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When Governments Break the Law

The Rule of Law and the Prosecution of the Bush Administration

Austin Sarat, Nasser Hussain, 0

Publication Year: 2010

“While we think of the crimes of the Bush-Cheney administration as lying somewhere in the past, the aggressive wars, warrantless spying, lawless imprisonment, and torture continue. This collection looks deeply into one likely way to end these crimes, namely enforcing the laws against them.  Included are serious and informed voices both for and against prosecution.”

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page

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pp. ix-x

We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Corliss Lamont Fund at Amherst College. We would like to thank Megan Estes and Samia Hesni for their help. We also want to thank our colleagues in Amherst’s Department of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought for helping to create such a congenial and stimulating intellectual environment. Last, we want to...

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pp. 1-36

Today, as in the past, Americans pride themselves on their commitment to the rule of law.1 This commitment is deeply rooted in America’s history, or so the story goes, and it has been renewed from one generation to the next. From Tocqueville’s observation that “the spirit of the laws which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually permeates . . . into the...

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1. Vindicating the Rule of Law

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pp. 37-68

On June 26, 2003, the United Nations celebrated “International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.” To mark the day, President Bush issued a statement in which he said: The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join...

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2. Guant

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pp. 69-86

Certain abusive treatments of prisoners at Guant

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3. Universal Jurisdiction as Praxis

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pp. 87-120

In June 2009, Wolfgang Kaleck, a German lawyer and one of the world’s leading proponents of universal jurisdiction (UJ), published an article titled “From Pinochet to Rumsfeld.”2 The focus is on Europe between 1998 (the year former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London on a Spanish warrant) and 2008. During this decade, significant strides in...

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4. The Spider’s Web

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pp. 121-152

A debate is raging, and not only within this volume, about the wisdom of prosecuting Bush Administration officials for serious violations of the law, domestic and international. Both opponents and advocates of prosecution make dire predictions about what will happen if their conflicting imperatives are not heeded. Conservatives allege that any prosecution of illegal...

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5. Democracy as the Rule of Law

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pp. 153-182

In American politics and political culture, eight years is not an eternity, but it can feel like one. In that time, a presidential administration and its politics can become entrenched as the regnant political culture and orient our political landscape around what comes to feel like a fixed point. It is long enough to make the transition to a new administration, especially one of a...

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6. Justice Jackson, the Memory of Internment, and the Rule of Law after the Bush Administration

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pp. 183-216

Notwithstanding the force of the rhetoric employed on all sides, the contemporary debate over whether senior Bush Administration officials should be investigated (and potentially prosecuted) for their role in the U.S. government’s torture of individuals detained as “enemy combatants” during the war on terrorism has been curiously indifferent to American...

About the Contributors

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pp. 217-218


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pp. 219-230

E-ISBN-13: 9780814741429
E-ISBN-10: 0814741428
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814741399
Print-ISBN-10: 0814741398

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 670450984
MUSE Marc Record: Download for When Governments Break the Law

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Politics and government -- 2001-2009.
  • War on Terrorism, 2001-2009.
  • Rule of law.
  • Administrative responsibility.
  • International crimes.
  • Terrorism -- Prevention -- Law and legislation -- United States.
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