A timely examination of Alabama’s severely criticized state constitution
Alabama’s present constitution, adopted in 1901, is widely viewed as the source of many, if not most, of the state’s historic difficulties and inequities. Chief among these is a poorly funded school system, an imbalanced tax system that favors special business interests, legislated racism, and unchecked urban sprawl. Many citizens believe that, after 100 years of overburdening amendments and confusing addendums, the constitution urgently needs rewriting.
With this book, Bailey Thomson has assembled the best scholarship on the constitution, its history, and its implications for the future. Historian Harvey H. Jackson III details the degree to which the 1901 document was drafted as a legal tool to ensure white supremacy at the expense of poor whites and blacks, while Joe A. Sumners illustrates how the constitution ties the hands of elected civic leaders by handing authority for local decisions to state government in Montgomery. James W. Williams Jr. explores the impact of the state constitution on the beleaguered tax system and the three principal “revenue crises” it has engendered. Thomson’s own contribution explains how, in contrast to the previous failed attempts for constitutional change by past governors who appealed to their fellow power brokers, the current reform movement arose from the grassroots level.
As citizens and politicians in Alabama review the 1901 constitution for revision, as they navigate the pitfalls and opportunities inherent in change, it is incumbent that they inform themselves adequately on the controversies that have swirled around the constitution since its adoption. The future of Alabama’s government will depend upon it, as will the fortunes of Alabama’s business interests and the well-being of every citizen in the state for years to come.
The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which struck down a federal prohibition on independent corporate campaign expenditures, is one of the most controversial opinions in recent memory. Defenders of the First Amendment greeted the ruling with enthusiasm, while advocates of electoral reform recoiled in disbelief. Robert Post offers a new constitutional theory that seeks to reconcile these sharply divided camps.
Post interprets constitutional conflict over campaign finance reform as an argument between those who believe self-government requires democratic participation in the formation of public opinion and those who believe that self-government requires a functioning system of representation. The former emphasize the value of free speech, while the latter emphasize the integrity of the electoral process. Each position has deep roots in American constitutional history. Post argues that both positions aim to nurture self-government, which in contemporary life can flourish only if elections are structured to create public confidence that elected officials are attentive to public opinion. Post spells out the many implications of this simple but profound insight. Critiquing the First Amendment reasoning of the Court in Citizens United, he also shows that the Court did not clearly grasp the constitutional dimensions of corporate speech.
Blending history, constitutional law, and political theory, Citizens Divided explains how a Supreme Court case of far-reaching consequence might have been decided differently, in a manner that would have preserved both First Amendment rights and electoral integrity.
Regardless how you interpret the statistics, the divorce rate in the United States is staggering. But, what if the government could change this? Would families be better off if new public policies made it more difficult for couples to separate?
This book explores a movement that emerged over the past fifteen years, which aims to do just that. Guided by certain politicians and religious leaders who herald marriage as a solution to a range of longstanding social problems, a handful of state governments enacted "covenant marriage" laws, which require couples to choose between a conventional and a covenant marriage. While the familiar type of union requires little effort to enter and can be terminated by either party unilaterally, covenant marriage requires premarital counseling, an agreement bound by fault-based rules or lengthy waiting periods to exit, and a legal stipulation that divorce can be granted only after the couple has received counseling.
Drawing on interviews with over 700 couples-half of whom have chosen covenant unions-this book not only evaluates the viability of public policy in the intimate affairs of marriage, it also explores how growing public discourse is causing men and women to rethink the meaning of marriage.
Over the past century, tort law and insurance have developed deeply intertwined legal and economic roots. Insurance usually determines whether tort cases are brought to trial, whom plaintiffs sue, how much they claim, who provides the defense, how the case gets litigated, the dynamics of the settlement, and how much plaintiffs ultimately recover. But to what extent should liability rules be influenced by insurance? In this study, Mark Rahdert identifies the leading arguments both in favor of and against what he terms the "insurance rationale"—the idea that tort law should be structured to facilitate victim access to assured compensation.
