Professor Rosen's Book Reviews

GW Law Professor Jeffrey Rosen provides sharp analysis as both the Legal Editor for The New Republic, and as the reviewer of choice for The Washington Post and The New York Times. Professor Rosen has recently provided reviews for three new books involving important legal topics.


“Rights at Risk: The Limits of Liberty in Modern America” by David K. Shipler, reviewed in The Washington Post

The book is an examination of significant constitutional cases that have defined American civil liberties both before and after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

"There are, of course, many books about the stories behind Supreme Court cases. Shipler's distinctive contribution is the thoroughness and originality of his reporting: By interviewing the protagonists in landmark cases, he uncovers some surprising and relevant facts."



Privacy,” by Garret Keizer, reviewed in The New York Times

Keizer’s premise is that the internet and the frequent use of social media have left us with the need to re-examine what privacy means.

“Although Keizer’s definition of privacy is somewhat confusing, it seems to fit within the European tradition of conceiving privacy as a way of protecting human dignity (as opposed to the American one, which is more interested in privacy as a way of protecting liberty). History supports his broader thesis, but Keizer doesn’t explore the many reasons the European tradition of protecting privacy as a form of dignity has never taken root in America.”



“The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court” by Jeffrey Toobin, reviewed in The Washington Post

Jeffrey Toobin has written an account of the conflicts between the John Roberts Supreme Court and the Obama Administration, culminating in the Court’s decision in favor of the Affordable Care Act.

“It’s also too stark to say, as Toobin does, that in the 1960s, ‘it had been Democrats who were the activists, striking down laws that were not to their liking. Now it was the Republicans.’ In fact, Democrats in recent years have urged the court to strike down plenty of laws, from federal statutes defending traditional marriage and banning partial-birth abortion to state laws on displaying the Ten Commandments. Although Republicans care more intensely about the courts at the moment, Democrats are hardly consistent apostles of judicial restraint.”