A carefully reasoned plea for a continuing engagement of the American judiciary in establishing a worldwide rule of law.

THE COURT AND THE WORLD

AMERICAN LAW AND THE NEW GLOBAL REALITIES

A liberal Supreme Court justice takes on a conservative bugbear.

Associate Justice Breyer (Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge's View, 2010, etc.) notes that consideration of the decisions of foreign courts in Supreme Court opinions has recently "sometimes evoked strongly adverse political reactions," even though references to foreign decisions appear from the court's earliest days. The author attempts to allay such concerns by placing the court's modern engagement with foreign law in the context of a global economy. "The objections of critics," he writes, "do not reflect the reality of today's federal court dockets….It is not the cosmopolitanism of some jurists that seeks this kind of engagement but the nature of the world itself that demands it." Breyer argues that as American government and business become more closely enmeshed with foreign governments and with international organizations and commercial interests, federal courts cannot function effectively without taking perceptive account of the decisions and underlying reasoning of other nations' courts. While he acknowledges concerns that decisions based in part on foreign law may lack political legitimacy, particularly in the context of determining what constitutes unacceptable "unusual" punishment under the Eighth Amendment, he dismisses these cases as a sideshow. Breyer illustrates the plethora of international issues confronting the court by examining at length a number of cases involving, for example, the geographical reach of the Securities and Exchange Commission rule prohibiting fraud in securities sales and the interaction between a treaty on a foreign defendant's consular access and American criminal procedure. Breyer's style and exposition are remarkably clear. His summaries of cases are sufficiently detailed to highlight the complexity and subtlety of the issues presented for decision without being entirely daunting to readers outside the legal profession. Nevertheless, few but lawyers will likely have the patience to work through the arguments.

A carefully reasoned plea for a continuing engagement of the American judiciary in establishing a worldwide rule of law.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-101-94619-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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