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  1. 14.4 hrs • 5/24/2016 • Unabridged

    When human rights lawyer Philippe Sands received an invitation to deliver a lecture in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, he began to uncover a series of extraordinary historical coincidences. It set him on a quest that would take him halfway around the world in an exploration of the origins of international law and the pursuit of his own secret family history, beginning and ending with the last day of the Nuremberg Trials. Part historical detective story, part family history, part legal thriller, Philippe Sands guides us between past and present as several interconnected stories unfold in parallel. The first is the hidden story of two Nuremberg prosecutors who discover, only at the end of the trials, that the man they are prosecuting, once Hitler’s personal lawyer, may be responsible for the murder of their entire families in Nazi-occupied Poland, in and around Lviv. The two prosecutors, Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, were remarkable men, whose efforts led to the inclusion of the terms crimes against humanity and genocide in the judgement at Nuremberg, with their different emphasis on the protection of individuals and groups. The defendant was no less compelling a character: Hans Frank, Hitler’s personal lawyer, friend of Richard Strauss, collector of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, and governor-general of Nazi-occupied Poland. A second strand to the book is more personal, as Sands traces the events that overwhelmed his mother’s family in Lviv and Vienna during the Second World War and led his grandfather to leave his wife and daughter behind as war came to Europe. At the heart of this book is an equally personal quest to understand the roots of international law and the concepts that have dominated Sands’ work as a lawyer. Eventually he finds unexpected answers to his questions about his family in this powerful meditation on the way memory, crime, and guilt leave scars across generations.

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    East West Street by Philippe Sands

    East West Street

    14.4 hrs • 5/24/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 13.3 hrs • 3/1/2016 • Unabridged

    One of America’s great miscarriages of justice, the Supreme Court’s infamous 1927 Buck v. Bell ruling made government sterilization of “undesirable” citizens the law of the land. New York Times bestselling author Adam Cohen tells the story in Imbeciles of one of the darkest moments in the American legal tradition: the Supreme Court’s decision to champion eugenic sterilization for the greater good of the country. In 1927, when the nation was caught up in eugenic fervor, the justices allowed Virginia to sterilize Carrie Buck, a perfectly normal young woman, for being an “imbecile.” It is a story with many villains, from the superintendent of the Dickensian Virginia Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded who chose Carrie for sterilization to the former Missouri agriculture professor and Nazi sympathizer who was the nation’s leading advocate for eugenic sterilization. But the most troubling actors of all were the eight Supreme Court justices who were in the majority – including William Howard Taft, the former president; Louis Brandeis, the legendary progressive; and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., America’s most esteemed justice, who wrote the decision urging the nation to embark on a program of mass eugenic sterilization. Exposing this tremendous injustice—which led to the sterilization of 70,000 Americans—Imbeciles overturns cherished myths and reappraises heroic figures in its relentless pursuit of the truth. With the precision of a legal brief and the passion of a front-page exposé, Cohen’s Imbeciles is an unquestionable triumph of American legal and social history, an ardent accusation against these acclaimed men, and our own optimistic faith in progress.

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    Imbeciles

    Read by Dan Woren
    13.3 hrs • 3/1/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 19.4 hrs • 10/13/2015 • Unabridged

