Law but One in 2000 Book Review

Pages: 3 (974 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: American History

¶ … Law but One

In 2000, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist published a book entitled All the Laws But One: Civil Liberties in Wartime. Written in a historical narrative style, All the Laws But One uses Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War as a springboard for discussing the broader impetus by the federal government to balance national security with civilian rights and liberties. The balance is a tough one to make, and Rehnquist does what any good judge would and weighs all the different sides of the argument in the book.

All the Laws but One is divided into eighteen chapters. The first thirteen are about the nineteenth century concepts of justice and civil liberties. The remaining chapters focus on the repercussions in the twentieth century, and also how concepts of justice evolved over the course of roughly a century. As the author comes from a law background, the book is littered with references to relevant cases.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Book Review on Law but One in 2000, Assignment

As Brennan puts it, the "bookends" of the first thirteen chapters are one about Lincoln's inauguration and the other about his assassination. Focusing as much as he does on Lincoln allows Rehnquist to explore in depth the issues that Lincoln contended with as commander-in-chief of a divided nation. Lincoln's life was in danger as soon as he took office, Rehnquist notes. The Civil War also broke out almost immediately after Lincoln became President, leading him immediately into a wartime scenario. The fact that the nation was at war transformed the nature of politics and the definition of justice, rights, and liberties. A central topic is of course Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus. Lincoln deliberated much on the issue; it was of great importance to him to preserve the inherent values of the Constitution of the nation he was fighting to preserve. After consulting with his Attorney General and other legal experts, and being a legal expert himself, Lincoln determined that invoking the Suspension Clause was necessary to preserve national security. However, there were some constitutional law debates regarding the fact that the Suspension Clause is placed in Article I of the Constitution. Article I of the Constitution addresses congressional powers. Thus, it could be implied that Congress must suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus and not the president. Lincoln believed that the Constitution did not clearly designate the power to suspend the Writ to any particular branch of government, and invoking the emergency of the wartime effort, went forward with his plan to suspend habeas corpus when it was deemed necessary by the executive branch. Rehnquist also discusses the Dred Scott v. Sandford and other landmark cases related to justice in America.

Although the bulk of the book is about Lincoln's tribulations the implications for the judiciary, Rehnquist provides a twentieth century context and application. For example, World War One's Espoinage Act, which tacitly prevented freedom of speech and press. Rehnquist surprisingly sides with the Courts… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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