New Books Page

For a complete list of acquisitions for a particular week, please select a link from the list below. Full monthly listings can be found in the Acquisitions List Archive.

MU Law Acquisitions Lists

November-January Acquisitions

Selective Listing of Recent Acquisitions

Independence Corrupted: How America's Judges Make Their Decisions

by Charles Benjamin Schudson, University of Wisconsin Press, 2018

With experience as both a trial and appellate judge, Charles Benjamin Schudson knows the burdens on judges. With engaging candor, he takes readers behind the bench to probe judicial minds analyzing actual trials and sentencings—of abortion protesters, murderers, sex predators, white supremacists, and others. He takes us into chambers to hear judges forging appellate decisions about life and death, multimillion-dollar damages, and priceless civil rights. And, most significantly, he exposes the financial, political, personal, and professional pressures that threaten judicial ethics and independence.

As political attacks on judges increase, Schudson calls for reforms to protect judicial independence and for vigilance to ensure justice for all. Independence Corrupted is invaluable for students and scholars, lawyers and judges, and all citizens concerned about the future of America's courts.


 

From Asylum to Prison: Deinstitutionalization and the Rise of Mass Incarceration After 1945

by Anne E. Parsons, University of North Carolina Press, 2018

To many, asylums are a relic of a bygone era. State governments took steps between 1950 and 1990 to minimize the involuntary confinement of people in psychiatric hospitals, and many mental health facilities closed down. Yet, as Anne Parsons reveals, the asylum did not die during deinstitutionalization. Instead, it returned in the modern prison industrial complex as the government shifted to a more punitive, institutional approach to social deviance. Focusing on Pennsylvania, the state that ran one of the largest mental health systems in the country, Parsons tracks how the lack of community-based services, a fear-based politics around mental illness, and the economics of institutions meant that closing mental hospitals fed a cycle of incarceration that became an epidemic.

This groundbreaking book recasts the political narrative of the late twentieth century, as Parsons charts how the politics of mass incarceration shaped the deinstitutionalization of psychiatric hospitals and mental health policy making. In doing so, she offers critical insight into how the prison took the place of the asylum in crucial ways, shaping the rise of the prison industrial complex.

Plausible Legality: Legal Culture and Political Imperative in the Global War on Terror

by Rebecca Sanders, Oxford University Press, 2018

In many ways, the United States' post-9/11 engagement with legal rules is puzzling. Officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations authorized numerous contentious counterterrorism policies that sparked global outrage, yet they have repeatedly insisted that their actions were lawful and legitimate. 

In Plausible Legality, Rebecca Sanders examines how the US government interpreted, reinterpreted, and manipulated legal norms and what these justificatory practices imply about the capacity of law to constrain state violence. Through case studies on the use of torture, detention, targeted killing, and surveillance, Sanders provides a detailed analysis of how policymakers use law to achieve their political objectives and situates these patterns within a broader theoretical understanding of how law operates in contemporary politics. She argues that legal culture—defined as collectively shared understandings of legal legitimacy and appropriate forms of legal practice in particular contexts—plays a significant role in shaping state practice. In the global war on terror, a national security culture of legal rationalization encouraged authorities to seek legal cover-to construct the plausible legality of human rights violations-in order to ensure impunity for wrongdoing.

Looking forward, law remains vulnerable to evasion and revision. As Sanders shows, despite the efforts of human rights advocates to encourage deeper compliance, the normalization of post-9/11 policy has created space for future administrations to further erode legal norms.

The Clamor of Lawyers: The American Revolution and Crisis in the Legal Profession

by Peter Charles Hoffer and Williamjames Hull Hoffer, Cornell University Press, 2018

The Clamor of Lawyers explores a series of extended public pronouncements that British North American colonial lawyers crafted between 1761 and 1776. Most, though not all, were composed outside of the courtroom and detached from on-going litigation. While they have been studied as political theory, these writings and speeches are rarely viewed as the work of active lawyers, despite the fact that key protagonists in the story of American independence were members of the bar with extensive practices. The American Revolution was, in fact, a lawyers’ revolution.

Peter Charles Hoffer and Williamjames Hull Hoffer broaden our understanding of the role that lawyers played in framing and resolving the British imperial crisis. The revolutionary lawyers, including John Adams’s idol James Otis, Jr., Pennsylvania’s John Dickinson, and Virginians Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, along with Adams and others, deployed the skills of their profession to further the public welfare in challenging times. They were the framers of the American Revolution and the governments that followed. Loyalist lawyers and lawyers for the crown also participated in this public discourse, but because they lost out in the end, their arguments are often slighted or ignored in popular accounts. This division within the colonial legal profession is central to understanding the American Republic that resulted from the Revolution.