    From the admired judicial authority, author of Louis D. Brandeis (“Remarkable”—Anthony Lewis, New York Review of Books; “Monumental”—Alan M. Dershowitz, New York Times Book Review), Division and Discord, and Supreme Decisions—Melvin Urofsky’s major new book looks at the role of dissent in the Supreme Court and the meaning of the Constitution through the greatest and longest lasting public-policy debate in the country’s history, among members of the Supreme Court, between the Court and the other branches of government, and between the Court and the people of the United States. Urofsky writes of the necessity of constitutional dialogue as one of the ways in which we as a people reinvent and reinvigorate our democratic society. In Dissent and the Supreme Court, he explores the great dissents throughout the Court’s 225-year history. He discusses in detail the role the Supreme Court has played in helping to define what the Constitution means, how the Court’s majority opinions have not always been right, and how the dissenters, by positing alternative interpretations, have initiated a critical dialogue about what a particular decision should mean. This dialogue is sometimes resolved quickly; other times it may take decades before the Court adjusts its position. Louis Brandeis’s dissenting opinion about wiretapping became the position of the Court four decades after it was written. The Court took six decades to adopt the dissenting opinion of the first Justice John Harlan in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)—that segregation on the basis of race violated the Constitution—in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Urofsky shows that the practice of dissent grew slowly but steadily and that in the nineteenth century dissents became more frequent. In the (in)famous case of Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), Chief Justice Roger Taney’s opinion upheld slavery, declaring that blacks could never be citizens. The justice received intense condemnations from several of his colleagues, but it took a civil war and three constitutional amendments before the dissenting view prevailed and Dred Scott was overturned. Urofsky looks as well at the many aspects of American constitutional life that were affected by the Earl Warren Court—free speech, race, judicial appointment, and rights of the accused—and shows how few of these decisions were unanimous, and how the dissents in the earlier cases molded the results of later decisions; how with Roe v. Wade—the Dred Scott of the modern era—dissent fashioned subsequent decisions, and how, in the Court, a dialogue that began with the dissents in Roe has shaped every decision since. Urofsky writes of the rise of conservatism and discusses how the resulting appointments of more conservative jurists to the bench put the last of the Warren liberals—William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall—in increasingly beleaguered positions, and in the minority. He discusses the present age of incivility, in which reasoned dialogue seems less and less possible. Yet within the Marble Palace, the members of the Supreme Court continue to hear arguments, vote, and draft majority opinions, while the minority continues to “respectfully dissent.” The Framers understood that if a constitution doesn’t grow and adapt, it atrophies and dies, and if it does, so does the democratic society it has supported. Dissent—on the Court and off, Urofsky argues—has been a crucial ingredient in keeping the Constitution alive and must continue to be so.

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    Dissent and the Supreme Court

    19.4 hrs • 10/13/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 8.3 hrs • 12/16/2014 • Unabridged

    In Breaking In, veteran journalist Joan Biskupic tells the story of how two forces providentially merged—the large ambitions of a talented Puerto Rican girl raised in the projects in the Bronx and the increasing political presence of Hispanics, from California to Texas, from Florida to the Northeast—resulting in a historical appointment. And this is not just a tale about breaking barriers as a Puerto Rican. It’s about breaking barriers as a justice. As a Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor has shared her personal story to an unprecedented degree. And that story—of a Latina who emerged from tough times in the projects not only to prevail but also to rise to the top—has even become fabric for some of her most passionate comments on matters before the Court. But there is yet more to know about the rise of Sotomayor. Breaking In offers the larger, untold story of the woman who has been called “the people’s justice.”

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    Breaking In

    8.3 hrs • 12/16/14 • Unabridged
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  5. 7.2 hrs • 10/21/2014 • Unabridged

    The remarkable story of Josef Hartinger, the German prosecutor who risked everything to bring to justice the first killers of the Holocaust and whose efforts would play a key role in the Nuremberg tribunal. Before Germany was engulfed by Nazi dictatorship, it was a constitutional republic. And just before Dachau Concentration Camp became a site of Nazi genocide, it was a state detention center for political prisoners, subject to police authority and due process. The camp began its irrevocable transformation from one to the other following the execution of four Jewish detainees in the spring of 1933. Timothy W. Ryback’s gripping and poignant historical narrative focuses on those first victims of the Holocaust and the investigation that followed, as Hartinger sought to expose these earliest cases of state-condoned atrocity.  In documenting the circumstances surrounding these first murders and Hartinger’s unrelenting pursuit of the SS perpetrators, Ryback indelibly evokes a society on the brink—one in which civil liberties are sacrificed to national security, in which citizens increasingly turn a blind eye to injustice, in which the bedrock of judicial accountability chillingly dissolves into the martial caprice of the Third Reich. We see Hartinger, holding on to his unassailable sense of justice, doggedly resisting the rising dominance of Nazism. His efforts were only a temporary roadblock to the Nazis, but Ryback makes clear that Hartinger struck a lasting blow for justice. The forensic evidence and testimony gathered by Hartinger provided crucial evidence in the postwar trials. Hitler’s First Victims exposes the chaos and fragility of the Nazis’ early grip on power and dramatically suggests how different history could have been had other Germans followed Hartinger’s example of personal courage in that time of collective human failure.

