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32 books about Posner, Richard A.
Results by Title
32 books about Posner, Richard A.
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press
President Bill Clinton’s year of crisis, which began when his affair with Monica Lewinsky hit the front pages in January 1998, engendered a host of important questions of criminal and constitutional law, public and private morality, and political and cultural conflict.
In a book written while the events of the year were unfolding, Richard Posner presents a balanced and scholarly understanding of the crisis that also has the freshness and immediacy of journalism. Posner clarifies the issues and eliminates misunderstandings concerning facts and the law that were relevant to the investigation by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and to the impeachment proceeding itself. He explains the legal definitions of obstruction of justice and perjury, which even many lawyers are unfamiliar with. He carefully assesses the conduct of Starr and his prosecutors, including their contacts with the lawyers for Paula Jones and their hardball tactics with Monica Lewinsky and her mother. He compares and contrasts the Clinton affair with Watergate, Iran–Contra, and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, exploring the subtle relationship between public and private morality. And he examines the place of impeachment in the American constitutional scheme, the pros and cons of impeaching President Clinton, and the major procedural issues raised by both the impeachment in the House and the trial in the Senate. This book, reflecting the breadth of Posner’s experience and expertise, will be the essential foundation for anyone who wants to understand President Clinton’s impeachment ordeal.
Judges play a central role in the American legal system, but their behavior as decision-makers is not well understood, even among themselves. The system permits judges to be quite secretive (and most of them are), so indirect methods are required to make sense of their behavior. Here, a political scientist, an economist, and a judge work together to construct a unified theory of judicial decision-making. Using statistical methods to test hypotheses, they dispel the mystery of how judicial decisions in district courts, circuit courts, and the Supreme Court are made.
The authors derive their hypotheses from a labor-market model, which allows them to consider judges as they would any other economic actors: as self-interested individuals motivated by both the pecuniary and non-pecuniary aspects of their work. In the authors' view, this model describes judicial behavior better than either the traditional “legalist” theory, which sees judges as automatons who mechanically apply the law to the facts, or the current dominant theory in political science, which exaggerates the ideological component in judicial behavior. Ideology does figure into decision-making at all levels of the federal judiciary, the authors find, but its influence is not uniform. It diminishes as one moves down the judicial hierarchy from the Supreme Court to the courts of appeals to the district courts. As The Behavior of Federal Judges demonstrates, the good news is that ideology does not extinguish the influence of other components in judicial decision-making. Federal judges are not just robots or politicians in robes.
Following his timely and well-received A Failure of Capitalism, Richard Posner steps back to take a longer view of the continuing crisis of democratic capitalism as the American and world economies crawl gradually back from the depths to which they had fallen in the autumn of 2008 and the winter of 2009.
By means of a lucid narrative of the crisis and a series of analytical chapters pinpointing critical issues of economic collapse and gradual recovery, Posner helps non-technical readers understand business-cycle and financial economics, and financial and governmental institutions, practices, and transactions, while maintaining a neutrality impossible for persons professionally committed to one theory or another. He calls for fresh thinking about the business cycle that would build on the original ideas of Keynes. Central to these ideas is that of uncertainty as opposed to risk. Risk can be quantified and measured. Uncertainty cannot, and in this lies the inherent instability of a capitalist economy.
As we emerge from the financial earthquake, a deficit aftershock rumbles. It is in reference to that potential aftershock, as well as to the government’s stumbling efforts at financial regulatory reform, that Posner raises the question of the adequacy of our democratic institutions to the economic challenges heightened by the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. The crisis and the government’s energetic response to it have enormously increased the national debt at the same time that structural defects in the American political system may make it impossible to pay down the debt by any means other than inflation or devaluation.
Judges and legal scholars talk past one another, if they have any conversation at all. Academics couch their criticisms of judicial decisions in theoretical terms, which leads many judges—at the risk of intellectual stagnation—to dismiss most academic discourse as opaque and divorced from reality. In Divergent Paths, Richard Posner turns his attention to this widening gap within the legal profession, reflecting on its causes and consequences and asking what can be done to close or at least narrow it.
