Dubber argues against simple categorization of the sense of justice. Drawing on recent work in moral philosophy, political theory, and linguistics, Dubber defines the sense of justice in terms of empathy—the emotional capacity that makes law possible by giving us vicarious access to the experiences of others. From there, he explores the way it is invoked, considered, and used in the American criminal justice system. He argues that this sense is more than an irrational emotional impulse but a valuable legal tool that should be properly used and understood.
Victims in the War on Crime is the first book to provide a critical analysis of the role of victims in the criminal justice system as a whole. It also breaks new ground in focusing not only on the victims of crime, but also on those of the war on victimless crime. After first offering an original critique of the American penal system in the age of the crime war, Dubber undertakes an incisive comparative reading of American criminal law and the law of crime victim compensation, culminating in a wide-ranging revision that takes victims seriously, and offenders as well.
Dubber here salvages the project of vindicating victims' rights for its own sake, rather than as a weapon in the war against criminals. Uncovering the legitimate core of the victims' rights movement from underneath existing layers of bellicose rhetoric, he demonstrates how victims' rights can help us build a system of American criminal justice after the frenzy of the war on crime has died down.
Dubber explores the roots of the power to police—the most expansive and least limitable of governmental powers—by focusing on its most obvious and problematic manifestation: criminal law. He argues that the defining characteristics of this power, including the inability to accurately define it, reflect its origins in the discretionary and virtually limitless patriarchal power of the householder over his household. The paradox of patriarchal police power as the most troubling yet least scrutinized of governmental powers can begin to be resolved by subjecting this branch of government to the critical analysis it merits. Dubber shows us that the question must become how can the police power and criminal law together serve the goals of social equity that define and give direction to contemporary democratic societies? This book goes to the heart of this neglected but crucial topic.
In this brilliant short book, Britain's former senior law lord, and one of the world's most acute legal minds, examines what the idea actually means. He makes clear that the rule of law is not an arid legal doctrine but is the foundation of a fair and just society, is a guarantee of responsible government, is an important contribution to economic growth and offers the best means yet devised for securing peace and co-operation. He briefly examines the historical origins of the rule, and then advances eight conditions which capture its essence as understood in western democracies today. He also discusses the strains imposed on the rule of law by the threat and experience of international terrorism.
The book will be influential in many different fields and should become a key text for anyone interested in politics, society and the state of our world.