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MATTHEW HERRINGTON
DON'T JUST DO SOMETHING, STAND THERE:
A REVIEW OF ROBERT ALAN DAHL'S RECENT BOOK ON DEMOCRACY AND THE CONSTITUTION
FindLaw book reviewer and attorney Matthew Herrington discusses Professor Robert Alan Dahl's new book, How Democratic is the American Constitution? Herrington argues that while Dahl is correct that the Constitution is less democratic than it might be, we should actually be thankful for that. Herrington also takes on Dahl's comparison between our system and those of countries such as Israel and Italy, and Dahl's contentions concerning Madison's view of political parties.
Friday, May. 10, 2002

RODGER D. CITRON
AN UNDERRATED JUSTICE WHO HELMED A SUPREME COURT IN TRANSITION:
A REVIEW OF A RECENT POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY OF JUSTICE FRED VINSON
FindLaw book reviewer, former Writ editor, and attorney Rodger Citron assesses a recent biography of Supreme Court Justice Fred Vinson, by James St. Clair and Linda Gugin. Citron notes that the biography is interesting not only because it provides a compelling portrait of Vinson as a man, but also because it turns the conventional wisdom about the Justice on its head. Legal historians have generally postulated that Vinson's death allowed Warren Court advances in civil rights law such as Brown v. Board of Education, but the authors say this is not so.
Friday, May. 03, 2002

ROSS DAVIES
AN ACCEPTABLE PRESIDENT IN SPITE OF HIMSELF:
A REVIEW OF GARRY WILLS'S JAMES MADISON
FindLaw book reviewer, attorney, and Green Bag editor Ross Davies weighs in on historian Garry Wills's biography of the "semi-forgotten" presidency of James Madison, far better known as one of the Constitution's framers. While finding Wills's account engaging, Davies takes issue, among other points, with Wills's characterization of Madison as relatively naive and provincial.
Friday, Apr. 26, 2002

MARCI HAMILTON
GETTING TO KNOW THE FIRST FEMALE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE:
SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR'S ACCOUNT OF HER LIFE ON THE LAZY B RANCH
FindLaw columnist and Cardozo law professor Marci Hamilton -- a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor -- discusses Justice O'Connor and her brother's memoir of growing up on their family's farm in the Southwest, Lazy B. Hamilton explores the insights Lazy B affords into both Justice O'Connor's personality and her jurisprudence.
Friday, Apr. 19, 2002

JULIE HILDEN
HOW TO SUCCEED AT HARVARD AND STANFORD LAW SCHOOLS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING:
A REVIEW OF ROBERT EBERT BYRNES & JAIME MARQUART'S BRUSH WITH THE LAW
FindLaw columnist, attorney and author Julie Hilden reviews a recent memoir by two former law students determined to counteract the portraits of law school drawn by One L and The Paper Chase. For Robert Ebert Byrnes and Jaime Marquart, law school had more to do with "class-ditching, orgies, hookers, hard drugs, and card-counting" than with the Socractic method. Hilden assesses their Harvard-meets-Hunter-S.-Thompson account of law school life. An interview with the authors can be found here.
Friday, Apr. 12, 2002

ELAINE CASSEL
THE PRISONIZATION OF AMERICA AS A SHAMEFUL SOCIAL PROBLEM:
A REVIEW OF HARD TIME BLUES: HOW POLITICS BUILT A PRISON NATION
FindLaw book reviewer and attorney Elaine Cassel assesses Sasha Abramsky's Hard Time Blues, an account of how politics over the past few decades has resulted in the United States' incarcerating more people for more offenses than any other country in the free world, with our prison population quintupling over the last 30 years. Abramsky's narrative, which focuses on "Three Strikes" laws such as California's, is all the more timely now that the Supreme Court has decided to review the constitutionality of such laws.
Friday, Apr. 05, 2002

LAURA HODES
FOUR CHARISMATIC WOMEN VERSUS ONE SERIAL KILLER:
A REVIEW OF JAMES PATTERSON'S THRILLER SECOND CHANCE
FindLaw book reviewer and attorney Laura Hodes notes the flaws and virtues of James Patterson's thriller Second Chance, written with Andrew Gross. Among other points, Hodes assesses how well the book depicts the personal lives and work obstacles of the four women, all in different law enforcement-related jobs, who band together to try to track down a San Francisco serial killer, even when it means putting themselves at grave risk.
Friday, Mar. 29, 2002

JOHN W. DEAN
WRITINGS OF AN INFLUENTIAL AND CONTROVERSIAL FOUNDER:
ALEXANDER HAMILTON'S PAPERS, EDITED BY JOANNE FREEMAN
FindLaw book reviewer and columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean reviews a recent Library of America collection of the papers of Alexander Hamilton, edited by Yale history professor and expert on dueling Joanne Freeman. As Dean notes, the volume contains much more than the Federalist Papers Hamilton wrote -- including Hamilton's public letter dispelling an accusation of corruption with an admission of adultery, and a number of writings relating to the notorious Burr-Hamilton duel -- such as the letter Hamilton penned to be given to his wife if he were to die.
Friday, Mar. 22, 2002

JOEL ZAND
A TRUE-CRIME TALE, BY INVITATION ONLY:
A REVIEW OF ANN RULE'S EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE
FindLaw book reviewer and senior producer, and attorney Joel Zand assesses Ann Rule's Every Breath You Take. As Zand explains, the book is a true crime story with an intriguing genesis -- the victim, knowing she might be killed by her ex-husband, left a note for her sister requesting that Rule write her story in the event that she was murdered. Zand explains the book's virtues and its flaws, and considers why Rule's background may have led her to grant the wish of the victim, Sheila Bullush.
Friday, Mar. 15, 2002

MATTHEW HERRINGTON
AN EXPERT WITNESS REPORT ON THE HOLOCAUST, AND ITS DENIERS:
A REVIEW OF THE CASE FOR AUSCHWITZ: EVIDENCE FROM THE IRVING TRIAL
FindLaw book reviewer and attorney Matthew Herrington discusses a recent book by Robert Jan van Pelt, a historian who served as an expert witness in the libel suit that another historian, David Irving, brought against Penguin Books in Britain. Irving claimed Penguin had defamed him by suggesting that he had distorted the historical record in order to support a theory of Holocaust denial. As Herrington explains, van Pelt's book not only discusses the evidence about the Holocaust, and about Auschwitz's use as a death camp that Penguin used at trial to rebut Irving's claims, but also raises more abstract questions about proof and evidence in general.
Friday, Mar. 08, 2002

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