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All the Laws but One

Civil Liberties in Wartime

William H. Rehnquist

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Description

In All the Laws but One, William H. Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States, provides an insightful and fascinating account of the history of civil liberties during wartime and illuminates the cases where presidents have suspended the law in the name of national security.

Abraham Lincoln, champion of freedom and the rights of man, suspended the writ of habeas corpus early in the Civil War--later in the war he also imposed limits upon freedom of speech and the press and demanded that political criminals be tried in military courts. During World War II, the government forced 100,000 U.S. residents of Japanese descent, including many citizens, into detainment camps. Through these and other incidents Chief Justice Rehnquist brilliantly probes the issues at stake in the balance between the national interest and personal freedoms. With All the Laws but One he significantly enlarges our understanding of how the Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution during past periods of national crisis--and draws guidelines for how it should do so in the future.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Publishers Weekly Review

Dec 29, 1997 – In this lively account, Chief Justice Rehnquist tests the Roman maxim inter arma silent leges (in time of war the laws are silent) against American history and discusses the judiciary's response to government's wartime lawlessness. He begins with the Civil War, when the Lincoln administration "chose to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, interfere with freedom of speech and of the press, and try suspected political criminals before military commissions." Lincoln's defense of these practices gave the book its title, "Are all the laws, but one, to go unexecuted, and the government itself to go to pieces, lest that one be violated?" The tension between individual liberties and wartime necessities runs throughout the work as Rehnquist discusses several celebrated Civil War habeas corpus cases (Ex Parte Merryman and Ex Parte Milligan); political dissent during WWI; the internment of Japanese-Americans; and Hawaii's military government during WWII. Rehnquist reaches the considered conclusion that "the most important task is achieving a proper balance between freedom and order. In wartime, reason and history both suggest that this balance shifts to some degree in favor of order--in favor of the government's ability to deal with conditions that threaten the national well-being." Nevertheless, since the Civil War, courts have tamed the government's power to restrict civil liberties in wartime. Rehnquist is a diligent scholar and a compelling storyteller, who guides his readers to a consideration of abstract moral and legal issues in the light of specific historical circumstances.
All the Laws but One
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Law
  • Published: Sep 22, 1998
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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