As always, Ziegler is a clear explainer of a complex, gray-shaded body of law.

ROE

THE HISTORY OF A NATIONAL OBSESSION

An accessible account of the legal issues surrounding Roe v. Wade and the many layers of controversy surrounding them.

The author of Dollars for Life: The Anti-Abortion Movement and the Fall of the Republican Establishment and other books about abortion and the law in America, Ziegler opens with the observation that Roe is the only Supreme Court–adjudicated law concerning abortion. For example, part of the decision was overruled in the 1992 Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey decision. Still, “Roe has become the repository for the contradictions of the American abortion war,” which extend well beyond abortion: Does a woman have the right to control her own body? Does life begin at conception? Does the federal government have the right to make laws that should be the purview of individual states? Ziegler digs deep to look at novel approaches to litigation, with some anti-abortion groups, for instance, using the 14th Amendment to equate the unborn with the enslaved, with “their humanity denied by others who perpetrated acts of unspeakable violence against them.” Other interpretations have centered on science, with both pro-choice and anti-abortion activists insisting that the scientific evidence is on their side. Interestingly, Ziegler writes, the religious liberty aspect of Roe came to the fore relatively recently, when “conservative Christian groups…framed legal abortion and LGBTIQ rights as forcing Christians to forsake their own beliefs.” Interestingly, too, Roe was from the outset criticized as poorly framed. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who would become the Supreme Court’s most vocal defender of abortion rights, often argued that Roe went too far too fast and undermined the pro-choice movement’s earlier progress,” writes Ziegler. Following Roe’s overturning by a Supreme Court that has been revealed as a partisan rather than impartial body, a newly “robust popular constitutionalism” may arise by which states guarantee the right of choice through citizen action.

As always, Ziegler is a clear explainer of a complex, gray-shaded body of law.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9780300266108

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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A sharp, entertaining view of the news media from one of its star players.

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GOING THERE

The veteran newscaster reflects on her triumphs and hardships, both professional and private.

In this eagerly anticipated memoir, Couric (b. 1957) transforms the events of her long, illustrious career into an immensely readable story—a legacy-preserving exercise, for sure, yet judiciously polished and insightful, several notches above the fray of typical celebrity memoirs. The narrative unfolds through a series of lean chapters as she recounts the many career ascendency steps that led to her massively successful run on the Today Show and comparably disappointing stints as CBS Evening News anchor, talk show host, and Yahoo’s Global News Anchor. On the personal front, the author is candid in her recollections about her midlife adventures in the dating scene and deeply sorrowful and affecting regarding the experience of losing her husband to colon cancer as well as the deaths of other beloved family members, including her sister and parents. Throughout, Couric maintains a sharp yet cool-headed perspective on the broadcast news industry and its many outsized personalities and even how her celebrated role has diminished in recent years. “It’s AN ADJUSTMENT when the white-hot spotlight moves on,” she writes. “The ego gratification of being the It girl is intoxicating (toxic being the root of the word). When that starts to fade, it takes some getting used to—at least it did for me.” Readers who can recall when network news coverage and morning shows were not only relevant, but powerfully influential forces will be particularly drawn to Couric’s insights as she tracks how the media has evolved over recent decades and reflects on the negative effects of the increasing shift away from reliable sources of informed news coverage. The author also discusses recent important cultural and social revolutions, casting light on issues of race and sexual orientation, sexism, and the predatory behavior that led to the #MeToo movement. In that vein, she expresses her disillusionment with former co-host and friend Matt Lauer.

A sharp, entertaining view of the news media from one of its star players.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-53586-1

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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