questions of public and personal responsibility; trials of dissenters involve problems of conscience; trials of nationalists highlight the nature of representation and the relationship of the part to the whole; and trials of regimes engage the most fundamental concept of both law and politics--legitimacy. Political Trials brings these considerations to bear on some of the best-known cases in history, including the Gunpowder Plot; the Spanish Inquisition; the Dreyfus affair; the Nuremburg trials; trials of dissenters such as Socrates, Thomas More, Roger Williams, and the Berrigan brothers; and trials of nationalists such as Joan of Arc, Gandhi, Knut Hamsun, and the Irish republicans. Since the first edition appeared, a number of notable political trials have raised critical issues for society. Shocking public exposures about the Guildford 4 and Maguire 7 trials shook the British criminal justice establishment, while in the United States trials concerning the beating of Rodney King led up to the O.J. Simpson spectacle and a host of parallel questions. The trials of right-wing terrorists such as Paul Hill, found guilty of murdering an abortion doctor, and Timothy McVeigh, convicted of the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, parallel the case of left-wing dissenter Karl Armstrong in the 1970s. Finally, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Committee provides a test case of whether a nation can not only remember but grant amnesty and achieve true reconciliation. In examining the dilemmas involved in these trials, Christenson shows how they make a positive contribution to an open and democratic society. Political Trials will be an important addition to the libraries of historians, legal scholars, and political scientists.
Author: Alan G. Gless
Publisher: Ohio University Press
Release Date: 2008
In the aftermath of the Civil War, legislators in the Nebraska Territory grappled with the responsibility of forming a state government as well as with the larger issues of reconstructing the Union, protecting civil rights, and redefining federal-state relations. In the years that followed, Nebraskans coped with regional and national economic collapses. Nebraska women struggled for full recognition in the legal profession. Meyer v. Nebraska, a case involving a teacher in a one-room rural Nebraska schoolhouse, changed the course of American constitutional doctrine and remains one of the cornerstones of civil liberties law. And Roscoe Pound, a boy from Lincoln, went on to become one of the nation's great legal philosophers. Much of Nebraska law reflects mainstream American law, yet Nebraskans have been open to experiment and innovation. The state revamped the legislative process by establishing the nation's only unicameral legislature and pioneered public employment collective bargaining and dispute resolution through its commission of industrial relations and relaxation of strict separation of powers. Nebraska holds a prominent position in the field of Native American legal history, and the state's original inhabitants have been at the center of many significant developments in federal Indian policy. Nebraska Indian legal history is replete with stories of failure and success, triumph and heartache, hope and misery, suffering and hardship.
Author: Natsu Taylor Saito
Release Date: 2007
This study details historic applications of the plenary power doctrine, in which US courts allow the executive branch full power over groups of citizens without concomitant constitutional protection, showing that expansions of power aren't unique to the Bush administration but part of a troubling tradition that, according to the author, undermines American principles and may violate international human rights law.