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Judge Dave and the Rainbow People Paperback – June, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"It is rare ... for a federal judge to write a riveting and funny, footnote-free book." -- Tony Mauro, Legal Times (November 4, 2002)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Green Bag Press; 1st edition (June 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967756839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967756837
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,541,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Brito on June 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
It's not every day that you read a book containing the full text of a consent agreement between parties to a health statute dispute and still find it very enjoyable. It's just as uncommon for a federal appeals court judge to write a book about the time he oversaw the peaceful assembly of thousands of middle-aged hippies in the woods of North Carolina. But that's what Judge Dave and the Rainbow People is about.
The Rainbow People are not an organization as such. They're just whoever shows up around Independence Day each year at a place on federal land decided the year before. The people who show up are mostly baby boomer ex-hippies trying to relive the Summer of Love. They come by the thousands, get naked, and live in the woods for weeks. Invariably, the Forrest Service comes after them.
In 1987 the Rainbow People converged on Nantahala Forrest in Western North Carolina. It wasn't long before the State tried to evict them under a sanitation law that was arguably unconstitutional. The case ended up before Judge Dave, who was a circuit court judge at the time.
The result is an endearing account of how a conservative judge faced 15,000 decadent hippies (and at least one elephant), the ACLU, snarky law clerks, a ticking clock, and his own Senate confirmation to the D.C. Circuit in the background, and still managed to avoid catastrophe by avoiding a ruling on the law. Judge Dave is sincere and admits up front that this was one case where the results, and not the letter of the law, drove his decision. The alternative was a possible showdown between thousands of until-then peaceful gatherers and state troopers. I guess he made use of judicial discretion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eugene Sullivan on August 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is, as President Teddy Roosevelt would say, DELIGHTFUL.

For fellow judges, lawyers, and law students, it is a rare look into the judicial decision making process of a federal jusge. Judge Sentelle tells the story (laced with humour) of how he used appropiate judicial restraint and fairness to solve a complex civil case.

As you follow his actions during the course of this case, you will see this judge exhibits humility, wisdom and common-sense judgment----virtues that all federal and state judges should have.

Thanks, Your Honor, for an enjoyable and worthwhile book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've never been to a Rainbow Gathering, but I know Garrick Beck, one of its unofficial and unacknowledged but de facto leaders. I stayed on his farm for several months some thirty years ago. That's why I read this book. I'm not sure why Judge Sentelle wrote it. He assumes a sort of amused and tolerant, but also smirking and condescending, pose towards the Rainbow people. As Garrick writes in an afterword, the judge is almost entirely accurate in his facts. But he is a bit selective in his presentation of facts, and Garrick brings a much needed bit of balance to Sentelle's perspective.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Judge David provides a humorous outsider's observation of a Rainbow Gathering. He is open minded and a very good amateur writer. But don't expect this federal officer's observation to either be comprehensive or to adequately document the details of the Rainbow Family Gatherings or their history of abuse at the hands of the Federal Government. For that, you should read "People of the Rainbow" (Niman - Univ of Tennessee Press). The two books work well in tandem.
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