We Dissent: Talking Back to the Rehnquist Court, Eight Cases That Subverted Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

Overview

The lawyers and legal commentators who contribute to We Dissent unanimously agree that during Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s nineteen-year tenure, the Supreme Court failed to adequately protect civil liberties and civil rights. This is evident in majority opinions written for numerous cases heard by the Rehnquist Court, and eight of those cases are re-examined here, with contributors offering dissents to the Court’s decisions. The Supreme Court opinions criticized in We Dissent suggest that the Rehnquist Court...

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We Dissent: Talking Back to the Rehnquist Court, Eight Cases That Subverted Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

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Overview

The lawyers and legal commentators who contribute to We Dissent unanimously agree that during Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s nineteen-year tenure, the Supreme Court failed to adequately protect civil liberties and civil rights. This is evident in majority opinions written for numerous cases heard by the Rehnquist Court, and eight of those cases are re-examined here, with contributors offering dissents to the Court’s decisions. The Supreme Court opinions criticized in We Dissent suggest that the Rehnquist Court placed the interests of government above the people, and as the dissents in this book demonstrate, the Court strayed far from our constitutional ideals when it abandoned its commitment to the protection of the individual rights of Americans.

Each chapter focuses on a different case—ranging from torture to search and seizure, and from racial profiling to the freedom of political expression—with contributors summarizing the case and the decision, and then offering their own dissent to the majority opinion. For some cases featured in the book, the Court’s majority decisions were unanimous, so readers can see here for the first time what a dissent might have looked like. In other cases, contributors offer alternative dissents to the minority opinion, thereby widening the scope of opposition to key civil liberties decision made by the Rehnquist Court.

Taken together, the dissents in this unique book address the pressing issue of Constitutional protection of individual freedom, and present a vision of constitutional law in the United States that differs considerably from the recent jurisprudence of the United States Supreme Court.

Contributors: Michael Avery, Erwin Chemerinsky,Marjorie Cohn, Tracey Maclin, Eva Paterson, Jamin Raskin, David Rudovsky, Susan Kiyomi Serrano, and Abbe Smith.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Whether you agree with the court’s opinions or the ‘dissents,’ you will find the book provocative.”
-Sunday Star Ledger

“We have long been plagued with an ultra-conservative Supreme Court, and it is refreshing to find this collection of dissenting views, astute and bold, from constitutional scholars. They have been judiciously edited by Michael Avery, a veteran of courtroom battles for civil liberties, and they bring us back to basic principles of equality and justice. This book is a veritable course in constitutional law and an important contribution to the national debate on the rights of citizens.”
-Howard Zinn,author of A People’s History of the United States: 1492-present

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814707234
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2012
  • Pages: 245
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Avery is Professor at Suffolk University Law School in Boston and a past president of the National Lawyers Guild. He was a civil rights and criminal defense lawyer for nearly thirty years before joining the Suffolk faculty in 1998. He is co-author of Police Misconduct: Law and Litigation and Handbook of Massachusetts Evidence.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Michael Avery
1 Alden v. Maine: Sovereign Immunity—A Vestige of Monarchy Inconsistent with Democratic Values
Erwin Chemerinsky
2 Arkansas Educational Television Commission v. Forbes: Betraying Freedom of Political Expression and Undermining Democracy
Jamin Raskin
3 Cuyahoga Falls v. Buckeye: The Supreme Court’s “Intent Doctrine”—Undermining Viable Discrimination Claims and Remedies for People of Color
Eva Paterson and Susan Kiyomi Serrano
4 United States v. Whren: The Fourth Amendment Problem with Pretextual Traffic Stops
Tracey Maclin
5 County Of Sacramento v. Lewis: Protecting Life and Liberty Under the Constitution—Reckless Indifference to Life Does Not Shock the Conscience of the Supreme Court
Michael Avery
6 Chavez v. Martinez: The Court Fails to Hold That Interrogation by Means of Torture Is Unconstitutional
Marjorie Cohn
7 Saucier v. Katz: Qualified Immunity as a Doctrine of Dilution of Constitutional Rights
David Rudovsky
8 Strickland v. Washington: Gutting Gideon and Providing Cover for Incompetent Counsel
Abbe Smith
Note to the Reader Regarding Legal Citations
About the Contributors
Index

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