In this book, Norman Cantor analyzes the legal and moral status of people with profound mental disabilities—those with extreme cognitive impairments that prevent their exercise of medical self-determination. He proposes a legal and moral framework for surrogate medical decision making on their behalf. The issues Cantor explores will be of interest to professionals in law, medicine, psychology, philosophy, and ethics, as well as to parents, guardians, and health care providers who face perplexing issues in the context of surrogate medical decision making.
The profoundly mentally disabled are thought by some moral philosophers to lack the minimum cognitive ability for personhood. Countering this position, Cantor advances both theoretical and practical arguments for according them full legal and moral status. He also argues that the concept of intrinsic human dignity should have an integral role in shaping the bounds of surrogate decision making. Thus, he claims, while profoundly mentally disabled persons are not entitled to make their own medical decisions, respect for intrinsic human dignity dictates their right to have a conscientious surrogate make medical decisions on their behalf. Cantor discusses the criteria that bind such surrogates. He asserts, contrary to popular wisdom, that the best interests of the disabled person are not always the determinative standard: the interests of family or others can sometimes be considered. Surrogates may even, consistent with the intrinsic human dignity standard, sometimes authorize tissue donation or participation in nontherapeutic medical research by profoundly disabled persons. Intrinsic human dignity limits the occasions for such decisions and dictates close attention to the preferences and feelings of the profoundly disabled persons themselves. Cantor also analyzes the underlying philosophical rationale that makes these decision-making criteria consistent with law and morals.
Attorney and journalist Amy Bach spent eight years investigating the widespread courtroom failures that each day upend lives across America. What she found was an assembly-line approach to justice: a system that rewards mediocre advocacy, bypasses due process, and shortchanges both defendants and victims to keep the court calendar moving.
Here is the public defender who pleads most of his clients guilty with scant knowledge about their circumstances; the judge who sets outrageous bail for negligible crimes; the prosecutor who habitually declines to pursue significant cases; the court that works together to achieve a wrongful conviction. Going beyond the usual explanations of bad apples and meager funding, Ordinary Injustice reveals a clubby legal culture of compromise, and shows the tragic consequences that result when communities mistake the rules that lawyers play by for the rule of law. It is time, Bach argues, to institute a new method of checks and balances that will make injustice visible—the first and necessary step to reform.
Much cited and relevant today in how it frames the analysis of courts, this book's new republication features an additional Introduction and Afterword by the editors, with updates, and a new Foreword by Christina L. Boyd. As Boyd writes, “For nearly all civil and criminal cases the traditional model of court as a judge-dominated, formal adversary process of adjudication does not hold. What exists instead ... is so variable, complex, and dynamic that a proper study of courts must return to first principles. And that is precisely what an all-star list of interdisciplinary court scholars, many of whom have established storied careers as trial court experts, does so well within the chapters of this book.” She adds: “I find the text to be very contemporary. Empirical Theories About Courts’ design to focus on theory building rather than simply examining discrete datasets or engaging in data mining of a single set of observations is a key factor in the book’s longevity.”
Quality ebook features includes linked Contents and notes, fully linked and paginated Index, proper formatting, and all of the tables and figures of the original properly presented. Part of the Classics of Law & Society Series from Quid Pro Books.