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Noah Feldman teaches law at New York University.
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Verk av Noah Feldman

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The Best American Spiritual Writing 2008 (2008) — Bidragsgivare — 84 exemplar
The Ethics Of War: Shared Problems In Different Traditions (2006) — Bidragsgivare — 29 exemplar


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The Arab spring could have become one the most momentous historical events of the 21st century, and it might still become a precursor for future events. But looking back from the limited perspective of 5-10 years, the outcome of this revolutionary movement was a tragedy. This book is not an attempt to write a complete history of the movement, but rather to focus a generalizing spotlight on a few aspects of the events that took place in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Tunisia in the 2010s. The author's perspective could be classified as political theory, and the book is quite short. I liked the perspective but readers who prefer more practical narratives of politics and history could be disappointed.

The author's arguments are the following: in the case of Egypt, he asks whether or not the second Tahrir movement, which brought the army into power, was categorically different from the first one which led to elections. In Syria, he wonders who or what should be blamed for the humanitarian disaster. When discussing the Islamic State, he argues that the movement only managed to discredit political Islam. The discussion on Tunisia is more detailed because the author was present in the country when the new political system was built. He explains the probable reasons why Tunisia became the first Arab country where the government and the opposition reached a conciliatory power-sharing compromise and managed a peaceful transition of power from one to the other. The Tunisian system is not perfect, but the author writes that the true tragedy is that what happened in Tunisia could have happened elsewhere but did not. All in all this is definitely a book worth reading if you have an interest in political theory. It is a good bird's-eye complement to more detailed on-the-ground narratives of the Arab spring.
… (mer)
thcson | Feb 18, 2022 |
Finished Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of F.D.R.’s Great Supreme Court Justices by Noah Feldman.

The liberal agenda was led by four justices appointed by Franklin Roosevelt, Felix Frankfurter, Robert Jackson, Hugo Black and William Douglas. These men who started off liberal justices who shared a vision which ultimately led to The Plessy vs. Ferguson decision which restarted the desegregation movement in the United States.

These men who started as friends ultimately had a breakdown in their relationship, as each developed their own constitutional theory.

Their theories on the constitution can ultimately be seen as originalism ( Original Intent), judicial restraint which boasts a theory in which government institutions are suited to different tasks, legal realism and pragmatism.

A hard endorsement of this epoch book on the court which ran from FDR to Warren Court and the Nixon years.
… (mer)
dsha67 | 16 andra recensioner | May 30, 2021 |
Very objective. A helpful historical look at Islamic forms of government and how they have evolved without being overly political. I finally know where the term Islamism comes from.
fidgetyfern | 1 annan recension | Feb 23, 2021 |
I had heard about this book when it was published but the length of it, 513 pages, kept me from reading it. However, the events of the last years and the importance that conservatives have put on getting conservative judges appointed to fill court vacancies made me think that I should do more reading about how the system works and why so many people think it is failing. In short, I wanted to know how we got to now. That led me to this book.

Basically, this book is a history of the US Supreme Court from 1930 to 1960. It is about the judicial philosophies of four Supreme Court Justices. All were appointed by FDR because FDR wanted judges on the court who would advance his political aims. Each of the four men were selected because they had proved themselves valuable to FDR in political ways by finding legal arguments that would advance FDR's New Deal laws. The four justices were, William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter, Hugo Black, and Robert Jackson. Two of the three were Solicitor Generals and then Attorney Generals of the U.S. before they were appointed. Black was a senator from Alabama who was a progressive and had voted to advance New Deal policies while in the Senate. Only one, Frankfurter, was an academic, but he was also heavily entwined in New Deal legislation and in the political inner circle in Washington, D. C. Three of the four men had political aspirations. By that, I mean that three of them wanted to run for President.

Perhaps the most surprising thing I learned was that people serving on the Supreme Court did not see themselves as holding a lifetime appointment. They saw it as a stepping stone to higher office, whereas, we now, tend to see appointment to the Supreme Court as the highest job in the land. For instance, Chief Justice Charles Evens Hughes, was appointed to the Supreme Court twice. Twice. He resigned the first time so that he could run for President in 1916. He was then appointed as Chief Justice in 1930. Also surprising was that, while all of them started out as "liberal" - meaning that they supported New Deal ideas, laws, and initiatives, two of them ended up being judicial conservatives, while two of them became judicial liberals, with one, Douglas becoming more and more liberal due to his emphasis on individual rights over those of the states. Douglas was the only one of the four who was not trained in Eastern establishment law schools. He was from Yakima, Washington, and he laid much of the ground work for environmental laws, even going so far as to say that inanimate objects such as rock and rivers have a right to exist and that these rights shouldn't be ignored.

Lastly, all four of these judges believed that all Supreme Court decisions are political. Politics, for them was inseparable from the interpretation of the law. Justice was a different matter. Politics is personal, and while all four of these men came onto the court with different goals and objectives, they all ended up as judicial enemies. (scorpions, in a bottle - hence the title.). Only Black and Douglas remained on personal speaking terms by the 1950's and even that was tenuous.

I also learned that appointment to the Supreme Court was always a political matter. No president took selecting a judge lightly and always considered their political aims when making a selection. What has changed, is Congress. Congress now is so closely divided that it slows down appointment to judgeships to the extent that it now impedes the ability of the courts to implement and interpret laws. This is why the down ballot elections are as important as is the vote for president. That seems to be something that the present day electorate doesn't seem to understand.

This book was a very accessible academic book. It had extensive notes and indexing, but it read like a story. I would class this book as narrative nonfiction - whatever that is. Anybody who has an interest in history or has the desire to know how we got to now, should read this book. At times it was engrossing and at times infuriating, but it was always informative, instructive, and, I believe, important and timely.
… (mer)
benitastrnad | 16 andra recensioner | Jan 28, 2021 |



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