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/December Acquisitions

Selective Listing of Recent Acquisitions

The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era

by Akhil Reed Amar, Basic Books, 2016

When the stories that lead our daily news involve momentous constitutional questions, present-minded journalists and busy citizens cannot always see the stakes clearly. In The Constitution Today, Akhil Reed Amar, America's preeminent constitutional scholar, considers the biggest and most bitterly contested debates of the last two decades--from gun control to gay marriage, affirmative action to criminal procedure, presidential dynasties to congressional dysfunction, Bill Clinton's impeachment to Obamacare. He shows how the Constitution's text, history, and structure are a crucial repository of collective wisdom, providing specific rules and grand themes relevant to every organ of the American body politic.

Leading readers through the constitutional questions at stake in each episode while outlining his abiding views regarding the direction constitutional law must go, Amar offers an essential guide for anyone seeking to understand America's Constitution and its relevance today.

Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation's Highest Court

by Paul Finkelman, Harvard University Press, 2018

The three most important Supreme Court Justices before the Civil War—Chief Justices John Marshall and Roger B. Taney and Associate Justice Joseph Story—upheld the institution of slavery in ruling after ruling. These opinions cast a shadow over the Court and the legacies of these men, but historians have rarely delved deeply into the personal and political ideas and motivations they held. In Supreme Injustice, the distinguished legal historian Paul Finkelman establishes an authoritative account of each justice’s proslavery position, the reasoning behind his opposition to black freedom, and the incentives created by circumstances in his private life.

Finkelman uses census data and other sources to reveal that Justice Marshall aggressively bought and sold slaves throughout his lifetime—a fact that biographers have ignored. Justice Story never owned slaves and condemned slavery while riding circuit, and yet on the high court he remained silent on slave trade cases and ruled against blacks who sued for freedom. Although Justice Taney freed many of his own slaves, he zealously and consistently opposed black freedom, arguing in Dred Scott that free blacks had no Constitutional rights and that slave owners could move slaves into the Western territories. Finkelman situates this infamous holding within a solid record of support for slavery and hostility to free blacks.

Supreme Injustice boldly documents the entanglements that alienated three major justices from America’s founding ideals and embedded racism ever deeper in American civic life.

Being Watched: Legal Challenges to Government Surveillance

by Jeffrey L. Vagle, New York University Press, 2017

The tension between national security and civil rights is nowhere more evident than in the fight over government domestic surveillance. Governments must be able to collect information at some level, but surveillance has become increasingly controversial due to its more egregious uses and abuses, which tips the balance toward increased—and sometimes total—government control.This struggle came to forefront in the early 1970s, after decades of abuses by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies were revealed to the public, prompting both legislation and lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of these programs. As the plaintiffs in these lawsuits discovered, however, bringing legal challenges to secret government surveillance programs in federal courts faces a formidable obstacle in the principle that limits court access only to those who have standing, meaning they can show actual or imminent injury—a significant problem when evidence of the challenged program is secret.

In Being Watched , Jeffrey L. Vagle draws on the legacy of the 1972 Supreme Court decision in Laird v. Tatum to tell the fascinating and disturbing story of jurisprudence related to the issue of standing in citizen challenges to government surveillance in the United States. It examines the facts of surveillance cases and the reasoning of the courts who heard them, and considers whether the obstacle of standing to surveillance challenges in U.S. courts can ever be overcome.

Vagle journeys through a history of military domestic surveillance, tensions between the three branches of government, the powers of the presidency in times of war, and the power of individual citizens in the ongoing quest for the elusive freedom-organization balance. The history brings to light the remarkable number of similarities among the contexts in which government surveillance thrives, including overzealous military and intelligent agencies and an ideologically fractured Supreme Court. More broadly, Being Watched looks at our democratic system of government and its ability to remain healthy and intact during times of national crisis.

A compelling history of a Supreme Court decision and its far-reaching consequences, Being Watched is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the legal justifications for—and objections to—surveillance. 

The Power of Us: The Art and Science of Enlightened Citizen Engagement and Collection Action

by Anita R. Estell Esquire, AuthorHouse, 2013

The Power of Us is an easy-to-read handbook that promises to transform our individual and collective understanding of the federal government, how it really works, and most important, our own relevance in its operation. It provides instruction for those possessing the audacity to seize the opportunities unfolding during one of the most transformational periods in American history. Estell shares insights, experiences, wisdom, and expertise, gained in more than twenty years of working at the federal level, in a way that not only invites and supports constructive engagement but also sheds light on the way forward. The Power of US provides a profoundly creative approach relevant to policymakers and advocates. Estell's treatment is a breath of fresh air in civic discourse-which can be stifled by stale approaches and potentially toxic hyperpartisan dynamics.