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    Hitler’s First Victims

    7.2 hrs • 10/21/14 • Unabridged
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  6. 10.3 hrs • 8/26/2013 • Unabridged

    No right seems more fundamental to American public life than freedom of speech. Yet well into the twentieth century, that freedom was still an unfulfilled promise, with Americans regularly imprisoned merely for speaking out against government policies. Indeed, free speech as we know it comes less from the First Amendment than from a most unexpected source: Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. A lifelong skeptic, he disdained all individual rights, including the right to express one’s political views. But in 1919, it was Holmes who wrote a dissenting opinion that would become the canonical affirmation of free speech in the United States. Why did Holmes change his mind? That question has puzzled historians for almost a century. Now, with the aid of newly discovered letters and confidential memos, law professor Thomas Healy reconstructs in vivid detail Holmes’ journey from free-speech opponent to First Amendment hero. It is the story of a remarkable behind-the-scenes campaign by a group of progressives to bring a legal icon around to their way of thinking—and a deeply touching human narrative of an old man saved from loneliness and despair by a few unlikely young friends. Beautifully written and exhaustively researched, The Great Dissent is intellectual history at its best, revealing how free debate can alter the life of a man and the legal landscape of an entire nation.

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    The Great Dissent

    10.3 hrs • 8/26/13 • Unabridged
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    17.9 hrs • 5/22/2013 • Unabridged

    Arguably the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century, Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing the landmark suit Brown v. Board of Education before the US Supreme Court when he became embroiled in an explosive and deadly case that threatened to change the course of the civil rights movement and cost him his life. In 1949, Florida’s orange industry was booming, and citrus barons got rich on the backs of cheap Jim Crow labor. To maintain order and profits, they turned to Willis V. McCall, a violent sheriff who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white seventeen-year-old Groveland girl cried rape, McCall was fast on the trail of four young blacks who dared to envision a future for themselves beyond the citrus groves. By day’s end, the Ku Klux Klan had rolled into town, burning the homes of blacks to the ground and chasing hundreds into the swamps, hell-bent on lynching the young men who came to be known as “the Groveland Boys.” And so began the chain of events that would bring Thurgood Marshall, the man known as “Mr. Civil Rights,” into the deadly fray. Associates thought it was suicidal for him to wade into the “Florida Terror” at a time when he was irreplaceable to the burgeoning civil rights movement, but the lawyer would not shrink from the fight—not after the Klan had murdered one of Marshall’s NAACP associates involved with the case and Marshall had endured continual threats that he would be next. Drawing on a wealth of never-before-published material, including the FBI’s unredacted Groveland case files, as well as unprecedented access to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund files, King shines new light on this remarkable civil rights crusader, setting his rich and driving narrative against the heroic backdrop of a case that US Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson decried as “one of the best examples of one of the worst menaces to American justice.”

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    Devil in the Grove

    17.9 hrs • 5/22/13 • Unabridged
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  8. 7.1 hrs • 3/5/2013 • Unabridged

    From Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court, comes this fascinating book about the history and evolution of the highest court in the land. Out of Order sheds light on the centuries of change and upheaval that transformed the Supreme Court from its uncertain beginnings into the remarkable institution that thrives and endures today. From the early days of circuit-riding, when justices, who also served as trial judges, traveled thousands of miles per year on horseback to hear cases, to the changes in civil rights ushered in by Earl Warren and Thurgood Marshall; from foundational decisions such as Marbury v. Madison to modern-day cases such as Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Justice O’Connor weaves together stories and lessons from the history of the court, charting turning points and pivotal moments that have helped define our nation’s progress. With unparalleled insight and unique perspective, Justice O’Connor takes us on a personal exploration, painting vivid pictures of justices in history. We get a rare glimpse into the Supreme Court’s inner workings: how cases are chosen for hearing; the personal relationships that exist among the justices; and the customs and traditions, both public and private, that bind one generation of jurists to the next—from the seating arrangements at court lunches to the fiercely competitive basketball games played in the court building’s top-floor gymnasium, the so-called “highest court in the land.” Wise, candid, and assured, Out of Order is a rich offering of inspiring stories about one of our country’s most important institutions, from one of our country’s most respected pioneers.

