"In these extremely relevant pieces, Fiss once again emerges as a fierce defender of freedom."
“This book addresses important legal and ethical questions about the war on terror. It is designed for law students, legal professionals, and readers with a thorough understanding of legal topics. Recommended for law and academic libraries.”
Praise for Owen Fiss:
"Fiss is one of our most clear-eyed and hard-edged constitutional analysts, and this critique of the damage done to our constitutional heritage in the name of waging a war on terror is the most devastating I have seen."
Stanley N. Katz, professor of public and international affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
"Fiss provides an uncompromising critique of America’s struggle to maintain its most fundamental principles during the war on terrorism. Over the course of ten essays, Fiss makes a compelling case for how policies such as military commissions, targeted killing, torture, and warrantless surveillance have exposed rifts in the constitutional fabric. An essential contribution from one of the country’s foremost legal scholars."
Jonathan Hafetz, associate professor of law, Seton Hall University
"Does the Constitution authorize the U.S. government to interfere with privacy, to torture, to try some prisoners before military commissions and to allow others to languish in prison for prolonged, indefinite periods without a trial of any type, and to assassinate some individuals in foreign countries, even U.S. citizens, who are suspected of having engaged in terrorism? Fiss opens a wide-ranging debate on these issues that is crucial for the United States and for billions of persons outside its borders."
Luis Moreno Ocampo, first Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
"Owen Fiss has written an important and troubling book."
Joshua Cohen, co-editor, The Norton Introduction to Philosophy
"Fiss is one of the truly magisterial figures in contemporary American legal academics. He commands nearly universal respect for the depth and lucidity of his intellect, for the integrity and passion of his character, and for the breadth and purity of his scholarship."
Robert Post, Dean of Yale Law School
"Fiss, a towering figure in the legal academy, brilliantly lays bare how our courts have failed the Constitution in the post-9-11 world."
Lawrence Douglas, James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, Amherst College
Praise for The Law As It Could Be:
"Owen Fiss is the moral compass of legal liberalism
Fiss calmly makes the case for unvarnished reason as the only and best guide to law and life
[His work reveals] a profound faith that law can be not only the instrument of justice, but actually embody justice itself. Fiss's unswerving commitment to the possibilities of reason, justice, and law is more than timelyit is essential to the very project of the law."
Noah Feldman, author of After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy
"An uplifting book."
"Fiss writes in the style of John Marshall, sweeping the reader along with vigorous argumentation."
The Law and Politics Book Review
Praise for The Irony of Free Speech:
"Powerfully reminds us that the flowering of individual autonomy also has costsatomism, social fragmentation and a public discourse that grows more inclusive and less intelligible at the same time."
New York Times
Fiss (Emeritus, Law/Yale Univ. The Law As It Could Be, 2003, etc.) returns with a scholarly and cautionary collection of essays focusing on what he views as the post-9/11 debasements of key provisions of the Constitution. The author, who has published often about the importance of our constitutional freedoms (The Irony of Free Speech, 1996, etc.), pulls no punches in these trenchant pieces, some of which are edited versions of speeches. Because they deal with related topics (the loss of protections), they often revisit the same ground and/or individuals: Guantánamo, court cases, politicians, and administration figures such as Dick Cheney and Eric Holder. Examining the issues of habeas corpus for terror suspects, extraordinary rendition, warrantless surveillance, and targeted killing of terror suspects (via drone or otherwise), the author continually lands on the side of more rather than less freedom. Although he recognizes the dangers of the new era of stateless terror, he firmly argues that it is better to protect our freedoms of speech, privacy, and due process than to surrender them—as we have been doing since the 9/11 attacks with the subsequent statutes (the Patriot Act et al.) and court rulings that empower the government to investigate us with relative impunity. Although Fiss places principal blame on President George W. Bush, he does not exonerate President Barack Obama; the author repeatedly chides our current president for his failures to follow through on a number of his campaign promises about constitutional protections. Although the author seeks balance—see, for example, his strong final piece about targeted killings—he believes that our judges, legislators, and elected executives should err on the side of freedom, not restriction. In these extremely relevant pieces, Fiss once again emerges as a fierce defender of freedom.