The shortcomings of academic legal analysis are real, but they cannot disguise the fact that the modern judiciary has several serious deficiencies that academic research and teaching could help to solve or alleviate. In U.S. federal courts, which is the focus of Posner’s analysis of the judicial path, judges confront ever more difficult cases, many involving complex and arcane scientific and technological distinctions, yet continue to be wedded to legal traditions sometimes centuries old. Posner asks how legal education can be made less theory-driven and more compatible with the present and future demands of judging and lawyering.
Law schools, he points out, have great potential to promote much-needed improvements in the judiciary, but doing so will require significant changes in curriculum, hiring policy, and methods of educating future judges. If law schools start to focus more on practical problems facing the American legal system rather than on debating its theoretical failures, the gulf separating the academy and the judiciary will narrow.
This book takes a fresh look at the most dynamic area of American law today, comprising the fields of copyright, patent, trademark, trade secrecy, publicity rights, and misappropriation. Topics range from copyright in private letters to defensive patenting of business methods, from moral rights in the visual arts to the banking of trademarks, from the impact of the court of patent appeals to the management of Mickey Mouse. The history and political science of intellectual property law, the challenge of digitization, the many statutes and judge-made doctrines, and the interplay with antitrust principles are all examined. The treatment is both positive (oriented toward understanding the law as it is) and normative (oriented to the reform of the law).
Previous analyses have tended to overlook the paradox that expanding intellectual property rights can effectively reduce the amount of new intellectual property by raising the creators' input costs. Those analyses have also failed to integrate the fields of intellectual property law. They have failed as well to integrate intellectual property law with the law of physical property, overlooking the many economic and legal-doctrinal parallels.
This book demonstrates the fundamental economic rationality of intellectual property law, but is sympathetic to critics who believe that in recent decades Congress and the courts have gone too far in the creation and protection of intellectual property rights.
Written by a lawyer and an economist, this is the first full-length economic study of tort law--the body of law that governs liability for accidents and for intentional wrongs such as battery and defamation. Landes and Posner propose that tort law is best understood as a system for achieving an efficient allocation of resources to safety--that, on the whole, rules and doctrines of tort law encourage the optimal investment in safety by potential injurers and potential victims.
The book contains both a comprehensive description of the major doctrines of tort law and a series of formal economic models used to explore the economic properties of these doctrines. All the formal models are translated into simple commonsense terms so that the "math less" reader can follow the text without difficulty; legal jargon is also avoided, for the sake of economists and other readers not trained in the law.
Although the primary focus is on explaining existing doctrines rather than on exploring their implementation by juries, insurance adjusters, and other "real world" actors, the book has obvious pertinence to the ongoing controversies over damage awards, insurance rates and availability, and reform of tort law-in fact it is an essential prerequisite to sound reform. Among other timely topics, the authors discuss punitive damage awards in products liability cases, the evolution of products liability law, and the problem of liability for "mass disaster" torts, such as might be produced by a nuclear accident. More generally, this book is an important contribution to the "law and economics" movement, the most exciting and controversial development in modern legal education and scholarship, and will become an obligatory reference for all who are concerned with the study of tort law.
Richard A. Posner is probably the leading scholar in the rapidly growing field of the economics of law; he is also an extremely lucid writer. In this book, he applies economic theory to four areas of interest to students of social and legal institutions: the theory of justice, primitive and ancient social and legal institutions, the law and economics of privacy and reputation, and the law and economics of racial discrimination.
The book is designed to display the power of economics to organize and illuminate diverse fields in the study of nonmarket behavior and institutions. A central theme is the importance of uncertainty to an understanding of social and legal institutions. Another major theme is that the logic of the law, in many ways but not all, appears to be an economic one: that judges, for example, in interpreting the common law, act as if they were trying to maximize economic welfare.
Part I examines the deficiencies of utilitarianism as both a positive and a normative basis of understanding law, ethics, and social institutions, and suggests in its place the economist’s concept of “wealth maximization.”
