All the Laws But One: Civil Liberties in Wartime

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Knopf, Jan 1, 1998 - Political Science - 254 pages
In 1861, with the survival of the United States in jeopardy, Abraham Lincoln--the Great Emancipator and champion of human freedom--responded to the national threat by suspending the writ of "habeas corpus, a traditional bulwark of individual liberty. Lincoln's decision reveals in stark terms a conflict inherent in the practice of American democracy, and in this absorbing new study the Chief Justice of the United States examines the inevitable clash between the demands of a successful war effort and the compelling need to protect civil liberties.
Taking his title from Lincoln's speech before Congress defending his suspention of the writ, William H. Rehnquist relates in vivid detail how the exigencies of wartime have strained, threatened, and ultimately confirmed our most cherished civil liberties. The decisions made by a wartime government are unlike those made in times of peace, and here the Chief Justice guides the reader through the various wartime policies--and the legal decisions that followed--that tested the civil liberties we traditionally enjoy: the Lincoln administration's prosecution of civilians before military tribunals (as well as of the alleged conspirators in the Lincoln assassination); the criminalization in World War I of speech inciting resistance to the draft; the forcible relocation of Japanese-Americans in World War II; and the imposition for nearly three years of martial law in Hawaii.
Each of these instances illustrates the Roman dictum Inter arma silent leges, "In time of war the laws are silent"; but as Rehnquist argues, that silence alternates with voices raised in defense of civil liberties. Written with characteristic grace and authority, All the Lawsbut One is a fascinating blend of historical narrative and legal analysis, a major contribution to our understanding of the great American experiment.

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ALL THE LAWS BUT ONE: Civil Liberties in Wartime

User Review  - Kirkus

An enjoyable historical presentation with a frustratingly judicious conclusion. From the chief justice of the US Supreme Court you anticipate authoritative, decisive, even momentous opinions. In this ... Read full review

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User Review  - jclark88 - LibraryThing

I was very much surprised by how easy this book was to read. In fact, I found it rather fascinating to read Chief Justice Rehnquist's views on this subject. I thought he did a nice job of giving ... Read full review


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About the author (1998)

William H. Rehnquist is Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

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