Gold Mountain Turned to Dust: Essays on the Legal History of the Chinese in the Nineteenth-Century American West

by John R. Wunder and Liping Zhu, University of New Mexico Press, 2018

Some half million Chinese immigrants settled in the American West in the nineteenth century. In spite of their vital contributions to the economy in gold mining, railroad construction, the founding of small businesses, and land reclamation, the Chinese were targets of systematic political discrimination and widespread violence. This legal history of the Chinese experience in the American West, based on the author’s lifetime of research in legal sources all over the West—from California to Montana to New Mexico—serves as a basic account of the legal treatment of Chinese immigrants in the West.

The first two essays deal with anti-Chinese racial violence and judicial discrimination. The remainder of the book examines legal precedents and judicial doctrines derived from Chinese cases in specific western states. The Chinese, Wunder shows, used the American legal system to protect their rights and test a variety of legal doctrines, making vital contributions to the legal history of the American West.

Our Selfish Tax Laws: Toward Tax Reform That Mirrors Our Better Selves

by Anthony C. Infanti, MIT Press, 2018

Most of us think of tax as a pocketbook issue: how much we owe, how much we'll get back, how much we can deduct. In Our Selfish Tax Laws , Anthony Infanti takes a broader view, considering not just how taxes affect us individually but how the tax system reflects our culture and society. He finds that American tax laws validate and benefit those who already possess power and privilege while starkly reflecting the lines of difference and discrimination in American society based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, immigration status, and disability. Infanti argues that instead of focusing our tax reform discussions on which loopholes to close or which deductions to allow, we should consider how to make our tax system reflect American ideals of inclusivity rather than institutionalizing exclusion.

After describing the theoretical and intellectual underpinnings of his argument, Infanti offers two comparative case studies, examining the treatment of housing tax expenditures and the unit of taxation in the United States, Canada, France, and Spain to show how tax law reflects its social and cultural context. Then, drawing on his own work and that of other critical tax scholars, Infanti explains how the discourse surrounding tax reform masks the many ways that the American tax system rewards and reifies privilege. To counter this, Infanti urges us to work together to create a society with a tax system that respects and values all Americans.

What Justices Want: Goals and Personality on the U.S. Supreme Court

by Matthew E. K. Hall, Cambridge University Press, 2018

The most sophisticated theories of judicial behavior depict judges as rational actors who strategically pursue multiple goals when making decisions. However, these accounts tend to disregard the possibility that judges have heterogeneous goal preferences - that is, that different judges want different things. Integrating insights from personality psychology and economics, this book proposes a new theory of judicial behavior in which judges strategically pursue multiple goals, but their personality traits determine the relative importance of those goals. This theory is tested by analyzing the behavior of justices who served on the US Supreme Court between 1946 and 2015. Using recent advances in text-based personality measurement, Hall evaluates the influence of the 'big five' personality traits on the justices' behavior during each stage of the Court's decision-making process. What Justices Want shows that personality traits directly affect the justices' choices and moderate the influence of goal-related situational factors on justices' behavior.

Data-Driven Law: Data Analytics and the New Legal Services

edited by Edward J. Walters, Taylor and Francis, 2018

For increasingly data-savvy clients, lawyers can no longer give "it depends" answers rooted in anecdata. Clients insist that their lawyers justify their reasoning, and with more than a limited set of war stories. The considered judgment of an experienced lawyer is unquestionably valuable. However, on balance, clients would rather have the considered judgment of an experienced lawyer informed by the most relevant information required to answer their questions.

In addition to providing clients with data-based insight, legal firms can track a matter with data from beginning to end, from the marketing spend through to the type of matter, hours spent, billed, and collected, including metrics on profitability and success. Firms can organize and collect documents after a matter and even automate them for reuse. Data on marketing related to a matter can be an amazing source of insight about which practice areas are most profitable.

Data-driven decision-making requires firms to think differently about their workflow. Most firms warehouse their files, never to be seen again after the matter closes. Running a data-driven firm requires lawyers and their teams to treat information about the work as part of the service, and to collect, standardize, and analyze matter data from cradle to grave. More than anything, using data in a law practice requires a different mindset about the value of this information. This book helps legal professionals to develop this data-driven mindset.