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Law's Trials
The Performance of Legal Institutions in the US 'War on Terror'

$52.99 (P)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Law and Society

  • Date Published: August 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108453332

$ 52.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • The US 'war on terror' has repeatedly violated fundamental rule of law values. When executive and legislature commit such egregious wrongs, courts represent the ultimate defense. Law's Trials: The Performance of Legal Institutions in the US 'War on Terror' offers the first comprehensive account of judicial performance during the sixteen years of the Bush and Obama administrations. Abel examines criminal prosecutions of alleged terrorists, courts martial of military personnel accused of law of war violations, military commission trials of 'high value detainees', habeas corpus petitions by Guantánamo detainees, civil damage actions by victims of both the 'war on terror' and terrorism, and civil liberties violations by government officials and Islamophobic campaigners. Law's Trials identifies successful defenses of the rule of law through qualitative and quantitative analyses, comparing the behavior of judges within and between each category of cases and locating those actions in a comparative history of efforts to redress fundamental injustices.

    • Covers all the ways in which courts have dealt with threats to the rule of law during the sixteen years of the Bush and Obama administrations
    • Focuses on the defense of the rule of law during the US 'war on terror'
    • The book is social scientific rather than doctrinal
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘A richly detailed and important work that describes critical shifts in US counter-terrorism law and policy since 9/11. Examining such issues as military detention, torture, and religious discrimination, this book provides invaluable insights into the role of law and legal institutions in America.' Jonathan Hafetz, Seton Hall Law School

    ‘Richard L. Abel's comprehensive work on the role of the courts in post 9/11 America illuminates the perilous course traversed by the rule of law in the war on terror. Bringing to life the challenges faced by the country's judges, as well as the rhetoric, reasoning and consequences of their decisions, Law's Trials is a must read for anyone who cares about the law and its role in America.' Karen J. Greenberg, author of Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State

    ‘Law's Trials is a remarkable achievement, beginning with the near-encyclopedic coverage of all interactions between the judiciary and those accused of terrorism. But it is far more inasmuch as Abel also asks probing questions about the circumstances under which we should expect courts and judges to defend civil liberties against the combined weight of the state and public opinion willing to sacrifice those liberties as part of a ‘war on terror'.' Sanford Levinson, author of Framed: America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108453332
    • length: 859 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 47 mm
    • weight: 1.3kg
    • contains: 15 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Judging the judges
    2. Criminal prosecutions
    3. Courts martial
    4. Military commissions
    5. Habeas corpus
    6. Civil damage actions
    7. Civil liberties
    8. Reversible error?

  • Author

    Richard L. Abel, University of California, Los Angeles
    Richard L. Abel is Connell Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus and Distinguished Research Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the former President of the Law and Society Association, former Vice President of the International Sociological Association Research Committee on Sociology of Law, and a prize winner in both. He is the author of Speaking Respect, Respecting Speech (1998), Politics by Other Means: Law in the Struggle against Apartheid, 1980–94 (1995), as well as numerous other books on lawyers and the legal profession.

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