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    Out of Order

    7.1 hrs • 3/5/13 • Unabridged
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  9. 9.6 hrs • 1/1/2013 • Unabridged

    On June 28, 1839, the Spanish slave schooner Amistad set sail from Havana on a routine delivery of human cargo. On a moonless night, after four days at sea, the captive Africans rose up, killed the captain, and seized control of the ship. They attempted to sail to a safe port but were captured by the US Navy and thrown into jail in Connecticut. Their legal battle for freedom eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, where their cause was argued by former president John Quincy Adams. In a landmark ruling, they were freed and eventually returned to Africa. The rebellion became one of the best-known events in the history of American slavery, celebrated as a triumph of the legal system in films and books, all reflecting the elite perspective of the judges, politicians, and abolitionists involved in the case. In this powerful and highly original account, Marcus Rediker reclaims the rebellion for its true proponents: the African rebels who risked death to stake a claim for freedom. Using newly discovered evidence, Rediker reframes the story to show how a small group of courageous men fought—and won—an epic battle against Spanish and American slaveholders and their governments. He reaches back to Africa to find the rebels’ roots, narrates their cataclysmic transatlantic journey, and unfolds a prison story full of drama and emotion. The successful Amistad rebellion changed the very nature of the struggle against slavery. As a handful of self-emancipated Africans steered their own course to freedom, they opened a way for millions to follow.

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    The Amistad Rebellion

    9.6 hrs • 1/1/13 • Unabridged
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  10. 10.3 hrs • 12/12/2012 • Unabridged

    Charged with the responsibility of interpreting the Constitution, the Supreme Court has the awesome power to strike down laws enacted by our elected representatives. Why does the public accept the Court’s decisions as legitimate and follow them, even when those decisions are highly unpopular? What must the Court do to maintain the public’s faith? How can it help make our democracy work? In this groundbreaking book, Justice Stephen Breyer tackles these questions and more, offering an original approach to interpreting the Constitution that judges, lawyers, and scholars will look to for many years to come. Breyer delivers an impassioned argument for the proper role of America’s highest judicial body and examines historic and contemporary decisions by the Court, highlighting the rulings that have bolstered public confidence as well as the missteps that have triggered distrust.

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    Making Our Democracy Work

    10.3 hrs • 12/12/12 • Unabridged
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  11. 0 reviews 0 5 3 3 out of 5 stars 3/5
    12.2 hrs • 9/18/2012 • Unabridged

    From the moment John Roberts, the chief justice of the United States, blundered through the Oath of Office at Barack Obama’s inauguration, the relationship between the Supreme Court and the White House has been confrontational. Both men are young, brilliant, charismatic, charming, determined to change the course of the nation—and completely at odds on almost every major constitutional issue. One is radical; one essentially conservative. The surprise is that Obama is the conservative—a believer in incremental change, compromise, and pragmatism over ideology. Roberts—and his allies on the Supreme Court—seek to overturn decades of precedent: in short, to undo the ultimate victory FDR achieved in the New Deal. This ideological war will crescendo during the 2011–2012 term, in which several landmark cases are on the Supreme Court’s docket—most crucially, a challenge to Obama’s controversial health-care legislation. With four new justices joining the Supreme Court in just five years, including Obama’s appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, this is a dramatically—and historically—different Supreme Court, playing for the highest of stakes. No one is better positioned to chronicle this dramatic tale than Jeffrey Toobin, whose prize-winning bestseller The Nine laid bare the inner workings and conflicts of the Supreme Court in meticulous and entertaining detail. As the nation prepares to vote for president in 2012, the future of the Supreme Court will also be on the ballot.

