Author: Nathaniel Persily
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2008-04-04
American politics is most notably characterized by the heated debates on constitutional interpretation at the core of its ever-raging culture wars, and the coverage of these lingering disputes are often inundated with public-opinion polls. Yet for all their prominence in contemporary society, there has never been an all-inclusive, systematic study of public opinion and how it impacts the courts and electoral politics. Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy is the first book to provide a comprehensive analysis of American public opinion on the key constitutional controversies of the twentieth century, including desegregation, school prayer, abortion, the death penalty, affirmative action, gay rights, assisted suicide, and national security, to name just a few. With essays focusing on each issue in-depth, Nathaniel Persily, Jack Citrin, Patrick Egan, and an established group of scholars utilize cutting edge public-opinion data to illustrate these contemporary debates, methodically examining each one and how public attitudes have shifted over time, especially in the wake of prominent Supreme Court decisions. More than just a compilation of available data, however, these essays join the "popular constitutionalism" debate between those who advocate a dominant role for courts in constitutional adjudication and those who prefer a more pluralized constitutional discourse. Each essay also vividly details the gap between the public and the Supreme Court on these hotly contested issues and analyzes how and why this divergence of opinion has grown or shrunk over the last fifty years. Ultimately, Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy sheds light on a major yet understudied part of American politics, providing an incisive look at the crucial part played by the voice of the people on the issues that have become an indelible part of the modern-day political landscape.
Author: William N. Eskridge Jr.
Release Date: 2008-05-01
From the Pentagon to the wedding chapel, there are few issues more controversial today than gay rights. As William Eskridge persuasively demonstrates in Dishonorable Passions, there is nothing new about this political and legal obsession. The American colonies and the early states prohibited sodomy as the crime against nature, but rarely punished such conduct if it took place behind closed doors. By the twentieth century, America’s emerging regulatory state targeted degenerates and (later) homosexuals. The witch hunts of the McCarthy era caught very few Communists but ruined the lives of thousands of homosexuals. The nation’s sexual revolution of the 1960s fueled a social movement of people seeking repeal of sodomy laws, but it was not until the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas (2003) that private sex between consenting adults was decriminalized. With dramatic stories of both the hunted (Walt Whitman and Margaret Mead) and the hunters (Earl Warren and J. Edgar Hoover), Dishonorable Passions reveals how American sodomy laws affected the lives of both homosexual and heterosexual Americans. Certain to provoke heated debate, Dishonorable Passions is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of sexuality and its regulation in the United States
The past twenty years have witnessed a surge in behavioral studies of law and law-related issues. These studies have challenged the application of the rational-choice model to legal analysis and introduced a more accurate and empirically grounded model of human behavior. This integration of economics, psychology, and law is breaking exciting new ground in legal theory and the social sciences, shedding a new light on age-old legal questions as well as cutting edge policy issues. The Oxford Handbook of Behavioral Economics and Law brings together leading scholars of law, psychology, and economics to provide an up-to-date and comprehensive analysis of this field of research, including its strengths and limitations as well as a forecast of its future development. Its 29 chapters organized in four parts. The first part provides a general overview of behavioral economics. The second part comprises four chapters introducing and criticizing the contribution of behavioral economics to legal theory. The third part discusses specific behavioral phenomena, their ramifications for legal policymaking, and their reflection in extant law. Finally, the fourth part analyzes the contribution of behavioral economics to fifteen legal spheres ranging from core doctrinal areas such as contracts, torts and property to areas such as taxation and antitrust policy.
An unprecedented and comprehensive account of the unique role of today's lawyer litigating in the court of public opinion. Coffey's examination of the highest profile cases in recent years teaches all of us-whether experienced lawyer or average citizen-sobering and fascinating lessons about the contemporary, multidimensional life of the law. This book is a rare...combination of autobiography, gripping journalism, legal analysis, and a how-to-manual that will fascinate both those who live to litigate such cases, as well as the many who simply cannot look away when courtroom drama spills into popular consciousness. --Nathaniel Persily, Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law and Political Science, Columbia Law School; Coeditor of Public Opinion and Constitutional ControversyKendall Coffey has walked the walk, so when he starts to talk the talk in his new book, it is well worth reading. His profound insights into some of the key cases of our time, together with tidbits from cases of the past, make this the perfect book to read. Spinning the Law provides more than just an account of key, recent trials; it serves as a handbook on the lessons of the 'Trials of the Centuries.' --Laurie L. Levenson, Professor of Law, David W. Burcham Chair of Ethical Advocacy, Loyola Law SchoolForeword by Alan Dershowitz - professor of law, Harvard Law School and author of Trials of ZionHigh-profile courtroom dramas fascinate our nation, especially when they concern the rich and famous. And while the American public has come to realize that the spin factor is a prime ingredient in political tactics and marketing campaigns, many are unaware of the strategies for shaping public opinion when it comes to major courtroom battles. This behind-the-scenes analysis of media strategies presents an intriguing, often entertaining curriculum that they do not teach in law school or journalism classes. As the lead counsel in some of the country's most notable cases and a savvy legal commentator with hundreds of television appearances, author Kendall Coffey brings a distinctive combination of depth as a legal practitioner and experience as a media analyst to this insightful, provocative, and practical book.He begins with an historic election fraud trial, relying on his personal experience with the basics of law spin. He guides the reader through an engrossing tour of spinning cases through the ages-including Socrates and Joan of Arc, as well as the Charles Lindbergh kidnapping. Modern cases include the O. J. Simpson trial, the author's own experiences in the Elian Gonzalez controversy-and his thoughts on the possible overwhelming effect that case had on Florida in the controversial 2000 presidential election. Coffey also examines some of the most famous cases of recent times, including those of Michael Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Martha Stewart, Scott Peterson, Gordon Scooter Libby, and impeached former Governor Rod Blagojevich.Along the way, the author exposes many of the myths associated with the law, debunking assumptions about legal concepts ranging from circumstantial evidence and cooperating witnesses to so-called prosecutors' vendettas. Coffey's many entertaining examples and explanations make this book ideal reading for everyone fascinated by celebrity legal problems but must reading for lawyers, public relations professionals, journalists, and media students.Kendall Coffey (Miami, FL), a former U.S. Attorney who headed up the largest federal prosecutors' office in America, is the founding member of and a partner at Coffey Burlington, PL. Following his service as a U.S. Attorney, he was closely involved with the Elian Gonzalez case and the 2000 presidential election recount. A leading media commentator on high-profile cases, he has appeared on the Today show, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Anderson Cooper 360, HLN, and numerous other nationally televised programs.
