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

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W. W. Norton & Company, Aug 19, 2013 - Law - 534 pages
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New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

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 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.

 

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Contents

Chapter 2 THE MOST IMPORTANT LAW FIRM IN AMERICA 51
31
SURCEASE OF SORROW
48
Chapter 4 A NEAR KNOCKOUT
71
Chapter 5 T0 LICENSE A LAUNDRY TO LICENSE A LIFE
98
PART
121
BOILING IN IL
143
NINE LAW FIRMS
166
Chapter 9 VVHIZZER
202
PROVING DETERRENCE AND BATIONALITY
281
Chapter 15 THE LION IN WINTER 518
318
THE SAUSAGE FACTORY 556
336
TAKING STOCK 554
354
THE MAIN EVENT 572
372
THE CENTER IN CONTROL
400
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN 452
432
A CK NO WL ED GMENTS 4 41
445

LIGHTNING BOLTS
218
Chapter 11 A REDLETTER DAY 254
234
PART THREE
245
SOBERING UP
247
Chapter 13 BEHIND THE BACKLASH
264
NOTES
447
SOURCES
495
INDEX
505
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Evan J. Mandery is a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. A former capital defense attorney, he is the author of five previous books. He lives in Manhasset, New York.

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