All The Laws But One By : Chief Justice William Rehnquist (former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court)
Publisher : Vintage Press Reviewed by: Dr. Joseph S. Maresca
The book begins with President Lincoln's Inaugural Journey and the extensive divisions in the country. On April 27, 1861, Lincoln signed an order to General Scott authorizing the suspension of habeas corpus. Justice Marshall expanded the federal powers over the States from 1801- 1835. The Tuney Court gave States greater authority without repealing the Marshall Court. Justice Tuney said that only Congress can suspend the habeas corpus.
Congress wrestled with realigning the federal judicial circuits. At one point, Lincoln had 3 Supreme Court appointments unfilled. He struggled over how to represent the South fairly in a time of war and its aftermath. The issue was important because the justices on the Supreme Court are tenured for life.
In the famous Milligan decision, the Court decided that Milligan had been denied the right of trial by jury. It rejected the argument that in a time of war the commander of an armed force had the authority to suspend civil rights and remedies because it " destroys every guarantee of the Constitution, and effectively renders the 'military' independent of and superior to the civil power." ' This reviewer agrees.
The government authority to engage in conduct that infringes civil liberty is greatest in a declared war - one which the Congress authorizes. ' But it is both desirable and likely that more careful attention will be paid by the courts to the basis for the government's claims of necessity as a basis for curtailing liberty. The laws will thus not be silent in time of war, but they will speak with a somewhat different voice.'
The late Chief Justice Rehnquist explains the various dilemmas faced by the justices during the extensive deliberations of the Supreme Court. The book clarifies the role of the United States Supreme Court. There are less strains in peacetime and more hard choices during war. The presentation makes clear that the Supreme Court gives a declared war the highest deference.
Each of the 18 chapters has 5 or more references. The book is well researched. The opinions are balanced. Facts unknown to the general public are revealed honestly. The book has great relevance in times of war and peace. It has more relevance during wartime when Presidential powers are at an all time peak and the Court speaks with a somewhat different voice.
During my lifetime, there have been many wars engaged by the USA. These conflicts lasted for varying periods of time. The Court struggled with decisions during the Korean , Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, the Iraq and Afghanistan dual wars. The time period of the Cold War was extensive as is the current War On Terror. Due to the frequency of wars, Americans must have guaranteed rights ; otherwise, the government encroachments on freedom may become impossible to resist or reverse.
Thus, the Court is aware of strains between the military and civilians during a time of war. At the end of the book, Chief Justice Rehnquist explains that laws will speak with a somewhat different voice.
The presentation holds the attention of readers. The cost is reasonable. Americans should read the volume to become apprised of their rights in times of war or peace. The presentation is balanced.
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