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Before the Next Attack: Preserving Civil Liberties in an Age of Terrorism Paperback – March 14, 2007


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Before the Next Attack: Preserving Civil Liberties in an Age of Terrorism + The Emergency State: America's Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; annotated edition edition (March 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300122667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300122664
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,827,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Bruce Ackerman's book is a tour de force. He has brilliantly combined a subtle treatment of the legal issues with a politically astute—and courageous—plan for preserving our constitutional system in the event of a future cataclysm.  The time to think about these issues is now, and this book, which should be required reading for our national leaders, is the place to begin."—Eugene R. Fidell, President, National Institute of Military Justice
 


 
(Eugene R. Fidell)

“Ackerman teaches us, with characteristic elegance, that deep legal thought matters to the future of democratic government. We all know that we overreact to aggressive attacks, and Ackerman explains how constitutional structures can be the insurance policy we need to level our reactions before and after victims suffer.”—George P. Fletcher, Cardozo Professor of Jurisprudence, Columbia University






(George P. Fletcher)

“A deep and thorough exploration of how to implement a genuine emergency 'constitution' within the framework of the Constitution. This is a formidable piece of work, interesting and provocative, and it will be an important and influential book."—John Ferejohn, Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science, Stanford University


 
(John Ferejohn)

“Bruce Ackerman has addressed what may be the biggest issue facing us in reconciling democracy, human rights, and national security in an age of terrorism: how to adjust to the next big attack. His focus on the politics of grave emergencies is essential reading; his recommendations are creative and surprising.”—Philip Heymann, James Barr Ames Professor of Law, Harvard University and former U.S. Deputy Attorney General

 

 
 
(Philip Heymann) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Bruce Ackerman is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University, and the author or coauthor of more than fifteen books on political philosophy, constitutional law, and public policy, including Social Justice in the Liberal State, The Stakeholder Society, and Deliberation Day, all published by Yale University Press.



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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. on June 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a pretty good book for people concerned about possible deterioration of American civil liberties in the event of further successful 9/11-type attacks. It is almost impossible to amend the U.S. Constitution. So Ackerman proposes laws that could be enacted by Congress and states that would help do this. It should be read in conjunction with Richard Posner's Catastrophe, which makes a case for some curtailment of civil liberties, given the dangers of the age we live in.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thomas O'Connor on December 2, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the author says, this is a downer of a book. It attempts to use the National Emergencies Act of 1976 along with other constitutional and legal features of the U.S. system to propose a three-stage model of declarations of temporary states of emergency. The writing is somewhat crisp and vernacular, as if the heavy law parts were simplified, although it has teeth in some parts without being legalistic. Readers expecting detailed legal analysis will be disappointed. It's written at a low level. The best parts are the last two chapters which apply the book's ideas to a devastating attack scenario on Washington D.C.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bjcefola on June 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Ackerman's argument is straightforward. Future large scale terrorist attacks are probably going to happen, but happen infrequently. The problem after an attack is the uncertainty about immediate follow-on attacks; if terrorists successfully planned and executed one attack, they may have more in progress. Ackerman fears that in the rush to prevent attacks the President and the administrative organs will accumulate too much power and destroy our liberty. Worse, Presidents will be tempted to claim the country is at war, giving them even more power.

Ackerman advocates a temporary state of emergency which the president may declare of his own authority. The declaration would have a built-in sunset provision, with only congress capable of reauthorizing. Reauthorization would require an escalating supermajority; the longer the emergency persisted the smaller a minority of legislators needed to end it. The declaration would permit broad powers of arrest and detention after an attack. Such measures would presumably mitigate the risk of further attacks, as well as re-establish national sovereignty.

The book is thought provoking and worth reading, but there are problems with Ackerman's ideas. He assumes that the most pressing need in the immediate aftermath of an attack will be to reassure the public that measures are being taken to prevent further attacks. Reassuring the public is a concern, but I think it overextends a factor unique to 9/11. The actual attacks on 9/11 and the time needed to restore order was short. Aside from those stuck because of the airspace shutdown, most people were back to normal within a few days. The system disruptions were minimal.

Such a short event period is unlikely in future large scale terrorist attacks.
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9 of 99 people found the following review helpful By G. Austin on May 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book spews the progressive line that judges should make laws and run the country. By proposing that war powers be taken over by a group of congress and ruled over by judges, he proposes that we all give up our right to vote and express ourselves to an unelected and unfireable federal judge. More of the same "we know better than you" pablum spewed by the socialist/communist/nambla movement. What is even sadder is that he is a professor of law and influences young minds in this capacity. Save your money. Why pay to read "I am smart and you are not". If so bright why has he never been able to get a real job in the private sector without the cushion of tenure. Buy a latte instead, more satisfying.
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