The Fight for Fair Housing: Causes, Consequences, and Future Implications of the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act

by Gregory D. Squires, Taylor and Francis, 2017

The federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 was passed in a time of turmoil, conflict, and often conflagration in cities across the nation. It took the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to finally secure its passage. The Kerner Commission warned in 1968 that "to continue present policies is to make permanent the division of our country into two societies; one largely Negro and poor, located in the central cities; the other, predominantly white and affluent, located in the suburbs and outlying areas". The Fair Housing Act was passed with a dual mandate: to end discrimination and to dismantle the segregated living patterns that characterized most cities. The Fight for Fair Housing tells us what happened, why, and what remains to be done.

Since the passage of the Fair Housing Act, the many forms of housing discrimination and segregation, and associated consequences, have been documented. At the same time, significant progress has been made in counteracting discrimination and promoting integration. Few suburbs today are all white; many people of color are moving to the suburbs; and some white families are moving back to the city. Unfortunately, discrimination and segregation persist. The Fight for Fair Housing brings together the nation’s leading fair housing activists and scholars (many of whom are in both camps) to tell the stories that led to the passage of the Fair Housing Act, its consequences, and the implications of the act going forward. Including an afterword by Walter Mondale, this book is intended for everyone concerned with the future of our cities and equal access for all persons to housing and related opportunities.

Domestic Abuse, Child Custody, and Visitation: Winning in Family Court

by Toby G. Kleinman and Daniel Pollack, Oxford University Press, 2017

When domestic abuse and children are involved, divorce and custody can be the epitome of high-stakes conflict and frustration and all too frequently protective parents lose custody of their child to a named abuser. Domestic Abuse, Child Custody, and Visitation helps mental health professionals, attorneys, and lay readers navigate the judicial process so that decisions are truly made in the best interest of children. The text reveals how all the puzzle pieces of the judicial process fit together — judges, attorneys, mental health experts, children, spouses — and how to overcome many of the obstacles they will confront along the way. This runs the gamut, from the selection of a lawyer and experts, to setting necessary groundwork for an appeal. Domestic Abuse, Child Custody, and Visitation is an essential read for mental health professionals and lay people involved in divorce and custody, family court judges, family law attorneys, and mental health professionals involved in domestic abuse and custody matters.

The Science and Law of School Segregation and Diversity

by Roger J. R. Levesque, Oxford University Press, 2017

An empirical look at the U.S legal system's effectiveness in addressing school segregation reveals that segregation persists and even surpasses levels experienced before the Civil Rights Movement. Yet, lawmaking continues as though segregation is a thing of the past. The negative effects of racial and ethnic disparities in schooling are well documented, but legal analysts increasingly interpret the law as a system that operates independently of research findings clearly pointing to disparities. For their part, researchers continue to document experiences of segregation without considering the legal system's basic concerns.

The Science and Law of School Segregation and Diversity examines the sources of the disconnect between scientific findings on school segregation and how the U.S. legal system addresses it; evaluates these sources' empirical and legal foundations; explains why they persist; and reveals what can be done about them. Roger Levesque, a scholar with expertise in children's rights, family law, and adolescence, provides an overview of how the legal system approaches inequality based on racial/ethnic status. He presents an analysis of the empirical findings relating to the implementation of laws that would address racial disparities in schooling and educational outcomes. Finally, Levesque challenges jurisprudential claims that the developmental sciences do not offer important and useful tools to guide responses to differential treatment and circumstances based on race. This book will appeal to individuals interested in legal responses to schooling's place in society, discrimination, diversity, inequality, and more broadly, civil rights. The text will also appeal to developmentalists interested in prejudice, discrimination, and social development, and researchers, scholars, and students in law and psychology, law and education, law and human development, and law and society.

Defending the Masses: A Progressive Lawyer's Battles for Free Speech

by Eric B. Easton, University of Wisconsin Press, 2018

Free speech and freedom of the press were often suppressed amid the social turbulence of the Progressive Era and World War I. As muckrakers, feminists, pacifists, anarchists, socialists, and communists were arrested or censored for their outspoken views, many of them turned to a Manhattan lawyer named Gilbert Roe to keep them in business and out of jail.

Roe was the principal trial lawyer of the Free Speech League—a precursor of the American Civil Liberties Union. His cases involved such activists as Emma Goldman, Lincoln Steffens, Margaret Sanger, Max Eastman, Upton Sinclair, John Reed, and Eugene Debs, as well as the socialist magazine The Masses and the New York City Teachers Union. A friend of Wisconsin's progressive senator Robert La Follette since their law partnership as young men, Roe defended "Fighting Bob" when the Senate tried to expel him for opposing America's entry into World War I.

In articulating and upholding Americans' fundamental right to free expression against charges of obscenity, libel, espionage, sedition, or conspiracy during turbulent times, Roe was rarely successful in the courts. But his battles illuminate the evolution of free speech doctrine and practice in an era when it was under heavy assault. His greatest victory, including the 1917 decision by Judge Learned Hand in The Masses Publishing Co. v. Patten, is still influential today.