Part II, an examination of the social and legal institutions of archaic societies, notably that of ancient Greece and primitive societies, argues that economic analysis holds the key to understanding such diverse features of these societies as reciprocal gift-giving, blood guilt, marriage customs, liability rules, and the prestige accorded to generosity. Many topics relevant to modern social and philosophical debate, including the origin of the state and the retributive theory of punishment, are addressed.
Parts III and IV deal with more contemporary social and jurisprudential questions. Part III is an economic analysis of privacy and the statutory and common law rules that protect privacy and related interests—rules that include the tort law of privacy, assault and battery, and defamation. Finally, Part IV examines, again from an economic standpoint, the controversial areas of racial and sexual discrimination, with special reference to affirmative action. Both Part III and Part IV develop as a sub-theme the issue of proper standards of constitutional adjudication by the Supreme Court.
The financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 is the most alarming of our lifetime because of the warp-speed at which it is occurring. How could it have happened, especially after all that we’ve learned from the Great Depression? Why wasn’t it anticipated so that remedial steps could be taken to avoid or mitigate it? What can be done to reverse a slide into a full-blown depression? Why have the responses to date of the government and the economics profession been so lackluster? Richard Posner presents a concise and non-technical examination of this mother of all financial disasters and of the, as yet, stumbling efforts to cope with it. No previous acquaintance on the part of the reader with macroeconomics or the theory of finance is presupposed. This is a book for intelligent generalists that will interest specialists as well.
Among the facts and causes Posner identifies are: excess savings flowing in from Asia and the reckless lowering of interest rates by the Federal Reserve Board; the relation between executive compensation, short-term profit goals, and risky lending; the housing bubble fuelled by low interest rates, aggressive mortgage marketing, and loose regulations; the low savings rate of American people; and the highly leveraged balance sheets of large financial institutions.
Posner analyzes the two basic remedial approaches to the crisis, which correspond to the two theories of the cause of the Great Depression: the monetarist—that the Federal Reserve Board allowed the money supply to shrink, thus failing to prevent a disastrous deflation—and the Keynesian—that the depression was the product of a credit binge in the 1920s, a stock-market crash, and the ensuing downward spiral in economic activity. Posner concludes that the pendulum swung too far and that our financial markets need to be more heavily regulated.
The federal courts are the world’s most powerful judiciary and a vital element of the American political system. In recent decades, these courts have experienced unprecedented growth in caseload and personnel. Many judges and lawyers believe that a “crisis in quantity” is imperiling the ability of the federal judiciary to perform its historic function of administering justice fairly and expeditiously.
In a substantially revised edition of his widely acclaimed 1985 book The Federal Courts: Crisis and Reform, Chief Judge Richard A. Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit provides a comprehensive evaluation of the federal judiciary and a detailed program of judicial reform. Drawing on economic and political theory as well as on legal analysis and his own extensive judicial experience, Posner sketches the history of the federal courts, describes the contemporary institution, appraises the concerns that have been expressed with the courts’ performance, and presents a variety of proposals for both short-term and fundamental reform. In contrast to some of the direr prophecies of observers of the federal courts, Posner emphasizes the success of these courts in adapting to steep caseload growth with minimum sacrifice in quality.
Although the book ranges over a variety of traditional topics in federal jurisdiction, the focus is steady on federal judicial administration conceived of as an interdisciplinary approach emphasizing system rather than doctrine, statistics rather than impressions, and caseload rather than cases. Like the earlier edition, this book promises to be a landmark in the empirical study of judicial administration.
No sitting federal judge has ever written so trenchant a critique of the federal judiciary as Richard A. Posner does in this, his most confrontational book. Skewering the politicization of the Supreme Court, the mismanagement of judicial staff, the overly complex system of appeals, the threat of originalism, outdated procedures, and the backward-looking traditions of law schools and the American judicial system, Posner has written a cri de coeur and a battle cry. With the prospect that the Supreme Court will soon be remade in substantial, potentially revanchist, ways, The Federal Judiciary exposes the American legal system’s most troubling failures in order to instigate much-needed reforms.
