Terror in the Balance: Security, Liberty, and the Courts / Edition 1

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Overview

In Terror in the Balance, Posner and Vermeule take on civil libertarians of both the left and the right, arguing that the government should be given wide latitude to adjust policy and liberties in the times of emergency. They emphasize the virtues of unilateral executive actions and argue for making extensive powers available to the executive as warranted. The judiciary should neither second-guess security policy nor interfere on constitutional grounds. In order to protect citizens, government can and should use any legal instrument that is warranted under ordinary cost-benefit analysis. The value gained from the increase in security will exceed the losses from the decrease in liberty. At a time when the 'struggle against violent extremism' dominates the United States' agenda, this important and controversial work will spark discussion in the classroom and intellectual press alike.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Admirably clear and free of technical jargon, this is a relentlessly rational dissection of a topic confused by overstatement, opportunistic political posturing and just plain lack of common sense. If you are not convinced, you will be challenged to explain exactly why not."—Charles Fried, Harvard Law School

"It is conventional wisdom that during times of war and emergency, presidents overreact to threats and excessively violate civil liberties, and courts do too little to stop these developments. Terror in the Balance challenges this conventional wisdom from top to bottom. With its incisive and contrarian analyses of contemporary issues like coercive interrogation, military commissions, censorship laws, the PATRIOT Act, and ethnic profiling, Terror in the Balance is an enormously important contribution to the study of constitutional government during wartime. This book will cause civil libertarians to pull their hair out; it will also force them to improve their arguments."—Jack L. Goldsmith, Harvard Law School

"A level-headed approach to considering the stand-alone merits of specific policy proposals in terms of their efficacy and their offsetting costs. The authors provide a framework of analysis and discussion that eschews the far more common, and far less insightful, approaches so often offered by both supporters and critics of current government policies."—Robert M. Chesney, Wake Forest University School of Law

"This book provides a powerfully argued counterpoint to the conventional wisdom that during time of war or emergency the U.S. democratic process operates poorly, and needs to be supervised by rights-enforcing courts. While some may see the book's call for judicial deference as an apologia for executive unilateralism, the authors' rigorous analysis will force civil libertarians to be more precise and sophisticated in their arguments, and public debate will surely benefit."—Curtis A. Bradley, Duke Law School

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195310252
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/15/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric A. Posner is Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law, University of Chicago. He co-authored The Limits of International Law and New Foundations of Cost-Benefit Analysis, authored Law and Social Norms, and edits the Journal of Legal Studies. Adrian Vermeule is Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is the author of Judging under Uncertainty: An Institutional Theory of Legal Interpretation.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Part I: Constitutional Law and Theory
1. Emergencies, Tradeoffs, and Deference
2. The Panic Theory
3. The Democratic Failure Theory
4. The Ratchet Theory and Other Long-Run Effects
Part II: Applications
5. Institutional Alternatives to Judicial Deference
6. Coercive Interrogation
7. Speech, Due Process, and Political Trials
8. Military Force
Conclusion: Emergency Powers and Lawyers' Expertise
Notes
Index

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