The insurance rationale has been a leading force in the development of product liability law and, as a component of accident compensation, has significantly influenced pro-plaintiff advances in principal areas of tort law. However, the insurance rationale is also the source of great controversy. Critics charge that liability rules deliberately set to maximize plaintiffs' access to insurance funds have corrupted the system, causing insurance costs to spiral upward uncontrollably. Considering the strengths and weaknesses of both sides of the current debate, Rahdert develops a modified version of the insurance rationale that can become a tool for evaluating future tort reform proposals.
American Sentencing provides an up-to-date and comprehensive overview of efforts in the state and the federal systems to make sentencing fairer, reduce overuse of imprisonment, and help offenders live law-abiding lives. It addresses a variety of topics and themes related to sentencing and reform, including racial disparities, violence prediction, plea negotiation, case processing, federal and state guidelines, California’s historic “realignment,” and more.
This volume covers what students, scholars, practitioners, and policy makers need to know about how sentencing really works, what a half century’s “reforms” have and have not accomplished, how sentencing processes can be made fairer, and how sentencing outcomes can be made more just. Its writers are among America’s leading scholarly specialists—often the leading specialist—in their fields.
Clearly and accessibly written, American Sentencing is ideal for teaching use in seminars and courses on sentencing, courts, and criminal justice. Its authors’ diverse perspectives shed light on these issues, making it likely the single, most authoritative source of information on the state of sentencing in America today.
In an era of polarization, narrow party majorities, and increasing use of supermajority requirements in the Senate, policy entrepreneurs must find ways to reach across the aisle and build bipartisan coalitions in Congress. One such coalition-building strategy is the “politics of efficiency,” or reform that is aimed at eliminating waste from existing policies and programs. After all, reducing inefficiency promises to reduce costs without cutting benefits, which should appeal to members of both political parties, especially given tight budgetary constraints in Washington.
Dust-Up explores the most recent congressional efforts to reform asbestos litigation—a case in which the politics of efficiency played a central role and seemed likely to prevail. Yet, these efforts failed to produce a winning coalition, even though reform could have saved billions of dollars and provided quicker compensation to victims of asbestos-related diseases. Why? The answers, as Jeb Barnes deftly illustrates, defy conventional wisdom and force us to rethink the political effects of litigation and the dynamics of institutional change in our fragmented policymaking system.
Set squarely at the intersection of law, politics, and public policy, Dust-Up provides the first in-depth analysis of the political obstacles to Congress in replacing a form of litigation that nearly everyone—Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, presidents, and experts—agrees is woefully inefficient and unfair to both victims and businesses. This concise and accessible case study includes a glossary of terms and study questions, making it a perfect fit for courses in law and public policy, congressional politics, and public health.
Libby Adler offers a comprehensive critique of the mainstream LGBT legal agenda in the United States, showing how LGBT equal rights discourse drives legal advocates toward a narrow array of reform objectives that do little to help the lives of the most marginalized members of the LGBT community.
Global Prescriptions scrutinizes the movement to export a U.S.-oriented version of the " rule of law," found in the activities of philanthropic foundations, the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and several other developmental organizations. Yves Dezalay and Bryant G. Garth have brought together a group of scholars from a variety of disciplines--anthropology, economics, history, law, political science, and sociology--to create tools for understanding this movement.
Comprised of two sections, the volume first develops theoretical perspectives key to an understanding of the production and impact of new "global legal prescriptions." The second part shifts attention to the national importation of these legal orthodoxies. The scholars provide a diverse set of sophisticated approaches, both to the circumstances promoting the production of these prescriptions and to the limitations of the prescriptions in the different national settings. Thus, Global Prescriptions provides a unique treatment for readers interested in globalization generally or the potential spread of the "rule of law" in particular.
This volume will intrigue scholars and students interested in a political science, economics, history, anthropology, law, and sociology.
Contributors are Jeremy Adelman, Robert Boyer, Elizabeth Heger Boyle, Miguel Angel Centeno, Heinz Klug, Larissa Adler Lomnitz, John W. Meyer, Setsuo Miyazawa, Hiroshi Otsuka, Rodrigo Salazar, Kathryn Sikkink, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Catalina Smulovitz.
Yves Dezalay is Director of Research, National Center for Scientific Research, Paris. Bryant G. Garth is Director of the American Bar Foundation.
