An exacting look at American legal responses to terrorism, both before and after 9/11
"We are in difficult times for the protection of our liberties. Nonetheless, citizens are showing an increased willingness to resist the erosion of the U.S. Constitution. . . . Lawson Mack and Kelly stress the importance of not giving up these fundamental rights and conclude with a message of optimism, noting an increased backlash against the administration's more draconian measures. Although the landscape is still quite bleak, change is in the air."
-Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights, from the foreword
"A compelling and sophisticated critique of the U.S. government's post-9/11 actions. Mack and Kelly set the stage with the historical perspective on America's response to terrorism and the assessment of terrorist threats, before launching into a comprehensive analysis of the USA Patriot Act. Their hard-hitting approach and easy-to-read style makes for a fascinating treatment of the government's legislative and executive response to the attacks."
-Michael P. Scharf, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
With its sweeping critique of the USA Patriot Act and the Bush administration's maneuvers in pursuit of terrorists, Equal Justice in the Balance is a sobering and exacting look at American legal responses to terrorism, both before and after 9/11.
The authors detail wide-ranging and persuasive evidence that American antiterrorism legislation has led to serious infringements of our civil rights. They show us how deviations from our fundamental principles of fairness and justice in times of heightened national anxiety-whether the Red Scare, World War II, or the War on Terrorism-have resulted in overreaction and excess, later requiring apologies and reparations to those victimized by a paranoia-driven justice system.
While terrorist attacks-especially on a large scale and on American soil-damage our national pride and sense of security, the authors offer powerful arguments for why we must allow our judicial infrastructure, imperfect as it is, to respond without undue interference from the politics of anger and vengeance.
Raneta Lawson Mack is Professor of Law and Michael J. Kelly is Assistant Professor of Law at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.