Imbeciles

Author: Adam Cohen
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101980834
Size: 27.49 MB
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Longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction One of America’s great miscarriages of justice, the Supreme Court’s infamous 1927 Buck v. Bell ruling made government sterilization of “undesirable” citizens the law of the land In 1927, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling so disturbing, ignorant, and cruel that it stands as one of the great injustices in American history. In Imbeciles, bestselling author Adam Cohen exposes the court’s decision to allow the sterilization of a young woman it wrongly thought to be “feebleminded” and to champion the mass eugenic sterilization of undesirable citizens for the greater good of the country. The 8–1 ruling was signed by some of the most revered figures in American law—including Chief Justice William Howard Taft, a former U.S. president; and Louis Brandeis, a progressive icon. Oliver Wendell Holmes, considered by many the greatest Supreme Court justice in history, wrote the majority opinion, including the court’s famous declaration “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Imbeciles is the shocking story of Buck v. Bell, a legal case that challenges our faith in American justice. A gripping courtroom drama, it pits a helpless young woman against powerful scientists, lawyers, and judges who believed that eugenic measures were necessary to save the nation from being “swamped with incompetence.” At the center was Carrie Buck, who was born into a poor family in Charlottesville, Virginia, and taken in by a foster family, until she became pregnant out of wedlock. She was then declared “feebleminded” and shipped off to the Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded. Buck v. Bell unfolded against the backdrop of a nation in the thrall of eugenics, which many Americans thought would uplift the human race. Congress embraced this fervor, enacting the first laws designed to prevent immigration by Italians, Jews, and other groups charged with being genetically inferior. Cohen shows how Buck arrived at the colony at just the wrong time, when influential scientists and politicians were looking for a “test case” to determine whether Virginia’s new eugenic sterilization law could withstand a legal challenge. A cabal of powerful men lined up against her, and no one stood up for her—not even her lawyer, who, it is now clear, was in collusion with the men who wanted her sterilized. In the end, Buck’s case was heard by the Supreme Court, the institution established by the founders to ensure that justice would prevail. The court could have seen through the false claim that Buck was a threat to the gene pool, or it could have found that forced sterilization was a violation of her rights. Instead, Holmes, a scion of several prominent Boston Brahmin families, who was raised to believe in the superiority of his own bloodlines, wrote a vicious, haunting decision upholding Buck’s sterilization and imploring the nation to sterilize many more. Holmes got his wish, and before the madness ended some sixty to seventy thousand Americans were sterilized. Cohen overturns cherished myths and demolishes lauded figures in relentless pursuit of the truth. With the intellectual force of a legal brief and the passion of a front-page exposé, Imbeciles is an ardent indictment of our champions of justice and our optimistic faith in progress, as well as a triumph of American legal and social history. From the Hardcover edition.

Three Generations No Imbeciles

Author: Paul A. Lombardo
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 0801890101
Size: 69.11 MB
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Looks at the case Buck v. Bell, covering the events of the trial and the 1927 Supreme Court case which upheld Virginia's compulsory sterilization of "feebleminded" individuals.

Eugenics

Author: Philippa Levine
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199385904
Size: 61.74 MB
Format: PDF
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In 1883, Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, coined the word "eugenics" to express his dream of perfecting the human race by applying the laws of genetic heredity. Adapting Darwin's theory of evolution to human society, eugenics soon became a powerful, international movement, committed to using the principles of heredity and statistics to encourage healthy and discourage unhealthy reproduction. Early in the twentieth century and across the world, doctors, social reformers, and politicians turned to the new science of eugenics as a means to improve and strengthen their populations. Eugenics advocates claimed their methods would result in healthier, fitter babies and would dramatically limit human suffering. The reality was a different story. In the name of scientific progress and of human improvement, eugenicists targeted the weak and the sick, triggering coercive legislation on issues as disparate as race, gender, immigration, euthanasia, abortion, sterilization, intelligence, mental illness, and disease control. Nationalists eagerly embraced eugenics as a means to legitimize their countries' superiority and racialized assumptions, and the Nazis notoriously used eugenics to shape their "final solution." In this lucid volume, Philippa Levine tackles the intricate and controversial history of eugenics, masterfully synthesizing the enormous range of policies and experiments carried out in the name of eugenics around the world throughout the twentieth century. She questions the widespread belief that eugenics disappeared after World War II and evaluates the impact of eugenics on current reproductive and genetic sciences. Charting the development of such controversial practices as artificial insemination, sperm donation, and population control, this book offers a powerful, extraordinarily timely reflection on the frequent interplay between genetics and ethics. Eugenics may no longer be a household word, but we feel its effects even today.

