at Seattle University Law Library

 

Deliberative democracy and human rights, edited by Harold Hongju Koh and Ronald C. Slye. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1999. JC423.D3894 1999

From the cover: In this important collection of writings, leading legal and political thinkers address a wide array of issues that confront societies undergoing a transition to democratic rule. Bridging the gap between theory and practice in international human rights law and policy, the contributors continue discussions that were begun with the late Argentine philosopher-lawyer Carlos Santiago Nino, then extend those conversations in new directions inspired by their own and Nino's work.

The book focuses on some of the key questions that confront the international human rights movement today. What is the moral justification for the concept and content of universal human rights? What is the relationship among nation-building, constitutionalism, and democracy? What are the political implications for a conception of universal human rights? What is the relationship between moral principles and political practice? How should a society confront what Kant called radical evil? And how does a successor regime justly and practically hold a prior regime accountable for gross violations of human rights?

Harold Hongju Koh is Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at Yale Law School.

Ronald C. Slye is associate professor at Seattle University School of Law.

Return to top

   
   

The clone age: adventures in the new world of reproductive technology by Lori B. Andrews. New York: Henry Holt, 1999. RG133.5.A57 1999

From the cover: Lori Andrews passed her bar exam the day the first test-tube baby was born. Since then she has become the world's most visible expert on the legal and ethical implications of reproductive technology. She is sought after to assess the entanglements of surrogate motherhood, the ethics of creating babies from dead men's sperm, and the propriety of human cloning.

In this provocative memoir, Andrews tells how she has explored the ethical and legal ramifications of a vast array of developments in this exploding and unregulated field. Along the way, she addresses profound and disturbing questions: Is a human embryo property, a person, or something else entirely? Should parents be able to buy genes for superior intelligence or athletic ability for their children? Should doctors and scientists be allowed to profit from patenting their patients' genes?

Infertility is now a $2 billion-a-year industry. Couples spend up to $200,000 to achieve a single pregnancy, and their doctors are now the highest paid in the medical profession. As Andrews explains, cutthroat competition has forced doctors to resort to extreme measures to ensure positive results for their patients, including using unnecessary fertility drugs and dangerous experimentation. There are hundreds of clinics in the United States and around the world with the capacity to clone human beings, and few legal restraints to stop them. Not only can people clone themselves with legal impunity, but if a stranger wanted to make a clone of you--say, from hair follicles collected at the barbershop--you couldn't stop him. Under current law, people have little control over their body tissue and genes once these materials leave their body.

Over the last twenty years, Andrews has faced all these issues. In The Clone Age, she unmasks the bizarre motives and methods of a new breed of doctors and scientists and addresses the wrenching issues we face as venture capital floods medical research, technology races ahead of legal and ethical ground rules, and ordinary people struggle to maintain both human dignity and their own emotional balance.

Lori B. Andrews is a professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law and the director of the Institute for Science, Law, and Technology.

Read a review in the New York Times Book Review, September 19, 1999, available on LEXIS

Return to top

   
   
 

From social justice to criminal justice: poverty and the administration of criminal law, edited by William C. Heffernan and John Kleinig. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. HV9950.F79 2000

From the cover: The economically deprived come into contact with the criminal court system in sorely disproportionate numbers. Should economic deprivation then figure in the administration of criminal law? And if so, how? This collection of original, insightful essays explores the troubling questions and etchical dilemmas inherent in this stituation.

Do those living under economic and social hardship have the same social obligations as the more fortunate, or does their hardship in some way exempt them from the formal obligations of civil society? Does their encounter with the criminal justice system itself reflect their vulnerable--or even an ascribed--status? To what extent, if any, should we provide public resources for their passage through the criminal justice system? In different ways, the eleven essays in the collection illustrate not only the ideological diversity that informs debates about these questions, but also the extent to which a consensus might be reached. The essays examine such practical issues as heightened vulnerability, indigent representation, and rotten social background defenses. They also explore whether it is possible and warranted for deprivation to be accepted as a claim mitigating criminal liability. Ultimately, they address whether and how the processes of criminal adjudication should be used to advance agendas of social justice.

The contributors, including well-known legal and political philosophers Philip Pettit, George Fletcher, and Jeremy Waldron, draw from a broad ideological spectrum to offer comprehensive coverage of these pressing issues.

William C. Heffernan is Associate Professor of Law at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

John Kleinig is Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Law and Police Science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, and director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics.

Return to top

   
   

Phantom risk: scientific inference and the law, edited by Kenneth R. Foster, David E. Bernstein, Peter W. Huber. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1999. K487.S3 P43 1999

From the cover: Phantom risks are risks whose very existence is unproven and perhaps unprovable, yet they raise real problems at the interface of science and the law. Phantom Risk surveys a dozen scientific issues that have led to public controversy and litigation--among them, miscarriage from the use of video display terminals, birth defects in children whose mothers used the drug Bendectin, and cancer from low-intensity magnetic fields and from airborne asbestos. It presents the scientific evidence behind these and other issues and summarizes the resulting litigation. Focusing on the great disparity between the scientific evidence that is sufficient to arouse public fears and that needed to establish a hazard or its absence, these original contributions probe the problem of scientific ambiguity in risk assessment, and the mayhem this creates in the courtroom.

Kenneth R. Foster is Associate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. David E. Bernstein is associate professor at George Mason University School of Law. Peter W. Huber is Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Read a review on JURIST

Return to top

   
   

Leaving the bench: Supreme Court justices at the end by David N. Atkinson. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1999. KF8744.A98 1999

From the cover: Suffering from a bad heart, emphysema, glaucoma, and deafness, Thurgood Marshall finally retired from the Supreme Court at the age of 82 in spite of having always claimed "I was appointed to a life term, and I intend to serve it." Many observers felt he should have left much earlier.

Life appointments make Supreme Court justices among the most powerful officials in government and allow even dysfunctional judges to stay on long after they should have departed. For that reason, when a justice leaves the bench is often as controversial as when he's appointed. This first comprehensive historical treatment of their deaths, resignations, and retirements explains when and why justices do step down. It considers the diverse circumstances under which they leave office and clarifies why they often are reluctant to, showing how factors like pensions, party loyalty, or personal pride come into play. It also relates physical ailments to mental faculties, offering examples of how a justice's disability sometimes affects Court decisions.

David Atkinson examines each of the nearly 100 men who have left the bench and provides anecdotal glimpses into the lives of famous and obscure justices alike. He reveals how men like Salmon Chase and William O. Douglas determinedly continued to serve after suffering strokes, how Joseph McKenna persevered despite knowing he was professionally unqualified, and how, long before Thurgood Marshall, the ailing octogenarian Gabriel Duvall finally retired after struggling to protect another ideological position on the Court.

Ultimately, Atkinson shows just how human these people are and enhances our understanding of how the Court conducts its business. He also suggests specific ways to improve the present situation, weighing the pros and cons of mandatory retirement and calling for reform in the delegation of duties to law clerks--who in recent years have dominated the actual writing of many justices' decisions.

As the current Court ages, how long might we expect justices to remain on the bench? Because our next president will likely make several appointments, now is the time to consider what shape the Supreme Court will take in the next century. Offering a wealth of information never before collected, Leaving the Bench provides substantial grist for that debate and will serve as an unimpeachable reference on the Court.

David N. Atkinson is Curators' Distinguished Teaching Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri­Kansas City, where he is also professor of political science and law at the School of Law.

Read an interview with the author from C-SPAN's Booknotes

Review: David Andrew Price, Judging When It's Time to Go, WALL ST. J., Aug. 11, 1999, at A16, available on WESTLAW

Return to top

Return to newsletter