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America on Trial: Inside the Legal Battles That Transformed Our Nation

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2004

    Dershowitz's Vendetta

    This book was a fascinating trip through American history. It is a shame that Dershowitz tainted his work with his radically liberal commentary on many of the cases presented. After completion of the book, it was easy to conclude that he had an ax to grind as he wrote the comments. Dershowitz was obviously incensed at the Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore, and he set out to destroy anything resembling a conservative point of view. He makes several arguments in this case that I will take issue with. The ease with which his arguments in Bush v. Gore can be broken down is indicative of the ease with which most of his liberal comments throughout the book can be broken down. First: Dershowitz talks about what the five justices believed. He said they believed they were deciding the presidency of the United States. He says they believed that Gore would have won if the recount were to continue. He gives no factual data to prove his comments on their beliefs; no written statements, no quotations, no personal journal entries, nothing. As a lawyer Dershowitz should know that what he believes that they believed would not be a reliable testimony in a court of law and he was not convincing to me. Second: Dershowitz uses as an argument that HE HAD BEEN TOLD that one of the Supreme Court justices had said,¿ If the Florida Supreme Court is going to act like a bunch of Democratic political hacks, well, by God, we will act like a bunch of Republican political hacks.¿ Now this is a highly incriminating statement but my question is this? Who told Dershowitz this? Which justice made this statement? This statement sounds like a classic lie issued by a liberal (maybe Dershowitz himself) who is whining about Gore's loss. But more importantly, as a lawyer, Dershowitz should know that hearsay evidence is not permissible in a court of law and it is highly suspect that he would use this as part of his argument. Third: Dershowitz said that the five justices voted in accord with their political affiliations. I am not convinced that the four dissenting justices were not the ones in error, that they were not voting in a partisan manner, or that their votes upheld the constitution of the United States of America. Let¿s make the highly speculative assumption that they were acting in a partisan manner. In Dershowitz comments about the Roe v. Wade case, he states, ¿The justices have made up their minds on how they are going to vote before the briefs are written or the cases argued.¿ This decision has resulted in the murder of millions of completely innocent children. Where is the outrage? Where is Dershowitz¿s condemnation of that Supreme Court? The only complication of the Bush v. Gore decision is that a few Democrats got their feathers ruffled. Fourth: He says that ¿Even if it were true that some Florida justices may have acted in a partisan manner, this would not justify a decision by U.S. Supreme Court justices.¿ What is the job of the Supreme Court if not to correct mistakes by lower courts? Fifth: Dershowitz talks as if the credibility of the Supreme Court has been irreparably damaged by this so called incorrect decision. He says, ¿can we trust the Supreme Court to administer justice fairly,¿ and this decision would ¿undermine the moral authority of the High Court for generations to come.¿ If the Dred Scott case did not permanently tarnish the credibility of the Supreme Court, I do not think the Bush v. Gore case will. The Dred Scott case defined the people of ¿the enslaved African race as ordinary articles of merchandise, a subordinate and inferior class of beings, beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with people of the white race and so far inferior that they had no rights.¿ A bad decision is an understatement, but Dershowitz gives no permanent credibility loss to this decision. I will compliment Dershowitz's treatment of the Scopes Trial and the Roe v. Wade decision. I think some one e

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2004


    Most are trials that all have heard of, trials that are part of US history and make American society today - one might disagree with the trials selected. I liked the placement of the cases in their historical context and that actual transcripts of the cases were used. Sometimes you want more information - this is not a Gideons' Trumpet of all the cases mentioned, but a review of transcripts and then his opinion on the case and its' relevance. The author(s) show how the trials support basic freedoms and rights, as they were understood at the time. They provide commentary and insight into how laws have evolved, reflecting our social evolution. In some recent cases personal comments detract from what is an outline of the evolving meaning of justice. It is all a question of perspective.. Personally would have preferred more substantive commentary on the cases, I particularly enjoyed the first chapter which is an informal mastercourse of the roots of our current legal thinking. All in all a good legal history providing an overview in changing societal mores, who we are and where we come from - hence no doubt the title!

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    Posted November 8, 2011

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    Posted January 18, 2010

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    Posted August 14, 2010

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    Posted March 20, 2012

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