A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America

A Wild Justice The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America Drawing on never before published original source detail the epic story of two of the most consequential and largely forgotten moments in Supreme Court history For two hundred years the constituti

  • Title: A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America
  • Author: Evan Mandery
  • ISBN: 9780393239584
  • Page: 225
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Drawing on never before published original source detail, the epic story of two of the most consequential, and largely forgotten, moments in Supreme Court history.For two hundred years, the constitutionality of capital punishment had been axiomatic But in 1962, Justice Arthur Goldberg and his clerk Alan Dershowitz dared to suggest otherwise, launching an underfunded bandDrawing on never before published original source detail, the epic story of two of the most consequential, and largely forgotten, moments in Supreme Court history.For two hundred years, the constitutionality of capital punishment had been axiomatic But in 1962, Justice Arthur Goldberg and his clerk Alan Dershowitz dared to suggest otherwise, launching an underfunded band of civil rights attorneys on a quixotic crusade In 1972, in a most unlikely victory, the Supreme Court struck down Georgia s death penalty law in Furman v Georgia Though the decision had sharply divided the justices, nearly everyone, including the justices themselves, believed Furman would mean the end of executions in America.Instead, states responded with a swift and decisive showing of support for capital punishment As anxiety about crime rose and public approval of the Supreme Court declined, the stage was set in 1976 for Gregg v Georgia, in which the Court dramatically reversed direction.A Wild Justice is an extraordinary behind the scenes look at the Court, the justices, and the political complexities of one of the most racially charged and morally vexing issues of our time.

    One thought on “A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America”

    1. My first job out of law school was as a clerk for a state court of general jurisdiction. In the legal world, a law clerk is usually a younger attorney, fresh out of law school, who – for some inverted reason – gives advice and counsel to a judge with far greater experience. In that role, I got to participate in that rarest of legal proceedings: a capital murder case. From various vantage points (in open court, in the judge’s chambers, listening to the sidebars, eventually in my dreams), I [...]

    2. When I was in law school, I read in passing that the Supreme Court struck down the death penalty in the mid 1970's, but then reintroduced it just a few years later. I recall thinking, "Something must have happened." I didn't investigate further at the time, and yet the question always stayed with me. What exactly happened in those few years that's now generally forgotten to history? Evan Mandery's book answered that question and then some. It turns out A LOT happened in those years. The twists a [...]

    3. Phenomenal book on the Supreme Court, which brings the personal relationships to light. I did not know whether to feel inspired as it showed how human the Justices were, or depressed, as they used legal arguments to justify their personal decisions. The more I read about the Supreme Court, the more the decisions they make seem influenced by some may more factors than we outsiders can imagine.Great book for politicos, Mandrey makes the drama work well through out. His coverage of the characters i [...]

    4. A dense read that delved into the histories and experiences that shaped the key stakeholders (justices, litigators, researchers) in coming to their positions on capital punishment. A fascinating look into how law comes closely into play with social, political, sociological, racial, and emotional issues- hardly the black and white, but rather a multidimensional field of lobbying and strategy.

    5. A truly impactful narrative of the litigation leading up to Furman, the decision itself, and the conditions of the years between that and Gregg. Remarkably readable.

    6. This is a fascinating, well-written account of the most pivotal years in Supreme Court death penalty jurisprudence. Mandery reveals the significant stakes of the questions under review, which stretch far beyond the narrow policy issue of whether capital punishment is "good or bad." To say that the book is thoroughly researched is a tremendous understatement. Mandery has a wealth of primary sources and deploys them expertly. He conveys relevant intellectual heritages as well as anecdotes/informat [...]

    7. This is a riveting story of a few short years when the Supreme Court came close to declaring the death penalty unconstitutional but the decision by a sharply divided court in Fuhrman that held that the Georgia statute rendered verdicts of death to be wanton and freakish and thus arbitrary did not last very long. The issuance of this decision in 1972 may be seen as the last gasp of the liberal minded court which was transformed both by conservative appointments by Nixon and the backlash that Nixo [...]

    8. I only recommend this book to people who are very interested in the death penalty because the author nearly goes into every historical detail about it, especially when it comes to the background of the two cases being discussed.

    9. I am really interested in this topic and I heard the author on the radio. He had some provocative points, so I picked up the book. While the author knows his stuff, I got bored. The first few pages seemed quite promising. But after a while there were too many names, too many cases. Mandery summarizes a case in two or three sentences, but knowing a lot more than his summary is important to understanding the arguments. The author flips back and forth between cases, lawyers, and justices so frequen [...]

    10. I thoroughly found this book fascinating, but I was interested in death penalty law before I started this book. I especially found fascinating the interactions between the justices and their law clerks. As a law clerk myself, I found that many of their concerns mirror my own. Even though I don't work on any cases as weighty as the ones discussed in this book. This book loses a star because, like many nonfiction books, it contains too many irrelevant minutiae and redundancies.

    11. Meticulously researched, well written and reads as compellingly as fiction. Although the outcome is known, I couldn't help but hope for a different ending. (My only issue with this book was the lack of fine-tune editing. It seems that with advanced technology, there should be fewer typos in books.)

    12. I very much enjoyed this book. I'm quite familiar with the case--I teach in this area--but I still learned a great deal about the internal dynamics at the court, etc. Justice Stewart wasn't really primarily concerned with arbitrariness, for example? Nice, informed read. Must've been supreme interesting to research and write.

    13. Fabulous book. Mandery interviewed many clerks and had access to lots of internal memos and notes from the Justices, and he tells the story of the death penalty in the US; struck down then revived.

    14. It was detailed. I enjoyed the framework built around the fight to preserve our right as a nation to murder select inmates. Abolition is long overdue.

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