Author: Barry Friedman
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: 2009-09-29
In recent years, the justices of the Supreme Court have ruled definitively on such issues as abortion, school prayer, and military tribunals in the war on terror. They decided one of American history's most contested presidential elections. Yet for all their power, the justices never face election and hold their offices for life. This combination of influence and apparent unaccountability has led many to complain that there is something illegitimate—even undemocratic—about judicial authority. In The Will of the People, Barry Friedman challenges that claim by showing that the Court has always been subject to a higher power: the American public. Judicial positions have been abolished, the justices' jurisdiction has been stripped, the Court has been packed, and unpopular decisions have been defied. For at least the past sixty years, the justices have made sure that their decisions do not stray too far from public opinion. Friedman's pathbreaking account of the relationship between popular opinion and the Supreme Court—from the Declaration of Independence to the end of the Rehnquist court in 2005—details how the American people came to accept their most controversial institution and shaped the meaning of the Constitution.
Author: Floyd Abrams
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2017-04-25
A lively and controversial overview by the nation's most celebrated First Amendment lawyer of the unique protections for freedom of speech in America The right of Americans to voice their beliefs without government approval or oversight is protected under what may well be the most honored and least understood addendum to the US Constitution--the First Amendment. Floyd Abrams, a noted lawyer and award-winning legal scholar specializing in First Amendment issues, examines the degree to which American law protects free speech more often, more intensely, and more controversially than is the case anywhere else in the world, including democratic nations such as Canada and England. In this lively, powerful, and provocative work, the author addresses legal issues from the adoption of the Bill of Rights through recent cases such as Citizens United. He also examines the repeated conflicts between claims of free speech and those of national security occasioned by the publication of classified material such as was contained in the Pentagon Papers and was made public by WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden.
Author: Cal Clark
Publisher: Lexington Books
Release Date: 2010-11-19
Genre: Political Science
The attitudes of individual citizens play a central role in a democracy. In the United States today, the two major parties are each associated with a broad set of policy positions representing the conservative and liberal political ideologies. The two major parties are becoming increasingly polarized on these ideologies between conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats. This book provides an in-depth examination of public opinion in a single American state, Alabama, to see whether the public opinion of general citizens follows this stereotype of ideological and partisan polarization. Alabama public opinion is analyzed on a fairly wide range of issues, including the quality of public officials, constitutional reform, the role of government in terms of taxes and overall spending, education, health care, religion in public life, crime, and immigration. Alabama is generally perceived as staunchly conservative politically and as a reliably 'red' Republican state in national elections. Yet, public opinion in Alabama is considerably more nuanced and complex than this stereotype in two distinct aspects. First, Alabamians are certainly conservative on many issues, but they are also liberal on a significant number of others. Second, the issue positions of the state's citizens are shaped by three different dynamics in terms of what factors influence specific attitudes. Furthermore a brief analysis of public opinion in the entire United States finds similar patterns. Thus, the current polarization in party politics does not necessarily reflect public opinion in its entirety, suggesting a need to transcend the competing conservative and liberal orthodoxies.
Author: John Paul Stevens
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: 2014-04-22
Genre: Political Science
For the first time ever, a retired Supreme Court Justice offers a manifesto on how the Constitution needs to change. By the time of his retirement in June 2010, John Paul Stevens had become the second longest serving Justice in the history of the Supreme Court. Now he draws upon his more than three decades on the Court, during which he was involved with many of the defining decisions of the modern era, to offer a book like none other. SIX AMENDMENTS is an absolutely unprecedented call to arms, detailing six specific ways in which the Constitution should be amended in order to protect our democracy and the safety and wellbeing of American citizens. Written with the same precision and elegance that made Stevens's own Court opinions legendary for their clarity as well as logic, SIX AMENDMENTS is a remarkable work, both because of its unprecedented nature and, in an age of partisan ferocity, its inarguable common sense.