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International Socialism, Summer 1967


Bert Bensen

Unhallowed Body


From International Socialism (1st series), No.29, Summer 1967, pp.37-38.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Freedom, Courts, Politics: Studies in Civil Liberties
Lucius and Twiley Barker
Prentice-Hall, 56s

A selection of cases tried in the courts of the United States up through the Supreme Court, each developed extensively under six headings that include religion in the school system, the rights of soap-box speakers to freedom of speech and assembly, internal security and the Communist Party and the Negro civil rights movement.

Sample verbatims of the questioning by Supreme Court justices are given. The effect is to ‘unhallow’ the workings of that body. One sees clearly that the nine old men are as human as anyone else and if they are a little more so it is only by virtue of their office. The points they take up to query, what they comment or quibble about are just what is to be expected of more or less intelligent men with a great deal of experience in public life.

Style and layout are excellent but because the authors did not provide enough explanatory paragraphs for the lay reader this is really a specialist’s book. There is practically no analysis or comment, perhaps because the authors have no deep criticisms to make. Their exposition is factual and conventionally liberal. Nevertheless the book is worth dipping into even if much of the value of the material must escape the attention and understanding of the reader not versed in law and constitutional justice.

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Last updated on 5 May 2010