Posner presents excerpts from legal texts and arguments to expose their flaws, incorporating his own explanation and judgment to educate readers in the mechanics of judicial thinking. This rigorous intellectual work separates sound logic from artful rhetoric designed to subvert precedent and open the door to oblique interpretations of American constitutional law. In a rebuke of Justice Antonin Scalia’s legacy, Posner shows how originalists have used these rhetorical strategies to advance a self-serving political agenda. Judicial culture adheres to an antiquated traditionalism, Posner argues, that inhibits progressive responses to threats from new technologies and other unforeseen challenges to society.
With practical prescriptions for overhauling judicial practices and precedents, The Federal Judiciary offers an unequaled resource for understanding the institution designed by the founders to check congressional and presidential power and resist its abuse.
The most exciting development in legal thinking since World War II has been the growth of interdisciplinary legal studies—the application of the social sciences and the humanities to law in the hope of making law less formalistic, more practical, better grounded empirically, bettered tailored to social goals. Judge Richard A. Posner has been a leader in this movement, and his new book explores its rapidly expanding frontier.
The book examines five principal areas or directions of interdisciplinary study: economics, history, psychology, the epistemology of law and the empirical study of law. These approaches are seen to interpenetrate and to compose a coherent body of legal theory—a unified framework for understanding such seemingly disparate phenomena as the economics of free speech, the intellectual history of economic analysis of law, the relation between income and liberty, the law of possession, the psychology of legal decisionmaking, the role of emotion in law, and the use of citation analysis to evaluate judges and law professors. The book carries on Posner’s project of analyzing the law as an institution of social governance.
Henry Friendly is frequently grouped with Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, and Learned Hand as the best American jurists of the twentieth century. In this first, comprehensive biography of Friendly, David M. Dorsen opens a unique window onto how a judge of this caliber thinks and decides cases, and how Friendly lived his life.
During his time on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (1959–1986), Judge Friendly was revered as a conservative who exemplified the tradition of judicial restraint. But he demonstrated remarkable creativity in circumventing precedent and formulating new rules in multiple areas of the law. Henry Friendly, Greatest Judge of His Era describes the inner workings of Friendly’s chambers and his craftsmanship in writing opinions. His articles on habeas corpus, the Fourth Amendment, self-incrimination, and the reach of the state are still cited by the Supreme Court.
Dorsen draws on extensive research, employing private memoranda between the judges and interviews with all fifty-one of Friendly’s law clerks—a veritable Who’s Who that includes Chief Justice John R. Roberts, Jr., six other federal judges, and seventeen professors at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and elsewhere. In his Foreword, Judge Richard Posner writes: “David Dorsen has produced the most illuminating, the most useful, judicial biography that I have ever read . . . We learn more about the American judiciary at its best than we can learn from any other . . . Some of what I’ve learned has already induced me to make certain changes in my judicial practice.”
A distinguished and experienced appellate court judge, Richard A. Posner offers in this new book a unique and, to orthodox legal thinkers, a startling perspective on how judges and justices decide cases. When conventional legal materials enable judges to ascertain the true facts of a case and apply clear pre-existing legal rules to them, Posner argues, they do so straightforwardly; that is the domain of legalist reasoning. However, in non-routine cases, the conventional materials run out and judges are on their own, navigating uncharted seas with equipment consisting of experience, emotions, and often unconscious beliefs. In doing so, they take on a legislative role, though one that is confined by internal and external constraints, such as professional ethics, opinions of respected colleagues, and limitations imposed by other branches of government on freewheeling judicial discretion. Occasional legislators, judges are motivated by political considerations in a broad and sometimes a narrow sense of that term. In that open area, most American judges are legal pragmatists. Legal pragmatism is forward-looking and policy-based. It focuses on the consequences of a decision in both the short and the long term, rather than on its antecedent logic. Legal pragmatism so understood is really just a form of ordinary practical reasoning, rather than some special kind of legal reasoning.
Supreme Court justices are uniquely free from the constraints on ordinary judges and uniquely tempted to engage in legislative forms of adjudication. More than any other court, the Supreme Court is best understood as a political court.
