July 24, 2011
BOOK OF THE WEEK: WEEK THIRTY, 2011
David K. Shipler, The Rights of the People: How Our Search For Safety Invades Our Liberties (New York: Knopf, 2011) ("When the Bill of Rights is violated, it's usually hard to mobilize public concern, because the most obvious victims are the least admirable--accused criminals whose cases become the means through which courts regulate police behavior by applying the Constitution. And the resulting constitutional interpretations apply to everyone. The system, then, binds together the miscreants and the righteous: The most virtuous among us depend on the most villainous to carry the torch of liberty, for when the courts allow a criminal defendant's rights to be violated, the same rights are diminished for the rest of us. . . ." "Most citizens who are searched without giving voluntary consent don't go to court for the simple reason that they are entirely innocent. No evidence is found, and so--assuming the police are honest--no charge are brought against them. Yet they have been violated fundamentally. Unless they sue the police for damages, which is extremely rare and more rarely successful, their experiences add up to an invisible record across the United State s of countless unconstitutional searches." Id. at 66. It is not that hard to live with someone else's rights being violated. See Jonathan Mahler, "Alienable Rights," NYT Book Review, Sunday, 6/12/2011.).