The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight over Presidential Power

By Jonathan Mahler
Read by William Hughes

11.05 Hours 08/05/2008 unabridged
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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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Summary

Summary

One of the 2008 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“The Challenge is not just a very readable account of an important case. It is also an intimate account of the lawyers who overcame personal conflicts, animus, and flaws to produce a decision for the ages.” New York Times
“A work of rare drama.” New York Review of Books
“For those who thrill to what might be called the geology of American constitutional bedrock, The Challenge is a riveting read.” New York Sun
“Mahler excels at telling the story of a talented, fractious team coming together for a greater goal.” New Yorker
“An excellent legal thriller.” Toronto Star
“[Mahler’s] ability to communicate the grave constitutional consequences of the case and the often bizarrely circuitous path they must take to reach the Supreme Court make for a thrilling and moving drama of justice, democracy, and the patriotism of challenging your own government.” Amazon.com Review
“Mahler skillfully humanizes the characters and institutions at the heart of the case…[and] amply conveys the heroism of his protagonists.” Publishers Weekly

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Jonathan Mahler

Jonathan Mahler, a writer for the New York Times Magazine, is the author of Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction
Runtime: 11.05
Audience: Adult
Language: English