Terror in the Balance Security, Liberty, and the Courts

ISBN-10: 019531025X

ISBN-13: 9780195310252

Edition: 2007

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Description:

In the wake of 9/11, the United States government has relied on a number of aggressive security measures to protect the nation. From domestic wiretapping without warrants to the surveillance of Muslim and Arab Americans and the coercive interrogation of suspected terrorists, the Bush administration's policies have attracted much controversy and been decried as outrageous violations of domestic and international law. In Terror in the Balance, Eric A. Posner and Adrian Vermeule argue that the legal and institutional basis of this critique is wrong. When governments strive to increase national security they should be given wide latitude to adjust policy and liberties in the time of emergency and war. Deference to the executive during emergencies, Posner and Vermeule contend, is necessary and powers must be made available to the executive when the increase in security justifies the corresponding losses from the decrease in liberty. Further, when the executive is compelled to implement controversial methods of protecting its citizens such as discrimination against aliens or censorship of hate speech, the judiciary should not interfere on constitutional grounds except in unusual circumstances. Courts and legislators are institutionally incapable of second guessing security policy, and trying to enforce ordinary law during times of emergency shackles government when it most needs flexibility. American constitutional law and international law do not provide reasons for courts or legislators to depart from their historical posture of deference to the executive during national emergencies. At a time when the 'struggle against violent extremism' dominates the United States' agenda, Terror in the Balance is a crucial warning against judicial overreaching for the sake of civil liberties.
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Book details

List price: $40.95
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 1/4/2007
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 328
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.342
Language: English

Adrian Vermeule is Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

Emergencies, tradeoffs, and deference
The panic theory
The democratic failure theory
The Ratchet theory and other long-run effects
Institutional alternatives to judicial deference
Coercive interrogation
Speech, due process, and political trials
Military force
Conclusion : emergency powers and lawyers' expertise
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