Friday, December 27, 2013

Recent additions to the Jurisdynamics Network's bookshelf

The Jurisdynamics Network has received two radically different but equally intriguing new books, both from Oxford University Press.

Regulating obesityW.A. Bogart, Regulating Obesity? Government, Society, and Questions of Health (2014) is a worthy successor to the same author's 2010 monograph, Permit But Discourage: Regulating Excessive Consumption. Bogart, a professor of law at the University of Windsor, argues that laws aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles by encouraging weight loss have mostly failed. Instead of preventing obesity, these laws have merely fueled prejudice against fat people. Oxford's summary captures the essence of Professor Bogart's call for "shifting norms away from stigmatization of the obese and towards more nutritious and healthy lifestyle habits in addition to the acceptance of bodies in all shapes and sizes":

Part of this challenge lies in the complex effects of law and its relationship with norms, including the unintended consequences of regulation. Regulating Obesity? begins by arguing for the protection of the overweight and obese from discrimination through human rights laws. It then examines three other areas of interventions — marketing, fiscal policy, and physical activity — and how these interventions operate within the context of "health equity." Professor Bogart evaluates the effectiveness of legal regulation in addressing obesity and concludes that a healthier population is more important than a thinner population. Regulating Obesity? is the first book to engage in the comprehensive evaluation of this role for law and the implications of society's fascination with regulating consumption.

Oxford's second offering is Robert H. Wagstaff, Terror Detentions and the Rule of Law: US and UK Perspectives (2013). Again, from Oxford's summary:

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States and the United Kingdom detained suspected terrorists in a manner incompatible with the due process, fair trial, and equality requirements of the Rule of Law. The legality of the detentions was challenged and found wanting by the highest courts in the US and UK. The US courts approached these questions as matters within the law of war, whereas the UK courts examined them within a human rights criminal law context.

In Terror Detentions and the Rule of Law: US and UK Perspectives, Dr. Robert H. Wagstaff documents President George W. Bush's and Prime Minister Tony Blair's responses to 9/11, alleging that they failed to protect the human rights of individuals suspected of terrorist activity. The analytical focus is on the four US Supreme Court decisions involving detentions in Guantanamo Bay and four House of Lords decisions involving detentions that began in the Belmarsh Prison. These decisions are analyzed within the contexts of history, criminal law, constitutional law, human rights and international law, and various jurisprudential perspectives. In this book Dr. Wagstaff argues that time-tested criminal law is the normatively correct and most effective means for dealing with suspected terrorists. He also suggests that preventive, indefinite detention of terrorist suspects upon suspicion of wrongdoing contravenes the domestic and international Rule of Law, treaties and customary international law. As such, new legal paradigms for addressing terrorism are shown to be normatively invalid, illegal, unconstitutional, counter-productive, and in conflict with the Rule of Law.

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