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    The Oath

    12.2 hrs • 9/18/12 • Unabridged
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  12. 14.0 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    In 1945, Willie McGee, a young African American man from Laurel, Mississippi, was sentenced to death for allegedly raping Willette Hawkins, a white housewife. At first, McGee’s case was barely noticed, covered only in hostile Mississippi newspapers and far-left publications such as the Daily Worker. Then Bella Abzug, a young New York labor lawyer, was hired by the Civil Rights Congress—an aggressive civil rights organization with ties to the Communist Party of the United States—to oversee McGee’s defense. Together with William Patterson, the son of a slave and a devout believer in the need for revolutionary change, Abzug and a group of white Mississippi lawyers risked their lives to plead McGee’s case. After years of court battles, McGee’s supporters flooded President Harry S. Truman and the U.S. Supreme Court with clemency pleas, and famous Americans—including William Faulkner, Albert Einstein, Jessica Mitford, Paul Robeson, Norman Mailer, and Josephine Baker—spoke out on McGee’s behalf. By the time the case ended in 1951 with McGee’s public execution in Mississippi’s infamous traveling electric chair, “Free Willie McGee” had become a rallying cry among civil rights activists, progressives, leftists, and Communist Party members. Their movement had succeeded in convincing millions of people worldwide that McGee had been framed and that the real story involved a consensual love affair between him and Mrs. Hawkins—one that she had instigated and controlled. As Heard discovered, this controversial theory is a doorway to a tangle of secrets that spawned a legacy of confusion, misinformation, and pain that still resonates today. The mysteries surrounding McGee’s case live on in this provocative tale of justice in the Deep South. Based on exhaustive documentary research—court transcripts, newspaper reports, archived papers, letters, FBI documents, and the recollections of family members on both sides—Mississippi native Alex Heard tells a moving and unforgettable story that evokes the bitter conflicts between black and white, North and South, in America. 

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    The Eyes of Willie McGee

    14.0 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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  13. 12.9 hrs • 6/20/2012 • Unabridged

    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., is considered one of the greatest justices of the United States Supreme Court and profoundly influenced American jurisprudence, especially in the areas of civil liberties and judicial restraint. At the same time, his abilities as a prose stylist earned him a position among the literary elite. In The Common Law, derived from a series of lectures given at the Lowell Institute in Boston, he systematized his early legal doctrines, creating an enduring classic of legal philosophy that continues to be read and consulted today. Beginning with historical forms of liability, it goes on to discuss criminal law, torts, bail, possession and ownership, contracts, successions, and many other aspects of civil and criminal law. This is a lucid, accessible, and continually relevant sourcebook for students and laymen alike.

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    The Common Law by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

    The Common Law

    12.9 hrs • 6/20/12 • Unabridged
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  14. 3.3 hrs • 4/4/2012 • Unabridged

    Saint Thomas Aquinas, an Italian philosopher and Dominican friar who lived during the thirteenth century, was the greatest of the medieval theologians. His writings harmonized faith and reason, which resulted in a Christian form of rationalism. This treatise comprises questions 90–97 of the Summa Theologica, in which St. Thomas presents a philosophical analysis of the nature and structure of law. Believing that law achieves its results by imposing moral obligations rather than outright force on those subject to it, he proceeds to explore vital questions about the essence of law, kinds of law, effects of law, eternal law, natural law, human law, and changes in law.

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    Treatise on Law

    3.3 hrs • 4/4/12 • Unabridged
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  15. 18.6 hrs • 2/14/2012 • Unabridged

    Enemies is the first definitive history of the FBI’s secret intelligence operations, from an author whose work on the Pentagon and the CIA won him the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. We think of the FBI as America’s police force. But secret intelligence is the Bureau’s first and foremost mission. Enemies is the story of how presidents have used the FBI as the most formidable intelligence force in American history. Here is the hidden history of America’s hundred-year war on terror. The FBI has fought against terrorists, spies, anyone it deemed subversive—and sometimes American presidents. The FBI’s secret intelligence and surveillance techniques have created a tug-of-war between protecting national security and infringing upon civil liberties. It is a tension that strains the very fabric of a free republic.

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    Enemies

    18.6 hrs • 2/14/12 • Unabridged
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  16. 11.1 hrs • 8/5/2008 • Unabridged

    In November 2001, a thirty-one-year-old Yemeni man named Salim Ahmed Hamdan was captured near the Pakistan border and turned over to US forces in Afghanistan. After confessing to being Osama bin Laden’s driver, Hamdan was transferred to Guantánamo Bay and designated for trial before a special military tribunal. The Pentagon assigned a young military defense lawyer, Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift, to represent him in a defense that no one expected to amount to much. But with the help of a young constitutional law professor, Neal Katyal, Swift sued the Bush administration over the legality of the tribunals—and won. Written with the cooperation of Swift and Katyal, here is the inside story of this seminal case, perhaps the most important decision on presidential power and the rule of law in the history of the Supreme Court.

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    The Challenge by Jonathan Mahler

    The Challenge

    11.1 hrs • 8/5/08 • Unabridged
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