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The Politics Of Law: A Progressive Critique, Third Edition Paperback – May 9, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0465059591 ISBN-10: 0465059597 Edition: First Trade Paper Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (May 9, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465059597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465059591
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #543,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The Critical Legal Studies (CLS) movement generally holds that legal outcomes are not determined solely by applying legal reasoning to objective rules, but are instead largely contingent upon the social and political values of the decisionmaker and the context of the process. A revision of a 1982 work with the same title ( LJ 10/15/82), this includes 24 essays by CLS adherents who apply their theories to traditional jurisprudence, legal education, selected substantive areas of the law, and progressive approaches to the law. This edition has ten new essays, and most of the remaining ones have been updated or revised. An excellent collection providing an introductory survey of a controversial but increasingly established alternative to traditional legal theories. Recommended for both law and academic libraries.
- Merlin Whiteman, Indiana Univ. Sch. of Law, Indianapolis
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

"A beacon for progressive scholarship about law. The second edition sparkles and provides a comprehensive overview of scholarship committed to the critique of law. It is a must read."--Austin Sarat, Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, Amherst College. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

David Kairys is a professor of constitutional law at Temple Law School, a leading civil rights lawyer, and an author of books and commentary on a range of issues. His latest book - Philadelphia Freedom, Memoir of a Civil Rights Lawyer - has received wide acclaim.

Cornel West, Princeton professor and author or Race Matters, says on the back cover of the book: "David Kairys is one of the grand long-distance runners in the struggle for justice in America. His brilliant legal mind and superb lawyerly skills are legendary. This marvelous book is his gift to us!"

Professor Kairys' other books include the leading progressive critique of the law, The Politics of Law (editor and co-author), and With Liberty and Justice for Some.

As a civil rights lawyer, he won the leading race discrimination case against the FBI, won challenges to unrepresentative juries around the country, stopped police sweeps of minority neighborhoods in Philadelphia, and represented Dr. Benjamin Spock in a free speech case before the Supreme Court. In 1971 he co-founded a small civil rights law firm, now Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg. In 1996 he conceived the lawsuits brought by over 40 cities against handgun manufacturers, and his public-nuisance theory has become the major basis for a range of challenges to corporate practices that endanger public health or safety.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Chet E Meeks on September 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
I use this book in my Sociology of Law course. The essays in this book are wonderful for instructional purposes because they are simultaneously clear enough that people not firmly entrenched in the legal field can read them, yet rich in their content, exposing the complexities of law and society.
I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in law and society, and especially to instructors.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book makes sense of the limits of "the rule of law," without giving up on The Law's importance. Cutting through the dream that "we have a government of laws, not of men," Kairys and his contributors demonstrate that The Law is not necessarily on the side of justice, fairness, or democracy. Today, perhaps more than at any time in the last 50 years, the supposedly neutrality of the system of laws has been compromised. In so many crucial areas -- such as the criminal "justice" system, the welfare state, civil rights and civil liberties, labor, women's rights, health, environment law, poverty, and many more -- this book helps us see how The Law is there to serve the powerholders, the "haves" of society, rather than the "have-nots." There is a lot here too about legal processes: about access to the system (and restrictions in people's access), about the legal rights of racial minorities, immigrants, workers, women, low-income people, and gays, and about the politics of policing.
Although highly critical of the present state of The Law, the writers here do not abandon the The Law as a zone where the struggle for justice, equality, and democracy goes on. Indeed they have written this book, in a sense, to redeem The Law as a tool for a true justice. Kairys and his collaborators want The Law truly to serve that cause, not merely to claim that it seeks justice when it so often does the reverse.
The book will be crucial for law students, critical thinkers, and real believers in democracy everywhere. It helps us think about what freedom really means.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Krul on August 2, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Politics of Law" is a collection of essays by legal scholars from a progressive point of view, or rather a range of progressive points of view. Every major topic of law has one or two essays criticizing the current legislation and jurisprudence from a leftist perspective. Attention is paid not just to traditional injustices such as racism and access difficulties, but also more modern subjects like gay rights, feminism and the environment. So far, so good.

The essays themselves, however, are by and large very disappointing. About half of them are so general and so vaguely outline areas that may or may not be a problem that may or may not be worth addressing either inside or outside the legal scholarship, and so on, that they are largely useless to any reader but the most uninitiated. The other half tend to be thorough in their critiques, but make far too many assumptions about the nature progressive criticism should take, and often merely assert their critiques with no evidence at all. For example, whether affirmative action is to be considered good or bad from a radical progressive perspective is quite a debatable topic, but in this book it is basically assumed that the reader is an avid proponent. Same thing with constitutional jurisprudence such as Griswold vs. Connecticut and Roe vs. Wade; one can very well make a leftist argument against such creations as a "right to privacy" by emphasizing its antidemocratic constructs, but no attention is paid to this at all.
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