Going to Court to Change Japan takes us inside movements dealing with causes as disparate as death by overwork, the rights of the deaf, access to prisoners on death row, consumer product safety, workers whose companies go bankrupt, and persons convicted of crimes they did not commit. Each of the six fascinating case studies stands on its own as a detailed account of how a social movement has persisted against heavy odds to pursue a cause through the use of the courts.
The studies pay particular attention to the relationship between the social movement and the lawyers who handle their cases, usually pro bono or for minimal fees. Through these case studies we learn much about how the law operates in Japan as well as how social movements mobilize and innovate to pursue their goals using legal channels. The book also provides a general introduction to the Japanese legal system and a look at how recent legal reforms are working.
Going to Court to Change Japan will interest social scientists, lawyers, and anyone interested in the inner workings of contemporary Japan. It is suitable for use in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses on Japan in social sciences and law, and can also provide a comparative perspective to general courses in these fields. Contributors include John H. Davis Jr., Daniel H. Foote, Patricia L. Maclachlan, Karen Nakamura, Scott North, Patricia G. Steinhoff, and Christena Turner.
How does globalization work? Focusing on Latin America, Yves Dezalay and Bryant G. Garth show that exports of expertise and ideals from the United States to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico have played a crucial role in transforming their state forms and economies since World War II.
Based on more than 300 extensive interviews with major players in governments, foundations, law firms, universities, and think tanks, Dezalay and Garth examine both the production of northern exports such as neoliberal economics and international human rights law and the ways they are received south of the United States. They find that the content of what is exported and how it fares are profoundly shaped by domestic struggles for power and influence—"palace wars"—in the nations involved. For instance, challenges to the eastern intellectual establishment influenced the Reagan-era export of University of Chicago-style neoliberal economics to Chile, where it enjoyed a warm reception from Pinochet and his allies because they could use it to discredit the previous regime.
Innovative and sophisticated, The Internationalization of Palace Wars offers much needed concrete information about the transnational processes that shape our world.
It’s a common complaint: the United States is overrun by rules and procedures that shackle professional judgment, have no valid purpose, and serve only to appease courts and lawyers. Charles R. Epp argues, however, that few Americans would want to return to an era without these legalistic policies, which in the 1970s helped bring recalcitrant bureaucracies into line with a growing national commitment to civil rights and individual dignity.
Focusing on three disparate policy areas—workplace sexual harassment, playground safety, and police brutality in both the United States and the United Kingdom—Epp explains how activists and professionals used legal liability, lawsuit-generated publicity, and innovative managerial ideas to pursue the implementation of new rights. Together, these strategies resulted in frameworks designed to make institutions accountable through intricate rules, employee training, and managerial oversight. Explaining how these practices became ubiquitous across bureaucratic organizations, Epp casts today’s legalistic state in an entirely new light.
The events of September 11, 2001, combined with a pattern of increased crime and violence in the 1980s and mid-1990s in the Americas, has crystallized the need to reform government policies and police procedures to combat these threats. Public Security and Police Reform in the Americas examines the problems of security and how they are addressed in Latin America and the United States. Bailey and Dammert detail the wide variation in police tactics and efforts by individual nations to assess their effectiveness and ethical accountability. Policies on this issue can take the form of authoritarianism, which threatens the democratic process itself, or can, instead, work to “demilitarize” the police force. Bailey and Dammert argue that although attempts to apply generic models such as the successful “zero tolerance” created in the United States to the emerging democracies of Latin America—where institutional and economic instabilities exist—may be inappropriate, it is both possible and profitable to consider these issues from a common framework across national boundaries. Public Security and Police Reform in the Americas lays the foundation for a greater understanding of policies between nations by examining their successes and failures and opens a dialogue about the common goal of public security.
International law burst on the scene as a new field in the late nineteenth century. Where did it come from? Rage for Order finds the origins of international law in empires—especially in the British Empire’s sprawling efforts to refashion the imperial constitution and use it to order the world in the early part of that century.