Hailed in its first edition as an "outstanding work, as stimulating as it is intellectually distinguished" (New York Times), Richard A. Posner's Law and Literature has handily lived up to the Washington Post's prediction that the book would "remain essential reading for many years to come." This new edition, extensively revised and enlarged, continues to emphasize the essential differences between law and literature, which are rooted in the different social functions of legal and literary texts. But it also explores areas of mutual illumination and expands its range to include new topics such as popular fiction about law, literary education for lawyers, the legal narrative movement, and judicial biography.
Literary works from classics by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Melville, Kafka, and Camus to contemporary fiction by William Gaddis, Tom Wolfe, and John Grisham come under Posner's scrutiny, as do recent attempts to apply the techniques of literary analysis to statutes, judicial opinions, and the Constitution. In a section entirely new in this edition, Posner discusses the increasing efforts of legal scholars to enrich their scholarship by borrowing the methods and insights of literature--even by insisting that legal education is incomplete without the ethical insights afforded by an immersion in literature.
Thoroughly rewritten and updated, free of legal and literary jargon, and informed by Posner's extensive erudition and legal experience, this book remains the most clear, acute, and comprehensive account of the intersection of law and literature--"a wonderfully original and instructive study of what literature has to teach us about the law, the methods of legal argument, and the interpretation of statutes and the Constitution" (Wall Street Journal).
Hailed in its first edition as an “outstanding work, as stimulating as it is intellectually distinguished” (New York Times), Law and Literature has handily lived up to the Washington Post’s prediction that the book would “remain essential reading for many years to come.” This third edition, extensively revised and enlarged, is the only comprehensive book-length treatment of the field. It continues to emphasize the essential differences between law and literature, which are rooted in the different social functions of legal and literary texts. But it also explores areas of mutual illumination and expands its range to include new topics such as the cruel and unusual punishments clause of the Constitution, illegal immigration, surveillance, global warming and bioterrorism, and plagiarism.
In this edition, literary works from classics by Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, Dostoevsky, Melville, Kafka, and Camus to contemporary fiction by Tom Wolfe, Margaret Atwood, John Grisham, and Joyce Carol Oates come under Richard Posner’s scrutiny, as does the film The Matrix.
The book remains the most clear, acute account of the intersection of law and literature.
A liberal state is a representative democracy constrained by the rule of law. Richard Posner argues for a conception of the liberal state based on pragmatic theories of government. He views the actions of elected officials as guided by interests rather than by reason and the decisions of judges by discretion rather than by rules. He emphasizes the institutional and material, rather than moral and deliberative, factors in democratic decision making.
Posner argues that democracy is best viewed as a competition for power by means of regular elections. Citizens should not be expected to play a significant role in making complex public policy regarding, say, taxes or missile defense. The great advantage of democracy is not that it is the rule of the wise or the good but that it enables stability and orderly succession in government and limits the tendency of rulers to enrich or empower themselves to the disadvantage of the public. Posner’s theory steers between political theorists’ concept of deliberative democracy on the left and economists’ public-choice theory on the right. It makes a significant contribution to the theory of democracy—and to the theory of law as well, by showing that the principles that inform Schumpeterian democratic theory also inform the theory and practice of adjudication. The book argues for law and democracy as twin halves of a pragmatic theory of American government.
Legal theory must become more factual and empirical and less conceptual and polemical, Richard Posner argues in this wide-ranging new book. The topics covered include the structure and behavior of the legal profession; constitutional theory; gender, sex, and race theories; interdisciplinary approaches to law; the nature of legal reasoning; and legal pragmatism. Posner analyzes, in witty and passionate prose, schools of thought as different as social constructionism and institutional economics, and scholars and judges as different as Bruce Ackerman, Robert Bork, Ronald Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, Richard Rorty, and Patricia Williams. He also engages challenging issues in legal theory that range from the motivations and behavior of judges and the role of rhetoric and analogy in law to the rationale for privacy and blackmail law and the regulation of employment contracts. Although written by a sitting judge, the book does not avoid controversy; it contains frank appraisals of radical feminist and race theories, the behavior of the German and British judiciaries in wartime, and the excesses of social constructionist theories of sexual behavior.
