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Before the Next Attack: Preserving Civil Liberties in an Age of Terrorism
     

Before the Next Attack: Preserving Civil Liberties in an Age of Terrorism

by Bruce Ackerman
 

ISBN-10: 0300112890

ISBN-13: 9780300112894

Pub. Date: 04/28/2006

Publisher: Yale University Press


Terrorist attacks regularly trigger the enactment of repressive laws, setting in motion a vicious cycle that threatens to devastate civil liberties over the twenty-first century. In this clear-sighted book, Bruce Ackerman peers into the future and presents an intuitive, practical alternative. He proposes an “emergency constitution” that enables

Overview


Terrorist attacks regularly trigger the enactment of repressive laws, setting in motion a vicious cycle that threatens to devastate civil liberties over the twenty-first century. In this clear-sighted book, Bruce Ackerman peers into the future and presents an intuitive, practical alternative. He proposes an “emergency constitution” that enables government to take extraordinary actions to prevent a second strike in the short run while prohibiting permanent measures that destroy our freedom over the longer run.
Ackerman’s “emergency constitution” exposes the dangers lurking behind the popular notion that we are fighting a “war” on terror. He criticizes court opinions that have adopted the war framework, showing how they uncritically accept extreme presidential claims to sweeping powers. Instead of expanding the authority of the commander in chief, the courts should encourage new forms of checks and balances that allow for decisive, but carefully controlled, presidential action during emergencies. In making his case, Ackerman explores emergency provisions in constitutions of nations ranging from France to South Africa, retaining aspects that work and adapting others. He shows that no country today is well equipped to both fend off terrorists and preserve fundamental liberties, drawing particular attention to recent British reactions to terrorist attacks. Written for thoughtful citizens throughout the world, this book is democracy's constitutional reply to political excess in the sinister era of terrorism.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300112894
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
04/28/2006
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Emergency Constitution     1
Diagnosis
This Is Not a War     13
This Is Not a Crime     39
This Is an Emergency     58
Prescription
The Political Constitution     77
The Role of Judges     101
American Exceptionalism     122
If Washington Blows Up?     142
The Morning After     169
Notes     175
Acknowledgments     209
Index     213

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