Mastering Boston Harbor: Courts, Dolphins, and Imperiled Waters

Overview

Mastering Boston Harbor chronicles how America's most glorious and historically significant harbor was rescued from decades of pollution and neglect by a community of caring citizens who were linked to an environmentally committed judge and his special harbor master. This dynamic public-private team shaped novel legal and political procedures for governing and restoring the harbor.

Charles Haar provides a fascinating study of the convergence of judicial supervision with ...

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Mastering Boston Harbor: Courts, Dolphins, and Imperiled Waters

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Overview

Mastering Boston Harbor chronicles how America's most glorious and historically significant harbor was rescued from decades of pollution and neglect by a community of caring citizens who were linked to an environmentally committed judge and his special harbor master. This dynamic public-private team shaped novel legal and political procedures for governing and restoring the harbor.

Charles Haar provides a fascinating study of the convergence of judicial supervision with political, environmental, financial, and technological interests. He challenges those who will instantly decry an "activist" judiciary and pulls back the curtain on the serious problems a court faces when it must grapple with an intractable problem affecting public interest. Haar demonstrates that at times only a resolute judiciary can energize and coordinate the branches of government to achieve essential contemporary social goals--goals that are endorsed and supported by a majority whose voice is often ignored in legislative and executive back rooms.

Because of his experience as special master in the dispute, Haar provides the reader with an insider's view of a modern brand of judicial decision-making that is not anti-majoritarian, and could be applied to similar crises in which the legislative and executive branches of government are impotent. Citizens concerned about the conflict between unbridled economic liberty and environmental protection will gain important insight from this eyewitness account of how the "harbor of shame" became a vibrant focal point for the renewal of Boston as a world-class city.

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Editorial Reviews

New England Quarterly

Haar draws on his insider's perspective as Judge Garrity's special master and close friend to illuminate the stories, both large and small, that led to the harbor's recovery. We gain, for example, considerable insight into Garrity's quirky personality and the roots of his activist legal philosophy...The end result: a wide-ranging record of the public and not-so public negotiations that resolved one of the most important legal cases in Massachusetts history.
— Michael Rawson

Lance Liebman
Mastering Boston Harbor is a major work that combines the story of a single immense litigation with an analysis of the story's lessons about law and about judicial activism.
Boston Harbor was a mess, largely because all levels of government ran from their responsibilities. A rare judge, the late Paul Garrity, then intervened. Acting unjudicially, he appointed Professor Charles Haar as special master and directed Haar to develop a plan to clean up the harbor. Today the harbor is vastly cleaner, citizens pay a surcharge on their water bills, and the law has been served.
The story is riveting. Also, it is the best work on the subject of activist judicial takeovers of poorly functioning government agencies and processes.
New England Quarterly - Michael Rawson
Haar draws on his insider's perspective as Judge Garrity's special master and close friend to illuminate the stories, both large and small, that led to the harbor's recovery. We gain, for example, considerable insight into Garrity's quirky personality and the roots of his activist legal philosophy...The end result: a wide-ranging record of the public and not-so public negotiations that resolved one of the most important legal cases in Massachusetts history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674015289
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/2004
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles M. Haar was Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law, Emeritus, Harvard Law School.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Abbreviations

Map of Boston Harbor

Introduction: Troubled Waters

1. The Harbor in the National Political Campaign: George H. W. Bush's Landing

2. Under the Judicial Lens: The Quincy Case Is Launched

3. Coping with Complexities: Signing On as Special Master

4. The Setting: The Plants, Pipes, and Pumps of Boston Harbor

5. The Cast of Characters: Officials and Fish

6. Turning the Tide: Creating a Novel Trial Process

7. A Dying Harbor? The Battle of the Experts

8. Report of the Special Master: Findings of Fact

9. Report of the Special Master: Remedies and Recommendations

10. The Judge Lays Down the Law: The Procedural Order for the Rehabilitation of the Harbor

11. Awash with Ideas: A New Authority for Governing the Harbor

12. Safe Harbor: Paying for the Vision

13. Parting of the Waters: The Showdown between Court and Legislature

14. The Commons Restored: Courts and Social Change

15. The Call of the Bugler: Tools and Tactics of Effective Judicial Intervention

16. Knowledge Set A-Flowing: The High Tide of Judicial Action

Postscript: Boston Harbor Today

Timeline of the Quincy Case

Summary of Recommendations

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

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