Not a Suicide Pact
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Not a Suicide Pact : The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency

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Eavesdropping on the phone calls of U.S. citizens; demands by the FBI for records of library borrowings; establishment of military tribunals to try suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens--many of the measures taken by the Bush administration since 9/11 have sparked heated protests. In Not a Suicide Pact, Judge Richard A. Posner offers a cogent and elegant response to these protests, arguing that personal liberty must be balanced with public safety in the face of grave national danger. Critical of civil libertarians who balk at any curtailment of their rights, even in the face of an unprecedented terrorist threat in an era of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Posner takes a fresh look at the most important constitutional issues that have arisen since 9/11. These issues include the constitutional rights of terrorist suspects (whether American citizens or not) to habeas corpus and due process, and their rights against brutal interrogation (including torture) and searches based on less than probable cause. Posner argues that terrorist activity is sui generis--it is neither "war" nor "crime"--and it demands a tailored response, one that gives terror suspects fewer constitutional rights than persons suspected of ordinary criminal activity. Constitutional law must remain fluid, protean, and responsive to the pressure of contemporary events. Posner stresses the limits of law in regulating national security measures and underscores the paradoxical need to recognize a category of government conduct that is at once illegal and morally obligatory. One of America's top legal thinkers, Posner does not pull punches. He offers readers a short, sharp book with a strong point of view that is certain to generate much debate. OXFORD'S NEW INALIENABLE RIGHTS SERIES This is inaugural volume in Oxford's new fourteen-book Inalienable Rights Series. Each book will be a short, analytically sharp exploration of a particular right--to bear arms, to religious freedom, to free speech--clarifying the issues swirling around these rights and challenging us to rethink our most cherished freedoms.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 171 pages
  • 147.32 x 213.36 x 22.86mm | 317.51g
  • Oxford University Press, USA
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0195304276
  • 9780195304275
  • 1,370,662

Review quote

"A welcome voice in the national debate about freedom vs. security."--The Washington Post Book World , .."Posner's reasoning...is invariably illuminating, and overall demonstrates that the Constitution, pragmatically interpreted, is both sturdy and flexible, capable in the war we are now waging of protecting liberty and maintaining security."--Weekly Standard "Posner's new book, Not A Suicide Pact, is characteristically hawkish...Reader either will or won't share Posner's predilection to trust the government in dire-seeming times; there is certainly much to be said on the other side...Posner is far more provocative and surprising when he reveals the limits of his trust."--New York Times Book Review "Known for his willfully provocative opinions...the positions he takes in this volume will not only fuel his own controversial reputation but also underscore just how negotiable constitutional rights have become in the eyes of administration proponents."--The New York Times , .."Posner's reasoning...is invariably illuminating, and overall demonstrates that the Constitution, pragmatically interpreted, is both sturdy and flexible, capable in the war we are now waging of protecting liberty and maintaining security."--Weekly Standard "His views will provoke Category 5 protest from civil libertarians.... He ably makes the case for his side in the national debate."--Publishers Weeklyshow more

About Richard A Posner

Richard A. Posner is Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago, and lectures at the University of Chicago Law School. He is the author of many books and articles, including Overcoming Law and An Affair of State, both of which were picked by The New York Times Book Review as among the best books of their year.show more

Rating details

90 ratings
3.61 out of 5 stars
5 18% (16)
4 39% (35)
3 30% (27)
2 13% (12)
1 0% (0)
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