Crime Without Punishment

Author: Lawrence M. Friedman
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1108619762
Size: 56.53 MB
Format: PDF
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In this compelling book, Lawrence M. Friedman looks at situations where killing is condemned by law but not by social norms and, therefore, is rarely punished. He shows how penal codes categorize homicides by degree of intent, which are in turn based on society's sense of moral outrage. Despite being officially defined as murder, many homicides have historically gone unpunished. Friedman looks at early vigilante justice, crimes of passion, murder of necessity, mercy killings, and assisted suicides. In his explorations of these unpunished homicides, Friedman probes what these circumstances tell us about conflicts in social and cultural norms and the interaction of law and society.

American Pharaoh

Author: Adam Cohen
Publisher: Hachette UK
ISBN: 0759524270
Size: 32.31 MB
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This is a biography of mayor Richard J. Daley. It is the story of his rise from the working-class Irish neighbourhood of his childhood to his role as one of the most important figures in 20th century American politics.

Supreme Inequality

Author: Adam Cohen
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0735221510
Size: 44.69 MB
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From New York Times bestselling author Adam Cohen, a revelatory examination of the conservative direction of the Supreme Court over the last fifty years since the Nixon administration In the early 1960s, the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren was at the height of its power, expanding civil rights for the poor and minorities and promoting equality in dramatic ways through rulings such as Brown v Board of Education and establishing the "Miranda warning" for persons in police custody. But when Warren announced his retirement in 1968, newly elected President Richard Nixon, who had been working tirelessly behind the scenes to put a stop to what he perceived as the Court's liberal agenda, had his new administration launch a total assault on the Warren Court's egalitarian victories, moving to dismantle its legacy and replace liberal justices with others more loyal to his views. During his six years in office, he appointed four justices to the Supreme Court, thereby setting its course for the next fifty years. In Supreme Inequality, Adam Cohen surveys the most significant Supreme Court rulings since Nixon and exposes how rarely the Court has veered away from a pro-corporate agenda. Contrary to what Americans might like to believe, the Court does not protect equally the rights of the poor and disadvantaged, and, in fact, hasn't for decades. Many of the greatest successes of the Warren Court, such as school desegregation, labor unions, voting rights, and class action suits, have been abandoned in favor of rulings that protect privileged Americans who tend to be white, wealthy, and powerful. As the nation comes to grips with two newly Trump-appointed justices, Cohen proves beyond doubt that the trajectory of today's Court is the result of decisions made fifty years ago, decisions that have contributed directly and grievously to our nation's soaring inequality. An triumph of American legal, political, and social history, Supreme Inequality holds to account the highest court in the land, and should shake to its core any optimistic faith we might have in it to provide checks and balances.

The Supreme Court Reborn

Author: William E. Leuchtenburg
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199839387
Size: 27.94 MB
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For almost sixty years, the results of the New Deal have been an accepted part of political life. Social Security, to take one example, is now seen as every American's birthright. But to validate this revolutionary legislation, Franklin Roosevelt had to fight a ferocious battle against the opposition of the Supreme Court--which was entrenched in laissez faire orthodoxy. After many lost battles, Roosevelt won his war with the Court, launching a Constitutional revolution that went far beyond anything he envisioned. In The Supreme Court Reborn, esteemed scholar William E. Leuchtenburg explores the critical episodes of the legal revolution that created the Court we know today. Leuchtenburg deftly portrays the events leading up to Roosevelt's showdown with the Supreme Court. Committed to laissez faire doctrine, the conservative "Four Horsemen"--Justices Butler, Van Devanter, Sutherland, and McReynolds, aided by the swing vote of Justice Owen Roberts--struck down one regulatory law after another, outraging Roosevelt and much of the Depression-stricken nation. Leuchtenburg demonstrates that Roosevelt thought he had the backing of the country as he prepared a scheme to undermine the Four Hoursemen. Famous (or infamous) as the "Court-packing plan," this proposal would have allowed the president to add one new justice for every sitting justice over the age of seventy. The plan picked up considerable momentum in Congress; it was only after a change in the voting of Justice Roberts (called "the switch in time that saved nine") and the death of Senate Majority Leader Joseph T. Robinson that it shuddered to a halt. Rosevelt's persistence led to one of his biggest legislative defeats. Despite the failure of the Court-packing plan, however, the president won his battle with the Supreme Court; one by one, the Four Horsemen left the bench, to be replaced by Roosevelt appointees. Leuchtenburg explores the far-reaching nature of FDR's victory. As a consequence of the Constitutional Revolution that began in 1937, not only was the New Deal upheld (as precedent after precedent was overturned), but also the Court began a dramatic expansion of Civil liberties that would culminate in the Warren Court. Among the surprises was Senator Hugo Black, who faced widespread opposition for his lack of qualifications when he was appointed as associate justice; shortly afterward, a reporter revealed that he had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Despite that background, Black became an articulate spokesman for individual liberty. William E. Leuchtenburg is one of America's premier historians, a scholar who combines depth of learning with a graceful style. This superbly crafted book sheds new light on the great Constitutional crisis of our century, illuminating the legal and political battles that created today's Supreme Court.

