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Other titles in the Inalienable Rights series:
Not a Suicide Pact: The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency (Inalienable Rights)by Richard A Posner
Synopses & Reviews
Eavesdropping on the phone calls of U.S. citizens; demands by the FBI for records of library borrowings; establishment of military tribunals to try suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens — many of the measures taken by the Bush administration since 9/11 have sparked heated protests. In Not a Suicide Pact, Judge Richard A. Posner offers a cogent and elegant response to these protests, arguing that personal liberty must be balanced with public safety in the face of grave national danger.
Critical of civil libertarians who balk at any curtailment of their rights, even in the face of an unprecedented terrorist threat in an era of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Posner takes a fresh look at the most important constitutional issues that have arisen since 9/11. These issues include the constitutional rights of terrorist suspects (whether American citizens or not) to habeas corpus and due process, and their rights against brutal interrogation (including torture) and searches based on less than probable cause. Posner argues that terrorist activity is sui generis — it is neither war nor crime — and it demands a tailored response, one that gives terror suspects fewer constitutional rights than persons suspected of ordinary criminal activity. Constitutional law must remain fluid, protean, and responsive to the pressure of contemporary events. Posner stresses the limits of law in regulating national security measures and underscores the paradoxical need to recognize a category of government conduct that is at once illegal and morally obligatory.
One of America's top legal thinkers, Posner does not pull punches. He offers readers a short, sharp book with astrong point of view that is certain to generate much debate.
"Posner, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, inaugurates a new series on inalienable rights. The series is intended to stimulate debate, and Posner's work will do exactly that, drilling energetically into a set of issues raised by what he sees as an unprecedented emergency. In the fact of terrorism and the threat of WMDs, he argues, the scope of constitutional rights must be adjusted — i.e., narrowed — in a pragmatic but rational manner. Saying we must balance the harm new security measures inflict on personal liberty against the increased security those measures provide, Posner comes down, in most but not quite all respects, on the side of increased government power. He advocates that coercive and even brutal forms of interrogation should be allowed in proper circumstances, that all communications within the United States should be subject to interception, and that government should have authority to enjoin publication of classified information. Posner (An Affair of State) would impose limits and qualifications on these assertions of government power, but even so, his views will provoke Category 5 protest from civil libertarians. You may agree with or be appalled by Posner's cost-benefit analyses, but the author's premises are explicit, his writing is economical and precise, and he ably makes the case for his side in the national debate. (Sept. 18)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Many of the measures taken by the Bush administration since 9/11 have sparkedheated protests. Judge Richard A. Posner offers a cogent and elegant responseto these protests, arguing that personal liberty must be balanced with publicsafety in the face of grave national danger.
About the Author
Richard A. Posner is Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago, and lectures at the University of Chicago Law School. He is the author of many books and articles, including Overcoming Law and An Affair of State, both of which were picked by The New York Times Book Review as among the best books of their year.
This is inaugural volume in Oxford's new fourteen-book Inalienable Rights Series. Each book will be a short, analytically sharp exploration of a particular right — to bear arms, to religious freedom, to free speech — clarifying the issues swirling around these rights and challenging us to rethink our most cherished freedoms.
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History and Social Science » Law » Civil Liberties and Human Rights