“Rage for Order is a book of exceptional range and insight. Its successes are numerous. At a time when questions of law and legalism are attracting more and more attention from historians of 19th-century Britain and its empire, but still tend to be considered within very specific contexts, its sweep and ambition are particularly welcome…Rage for Order is a book that deserves to have major implications both for international legal history, and for the history of modern imperialism.” —Alex Middleton, Reviews in History
“Rage for Order offers a fresh account of nineteenth-century global order that takes us beyond worn liberal and post-colonial narratives into a new and more adventurous terrain.” —Jens Bartelson, Australian Historical Studies
In Reconstructing Justice, Franklin Strier doesn't simply describe problems with the American trial system; he proposes reforms. Arguing that lawyers need to share more power with the judge and jury, Strier recommends ways we can retain and improve our basic adversarial system. He suggests we eliminate peremptory challenges, give judges the authority to ask questions of witnesses, and limit the number of expert witnesses. Drawing from a wide variety of sources, including case histories, scholarly works, Blackstone's Commentaries, and The Federalist Papers, he argues that judicial reform is not only possible, but—because of the increased public coverage of trials and understanding of the need for reform—inevitable.
Franklin Strier brings this critical look at trial reform up to date with a new preface in which he discusses how the inordinate amount of public attention of the O. J. Simpson trial, and the power the attorneys had over the court in that case, shed new light on the trial system's weaknesses and inequities.
"Anyone with an interest in courtroom trials will be fascinated by Strier's analysis of the game of law and suggestions for reforming the trail system to provide justice in a greater number of cases. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice
In recent years critics have assailed the cost, inefficiency, and unfairness of American tort law, including products liability and medical malpractice. Yet victims of accidental injury who look to the tort system for deserved compensation often find it a formidable obstacle. Those who seek to reform tort law find legislatures, particularly the United States Congress, paralyzed by the clash of powerful special interest groups.
Understanding Enterprise Liability sheds new light on the raging tort reform debate by challenging its fundamental assumptions. Offering historical insights and fresh perspectives on the politics and possibilities for sensible reform, Virginia Nolan and Edmund Ursin pragmatically assess alternative routes to a workable, balanced, and equitable system of compensation for personal injury. They offer a specific proposal, based on the precedent of strict products liability that incorporates the insights of no-fault compensation plan scholarship to create an enterprise liability doctrine that should appeal to courts and to tort reformers.
Despite three decades of intense scrutiny and repeated attempts at ambitious reform, our laws against rape and sexual harassment still fail to protect women from sexual overreaching and abuse. What went wrong? In this original, provocative, and enlightening work, Stephen Schulhofer, a distinguished scholar in criminal law, shows the need to refocus our laws against rape and to create a new system of legal safeguards against interference with sexual autonomy.
Our laws provide comprehensive protection for property rights, labor, and other important interests, but sexual autonomy--the right to choose freely whether and when to be sexually intimate with another person--is devalued and ignored. With vivid examples, including stranger assaults, date rapes, and sexual encounters between job supervisors and subordinates, teachers and students, doctors and patients, lawyers and clients, Schulhofer shows that recent reforms of rape and sexual harassment law are overrated and inadequate. From the excessive degree of force necessary for an aggressive action to be defined as rape, to the gray areas in which coercion and exploitation can be used to elicit a false but legally valid "consent," Schulhofer offers a clear analysis of the limits of current standards. His proposals for a radically different approach hold the promise of genuine respect and effective protection for the sexual autonomy of both women and men. It is an ambitious yet sensible vision, committed to allowing willing partners to seek consensual relationships, while fully protecting each person's right to refuse sexual encounters that are not genuinely desired.
Suppose Congress were to change Social Security just before you retired? Or repeal income tax deductions for homeowners? Or institute a flat tax? Should those changes be retroactive? Or should you retain the gains or accept the losses resulting from the new enactments? What kinds of policies might governments adopt in order to mitigate the transitional effects of changing legal rules?
Daniel Shaviro tackles these tough questions, bringing legal, economic, and political perspectives to bear on a persistent problem not often given serious attention. When Rules Change: An Economic and Political Analysis of Transition Relief and Retroactivity focuses on tax law changes to develop an in-depth understanding of the transitional issues inherent in any substantive rule change and also to advance a set of normative policy guidelines applicable to any such circumstance. Shaviro reframes traditional approaches to the problem of retroactivity and offers new insights into both the theory and policy of legislative transitions.