Hideous Progeny

Author: Angela Smith
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231527853
Size: 12.97 MB
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Twisted bodies, deformed faces, aberrant behavior, and abnormal desires characterized the hideous creatures of classic Hollywood horror, which thrilled audiences with their sheer grotesqueness. Most critics have interpreted these traits as symptoms of sexual repression or as metaphors for other kinds of marginalized identities, yet Angela M. Smith conducts a richer investigation into the period's social and cultural preoccupations. She finds instead a fascination with eugenics and physical and cognitive debility in the narrative and spectacle of classic 1930s horror, heightened by the viewer's desire for visions of vulnerability and transformation. Reading such films as Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), Freaks (1932), and Mad Love (1935) against early-twentieth-century disability discourse and propaganda on racial and biological purity, Smith showcases classic horror's dependence on the narratives of eugenics and physiognomics. She also notes the genre's conflicted and often contradictory visualizations. Smith ultimately locates an indictment of biological determinism in filmmakers' visceral treatments, which take the impossibility of racial improvement and bodily perfection to sensationalistic heights. Playing up the artifice and conventions of disabled monsters, filmmakers exploited the fears and yearnings of their audience, accentuating both the perversity of the medical and scientific gaze and the debilitating experience of watching horror. Classic horror films therefore encourage empathy with the disabled monster, offering captive viewers an unsettling encounter with their own impairment. Smith's work profoundly advances cinema and disability studies, in addition to general histories concerning the construction of social and political attitudes toward the Other.

Dispelling The Myths Of Abortion History

Author: Joseph W. Dellapenna
Publisher:
ISBN:
Size: 49.82 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
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In Roe v. Wade, Justice Harry Blackmun structured the argument of the majority around the history of abortion laws. That history built on the work of law professor Cyril Means, Jr., and historian James Mohr. Means and Mohr proclaim four theses as summarizing the “true” history of abortion in England and America: (1) Abortion was not a crime “at common law” (before the enactment of abortion statutes in the nineteenth century. (2) Abortion was common and relatively safe during this time.(3) Abortion statutes were enacted in the nineteenth century in order to protect the life of the mother rather than the life of the embryo or fetus.(4) The moving force behind the nineteenth-century statutes was the attempt of the male medical profession to suppress competition from competing practitioners of alternative forms of medicine.This book dispels these myths and sets forth the true history of abortion and abortion law in English and American society. Anglo- American law always treated abortion as a serious crime, generally including early in pregnancy. Prosecutions and even executions go back 800 years in England, establishing law that carried over to colonial America. The reasons offered for these prosecutions and penalties consistently focused on protecting the life of the unborn child. This unbroken tradition refutes the claims that unborn children have not been treated as persons in our law or as persons under the Constitution of the United States.

Supreme Court For Dummies

Author: Lisa Paddock
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 9781118068656
Size: 48.91 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Gives you the scoop on how the Court reaches its decisions Get involved and track a case through the system This fun and easy guide demystifies the federal court system by describing what kinds of cases the justices hear, outlining how cases reach the Supreme Court, clarifying legal terms, and explaining how the Court arrives at its decisions. You'll discover how to get inside the Court yourself and investigate both the key issues and the players involved. The Dummies Way * Explanations in plain English * "Get in, get out" information * Icons and other navigational aids * Tear-out cheat sheet * Top ten lists * A dash of humor and fun