Throughout, the book is unified by Posner's distinctive stance, which is pragmatist in philosophy, economic in methodology, and liberal (in the sense of John Stuart Mill's liberalism) in politics. Brilliantly written, eschewing jargon and technicalities, it will make a major contribution to the debate about the role of law in our society.
Like other dangerous but pleasurable activities, such as downhill skiing and mountain climbing, engaging in unprotected sex implicitly involves the weighing of costs and benefits. Recognizing that the transmission of the AIDS virus is a consequence of private choices—rational and often informed—to engage in risky conduct, the authors employ tools of economic analysis to reassess the orthodox approach to AIDS by the public health community.
Standard predictions of the spread of AIDS, the authors argue, are questionable because they ignore rational behavioral response to the risk of infection. For the same reason, customary recommended public health measures, such as extensive testing for the AIDS virus, not only may be ineffective in controlling the spread of the disease but may actually cause it to spread more rapidly. The authors examine regulatory measures and proposals such as mandatory testing, criminal punishments, and immigration controls, as well as the subsidization of AIDS education and medical research, the social and fiscal costs of AIDS, the political economy of the government's response, and the interrelation of AIDS and fertility risk.
Neither liberal nor conservative, yet on the whole skeptical about governmental involvement in the epidemic, this book is certain to be controversial, but its injection of hard-headed economic thinking into the AIDS debate is long overdue. Although Private Choices and Public Health is accessible to the interested general reader, it will also capture the attention of economists—especially those involved in health issues—epidemiologists, public health workers, lawyers, and specialists in sexual behavior and drug addiction.
In this book, one of our country’s most distinguished scholar-judges shares with us his vision of the law. For the past two thousand years, the philosophy of law has been dominated by two rival doctrines. One contends that law is more than politics and yields, in the hands of skillful judges, correct answers to even the most difficult legal questions; the other contends that law is politics through and through and that judges wield essentially arbitrary powers. Rejecting these doctrines as too metaphysical in the first instance and too nihilistic in the second, Richard Posner argues for a pragmatic jurisprudence, one that eschews formalism in favor of the factual and the empirical. Laws, he argues, are not abstract, sacred entities, but socially determined goads for shaping behavior to conform with society’s values.
Examining how judges go about making difficult decisions, Posner argues that they cannot rely on either logic or science, but must fall back on a grab bag of informal methods of reasoning that owe less than one might think to legal training and experience. Indeed, he reminds us, the greatest figures in American law have transcended the traditional conceptions of the lawyer’s craft. Robert Jackson did not attend law school and Benjamin Cardozo left before getting a degree. Holmes was neither the most successful of lawyers nor the most lawyerly of judges. Citing these examples, Posner makes a plea for a law that frees itself from excessive insularity and takes all knowledge, practical and theoretical, as grist for its mill.
The pragmatism that Posner espouses implies looking at problems concretely, experimentally, without illusions, with an emphasis on keeping diverse paths of inquiry open, and, above all, with the insistence that social thought and action be evaluated as instruments to desired human goals rather than as ends in themselves. In making his arguments, he discusses notable figures in jurisprudence from Antigone to Ronald Dworkin as well as recent movements ranging from law and economics to civic republicanism, and feminism to libertarianism. All are subjected to Posner’s stringent analysis in a fresh and candid examination of some of the deepest problems presented by the enterprise of law.
In this timely book, the first comprehensive study of the modern American public intellectual--that individual who speaks to the public on issues of political or ideological moment--Richard Posner charts the decline of a venerable institution that included worthies from Socrates to John Dewey.
With the rapid growth of the media in recent years, highly visible forums for discussion have multiplied, while greater academic specialization has yielded a growing number of narrowly trained scholars. Posner tracks these two trends to their inevitable intersection: a proliferation of modern academics commenting on topics outside their ken. The resulting scene--one of off-the-cuff pronouncements, erroneous predictions, and ignorant policy proposals--compares poorly with the performance of earlier public intellectuals, largely nonacademics whose erudition and breadth of knowledge were well suited to public discourse.
