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In The Mailbox


Two recent, one I’ve been negligent about:

  • Ira Katznelson, Fear Itself:  I’ve been excited about this since first hearing about it, and it looks fantastic.  Expanding on his argument in When Affirmative Action Was White, Katznelson expands on how a reform program deeply compromised by white supremacists nonetheless preserved liberal democracy in a period in which fears about its survival were pervasive (and not necessarily irrational.)   This raises historical, political, and ethical questions of great interest, and Katznelson’s judgment about these questions is usually sound.  I can’t wait to finish and get to a proper write-up.
  • Rose Corrigan, Up Against A Wall — A very rich and fascinating study of what has and hasn’t been achieved by reforms to sexual assault laws.   There are lot of interesting empirical findings with significant theoretical import.   For example, contrary to the frequently made argument that rights discourse can be debilitating and disempowering, Corrigan funds that state agencies have complied with laws requiring the dispensing of emergency contraception at high rates in South Carolina because rape crisis centers have been very conscious about informing victims of their rights, while compliance has been spottier in more favorable contexts because of a failures to mobilize.   The book is full of insights like this; I don’t always agree with her take but I learned an enormous amount.
  • Tracy Lightcap, The Politics of Torture — Another book I need to give a more detailed write-up, but I’ve been negligent in mentioning that longtime friend of LGM Tracy Lightcap has an excellent comparative study explaining why the Bush torture regime happened and why it could easily happened again.   Evidently, intervening events haven’t made him look any less prescient.
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  • rea

    Prosecuting the Bush Adminsitration torturers would be an excellent idea if only we could be relatively certain that juries wouldn’t acquit them.

    • Lurker

      Politically, a good prosecution with a resulting acquittal might be a very useful thing. (Personally, I don’t find it likely. The case would be tried in Washington D.C, where Mr. Bush would find the jury unsymphatetic.) The important thing would be to have a trial and to establish the possibility of a prosecution after the president’s term has ended. This would be a very good thing.

      Having the former president acquitted would simply mean that the risk of civil war or a coup due to conviction would be avoided, and no higher court would have the possibility to give a bad precedent about the questions of law in the case. With acquittal, the case would be closed and SCOTUS could not interfere.

      Jury nullification is something you can’t count on.

  • Following your link I see that the Lightcap book is $90 for a hardcover and $68 on Kindle. Amazon’s pricing algorithms are clearly pro-torture.

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