Winner of the 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award
Marxism and Criminology: A History of Criminal Selectivity, Valeria Vegh Weis rehabilitates the contributions and the methodology of Marx and Engels to analyze crime and punishment through the historical development of capitalism (15th Century to the present) in Europe and in the United States. The author puts forward the concepts of over-criminalization and under-criminalization to show that the criminal justice system has always been selective. Criminal injustice, the book argues, has been an inherent element of the founding and reproduction of a capitalist society. At a time when racial profiling, prosecutorial discretion, and mass incarceration continue to defy easy answers, Vegh Weis invites us to revisit Marx and Engels’ contributions to identify socio-economic and historic patterns of crime and punishment in order to foster transformative changes to criminal justice. The book includes a Foreword by Professor Roger Matthews of Kent University, and an Afterword written by Professor Jonathan Simon of the University of California, Berkeley.
Formalism and Pragmatism in American Law Thomas Grey gives a full account of each of these modes of legal thought, with particular attention to the versions of them promulgated by their influential exponents Christopher Columbus Langdell and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Grey argues that legal pragmatism as understood by Holmes is the best jurisprudential framework for a modern legal system. He enriches his theoretical account with treatments of central issues in three important areas of law in the United States: constitutional interpretation, property, and torts.
The Reopening of the American Mind: On Skepticism and Constitutionalism explores the connection of moderate skepticism with attachment to constitutionalism through the thought of five writers. The features of this skepticism were concisely delineated by James Madison in the 37th
Federalist as a recognition of the complexity of political matters, the limitations of human reason, and the shortcomings of language. The position was first articulated by Cicero who connected it with the idea of a mixed or republican constitution developed by trial and error over generations. Cicero was influential in the world of David Hume, Edmund Burke, and Madison. The skeptical/constitutional connection found its most articulate recent advocate in Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter and underlay his advocacy of judicial restraint.
Current events have revived interest in the primacy of the legislative branch in balancing interests and rights, in the States as laboratories for democracy, and in an experimental approach to the solution of social problems in what might be called a reopening of the American mind.
The five central chapters explore the skeptical/constitutional connection and the spirit of moderation in these political thinkers. Without an appreciation of this tradition of avoiding dogmatism, people will continue to demand simple answers to complex problems. The book is not, however, primarily a tract for the times but a reflection on the on-going search for a more civil world.