Leveling a balanced attack on liberal and conservative pundits alike, Posner describes the styles and genres, constraints and incentives, of the activity of public intellectuals. He identifies a market for this activity--one with recognizable patterns and conventions but an absence of quality controls. And he offers modest proposals for improving the performance of this market--and the quality of public discussion in America today.
This paperback edition contains a new preface and and a new epilogue.
In Reflections on Judging, Richard Posner distills the experience of his thirty-one years as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Surveying how the judiciary has changed since his 1981 appointment, he engages the issues at stake today, suggesting how lawyers should argue cases and judges decide them, how trials can be improved, and, most urgently, how to cope with the dizzying pace of technological advance that makes litigation ever more challenging to judges and lawyers.
For Posner, legal formalism presents one of the main obstacles to tackling these problems. Formalist judges--most notably Justice Antonin Scalia--needlessly complicate the legal process by advocating "canons of constructions" (principles for interpreting statutes and the Constitution) that are confusing and self-contradictory. Posner calls instead for a renewed commitment to legal realism, whereby a good judge gathers facts, carefully considers context, and comes to a sensible conclusion that avoids inflicting collateral damage on other areas of the law. This, Posner believes, was the approach of the jurists he most admires and seeks to emulate: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, Learned Hand, Robert Jackson, and Henry Friendly, and it is an approach that can best resolve our twenty-first-century legal disputes.
Sexual drives are rooted in biology, but we don’t act on them blindly. Indeed, as the eminently readable judge and legal scholar Richard Posner shows, we make quite rational choices about sex, based on the costs and benefits perceived.
Drawing on the fields of biology, law, history, religion, and economics, this sweeping study examines societies from ancient Greece to today’s Sweden and issues from masturbation, incest taboos, date rape, and gay marriage to Baby M. The first comprehensive approach to sexuality and its social controls, Posner’s rational choice theory surprises, explains, predicts, and totally absorbs.
On December 5, 2004, the still-developing blogosphere took one of its biggest steps toward mainstream credibility, as Nobel Prize–winning economist Gary S. Becker and renowned jurist and legal scholar Richard A. Posner announced the formation of the Becker-Posner Blog.
In no time, the blog had established a wide readership and reputation as a reliable source of lively, thought-provoking commentary on current events, its pithy and profound weekly essays highlighting the value of economic reasoning when applied to unexpected topics. Uncommon Sense gathers the most important and innovative entries from the blog, arranged by topic, along with updates and even reconsiderations when subsequent events have shed new light on a question. Whether it’s Posner making the economic case for the legalization of gay marriage, Becker arguing in favor of the sale of human organs for transplant, or even the pair of scholars vigorously disagreeing about the utility of collective punishment, the writing is always clear, the interplay energetic, and the resulting discussion deeply informed and intellectually substantial.
To have a single thinker of the stature of a Becker or Posner addressing questions of this nature would make for fascinating reading; to have both, writing and responding to each other, is an exceptionally rare treat. With Uncommon Sense, they invite the adventurous reader to join them on a whirlwind intellectual journey. All they ask is that you leave your preconceptions behind.
Decision makers matching wits with an adversary want intelligence—good, relevant information to help them win. Intelligence can gain these advantages through directed research and analysis, agile collection, and the timely use of guile and theft. Counterintelligence is the art and practice of defeating these endeavors. Its purpose is the same as that of positive intelligence—to gain advantage—but it does so by exploiting, disrupting, denying, or manipulating the intelligence activities of others. The tools of counterintelligence include security systems, deception, and disguise: vaults, mirrors, and masks.
In one indispensable volume, top practitioners and scholars in the field explain the importance of counterintelligence today and explore the causes of—and practical solutions for—U.S. counterintelligence weaknesses. These experts stress the importance of developing a sound strategic vision in order to improve U.S. counterintelligence and emphasize the challenges posed by technological change, confused purposes, political culture, and bureaucratic rigidity. Vaults, Mirrors, and Masks skillfully reveals that robust counterintelligence is vital to ensuring America's security.
Published in cooperation with the Center for Peace and Security Studies and the George T. Kalaris Memorial Fund, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.
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