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Storming the Court: How a Band of Yale Law Students Sued the President--and Won Hardcover – September 27, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1ST edition (September 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743230019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743230018
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #571,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1992 a team of Yale law students and other human rights activists sought to enjoin the government from detaining Haitian refugees indefinitely at Guantánamo Bay, without charges or access to counsel. Lawyer Goldstein tells their story with authority: he was a classmate of many of the student activists, although not a participant in the case. Two of the primary characters are Harold Koh, the dedicated, even driven, Yale professor who led the legal fight, and the courageous, pseudonymous "Yvonne Pascal," who emerged as a spokeswoman for the Haitian refugees. Goldstein's sympathies are wholeheartedly with the Haitians and those working on their behalf. A greater effort to articulate the government's argument would have improved the book and made the case's mixed outcome more understandable. After protracted litigation in federal court and the U.S. Supreme Court, the Haitians were discharged from Gitmo, but the policy questions involving the reach of the government's power were resolved in the government's favor. This is a timely (given the issue of detaining terror suspects today) and passionate account, but would have benefited from less hero worship of the activists and less demonizing of the government.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Goldstein has written a compelling story with contemporary significance that thus far has failed to capture the public attention. In 1992, a group of Yale law students began a heroic and substantial effort to free 300 Haitian refugees held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay. The students plodded through this arduous process alone, often risking their goal of high-end employment, and found a way to take on the president and the U.S. government. And they won. This story has a ring of similarity with the Northwestern University journalism students who helped to free some death-row convicts and spark a moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois. But a major difference is the lack of public awareness of the law----student efforts, which may reflect a greater discomfort with the issues involved. These 300 detainees were all black Haitians, men, women, and children--all HIV-positive. The Haitians have since all been granted political asylum in the U.S. This story provides an interesting backdrop to discussions about the application of U.S. law to persons held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carrie on December 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A great book. I am a law student and after three weeks of studying and taking finals the last thing I usually want to do is pick up a book, especially one having to do with law. But as soon as I picked this book up I was hooked and wound up finishing it the weekend after finals. Compelling and readable for those well-versed OR mystified by the law alike.

I would HIGHLY recommend this to all law students out there. When immersed in legal education it is easy to lose focus as to why and how you got there in the first place. The book and story is inspiring. In reading about students, professors, and hghly regarded attorneys helping those that sought their help and offering to those who simply NEEDED it, the story help me recapture the desires I held when I started law school.

Great work Mr. Goldstein and I look forward to reading your future work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Book Addict on November 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Damn you, Brandt Goldstein! I had a ton of work to do to get ready for a recent court appearance, but couldn't tear myself away from your book. And I already knew how it came out. As a lawyer, I was impressed by how you were able to take complicated legal concepts and make them not only easily understandable, but compelling reading. While it's obvious you had a good story to work with, you made it come alive in a way that makes me think you'd be great in front of a jury -- you're a real storyteller. While the events happened in the '90s, the book is as fresh as today's headlines about detainees at Guantanamo. Thanks for a great read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thomas G. Coale on February 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I am a 3L about to graduate from law school and this book makes me want to shake off law firm salaries for the sake of making a change in this world. In less grandious terms, it makes me proud to be a future lawyer.

I saw Brandt Goldstein speak just before reading the book and he mentioned that he wrote the book to read like a legal thriller. I was not disappointed in this respect. He parallels the plight of the Haitians with the efforts of the law students. Politics, Legal Procedure, Trial strategy, and diplomacy are all addressed in an entertaining narrative. The cover gives away the ending but the value of this book lies in the way the author pulls the reader into full identification with amatuer lawyers. Although it is a must read for all lawyers, anyone would find enjoyment from this short read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dear Reader on November 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Storming the Court is an exciting page-turner, a legal thriller that just happens to be fact, not fiction. If you want to find out how the US government first got into the habit of using Guantanamo as a prison where they could lock people up and just throw away the key, read this book. It tells the story of how a bunch of law students sued the US president to free some poor Haitian "boat people," snatched by the Coast Guard and left to rot on Guantanamo. And it tells this story very well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Evan Brown on November 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
What a good read!! Even for someone as "legally challenged" as I am, the book succeeded on so many levels. I cared so much about every one of those young people and certainly I agonized with the brave Professor Koh every step of the way. How unfortunate that we are dealing with many of the same issues today.

Thank you, Brandt Goldstein, for telling this story.

A Lambda from Minnesota Reader
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reader4 on November 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The story had to be told and I am glad Mr. Goldstein did it. His writing style is engaging and clear. He keeps all of the appropriate legal detail in place but explains it in ways the reader will understand. I am not typically a "legal thriller" fan, but enjoyed the story here... especially because it was true.
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By J. Matthew Casperson on September 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Storming the Court is a real-life account of a band of idealistic law students who take it upon themselves to represent Haitian refugees that are being held in military confinement in Guantánamo Bay. With the aid of a professor (Harold Koh, currently the dean of Yale Law School) and some outside attorneys, these students take on the United States government in a seemingly impossible case. The story switches from the students to the government to the refugees, giving the reader a solid understanding of each side of the case. Goldstein does an excellent job making complex international law comprehendible to the average reader. He paints an extensive picture as he touches on the chaos in Haiti, the conditions within the refugee camp, and the battles within the courts. As a conservative, I felt Goldstein did a great job at telling all sides of the story. I understand the players and their cause was somewhat liberal, but the value of human lives shouldn't be limited to political affiliation. There were people from every side of the spectrum, from radical leftists to corporate bureaucrats (though most were unquestionably lefties).

Despite the fact this book is nonfiction, it reads like a novel and carries with it an aura of suspense. I highly recommend for anyone remotely interested in law or human rights. If you like John Grisham novels, I suggest you give them a rest and read the real thing. You won't be sorry. Brandt Goldstein has produced a work that is both informative and entertaining to read. It may even make you second-guess some of your opinions regarding the recent immigration that has been taking place in the United States.
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