Customer Reviews: Out Of Order: Arrogance, Corruption, And Incompetence On The Bench
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on June 6, 1998
Max Boot has shown himself to be a thoughtful writer and deputy features editor for the Wall Street Journal. I have enjoyed his work in that paper for several years. His book is a thoughtful, entertaining and at times enraging look at the judiciary in this country. It falls prey to what I consider to be a congenital shortcoming which is the fact that the author is a journalist and not a lawyer or even a law school graduate. Hence, this is essentially someone who is intelligent and well informed but is still "on the outside looking in." Like all top-notch journalists, he is adept at "getting up to speed" and doing the research necessary to speak effectively on the subjects he writes about. I've had several dealings with Wall Street and NY Times journalists and editors and I have to say that Max Boot is perhaps the least insufferable, smug and self-impressed of the bunch. (Take this for the compliment it is. If you knew these folks you'd realize just how self-impressed they are when it comes to hawking their own books and to "playing up" their purported expertise on various substantive subjects like the American legal system.) Max Boot is an intelligent, workmanlike writer who has done his homework on an important subject.
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VINE VOICEon August 30, 2000
Whether you are liberal or conservative, Max Boot's "Out of Order" is likely to get you mad. Mad because the judicial system is painted as so-out-of-control, or mad because you think Boot is a conservative hack (who writes for the Wall Street Journal's editorial pages).
What Boot has done, and done effectively, is gather horrible anecdote after horrible anecdote, organize them in general categories like corrupt judges, incompetent judges, and so on. The picture that he paints is pretty grim: if a judge isn't on the take, he or she might be plain weak, stupid, arrogant, or deluded.
But how seriously are we to take Boot's thesis? While the individual cases that he discusses are (to varying degrees) disturbing, the central problem with this book lies in the fact that the reader is supposed to evaluate a judge based on one case, out of thousands or more that the judge might see in his or her career.
At the same time, Boot strangely ignores some obvious targets for those who would like to criticize the judiciary. For example, Judge Stephen Reinhardt (a federal appeals judge in California) is usually the posterchild for judicial activism: he is one of the judges most-often reversed by the Supreme Court. Yet, Judge Reinhardt rates only one mention, and it is actually praise from Boot. Now, I'm not suggesting necessarily that Boot would think that Reinhardt is worthy of criticism (though I think it fairly obvious, given their respective ideologies), but there is a history and pattern of judicial opinions from which one could draw definite conclusions.
As other reviewers have noted, this is a critical weakness of "Out of Order." It's a collection of anecdotes, almost a survey of judges across the country, but not very deep in its scope.
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on July 23, 2014
Great book, very informative and factual. The book arrived early in excellent condition.
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on October 19, 2015
Says it all. Get it and find out for yourself.
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on June 3, 1998
Those interested in the role of the judiciary in America will find three types of books available on the subject: "Anecdotal", such as Max Boots's series of essays on various court decisions; The second category is, "Detailed", such as Walkowski/Connolly's "From Trial Court to the United States Supreme Court" which covers a major case from the lowest to the highest level and shows how the system works; and third, there are those categorized as "Biolgraphical", such as Ed Lazarus' book "Closed Chambers" which gives us an insight into the workings of the court from the inside. Max Boot's book, is informative and, like a Wall Street op-ed piece, interesting for what it does. It stimulates our imagination and compels those interested in the subject to look deeper, hence the other categories. All in all, I read it and enjoyed it, but found myself wanting more detail than was available. Still, I recommend it, as well as a peek into the other areas as well for a more complete perspective of the problem.
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on October 29, 1998
Although Mr. Boot's objective is admirable, he fails to deliver a cogent and thoughtful critique of the American judicial system. Perhaps, if Mr. Boot had an educational and professional background in this area, his book would have provided more inciteful analysis rather than being packed full of bromides and anecdotes.
Sensationalizing the shortcomings of the judiciary does not further the debate or help us toward the ultimate solution. Obviously, this approach reflects Mr. Boot's journalistic background which generally entails glitz over substance.
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