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Descripción de editorial
A withering and witty examination of how the American legal system, burdened by complexity and untrammeled growth, fails Americans and threatens the rule of law itself, by the acclaimed author of A Generation of Sociopaths.
Our trial courts conduct hardly any trials, our correctional systems do not correct, and the rise of mandated arbitration has ushered in a shadowy system of privatized "justice." Meanwhile, our legislators can't even follow their own rules for making rules, while the rule of law mutates into a perpetual state of emergency. The legal system is becoming an incomprehensible farce. How did this happen?
In The Nonsense Factory, Bruce Cannon Gibney shows that over the past seventy years, the legal system has dangerously confused quantity with quality and might with legitimacy. As the law bloats into chaos, it staggers on only by excusing itself from the very commands it insists that we obey, leaving Americans at the mercy of arbitrary power. By examining the system as a whole, Gibney shows that the tragedies often portrayed as isolated mistakes or the work of bad actors -- police misconduct, prosecutorial overreach, and the outrages of imperial presidencies -- are really the inevitable consequences of law's descent into lawlessness.
The first book to deliver a lucid, comprehensive overview of the entire legal system, from the grandeur of Constitutional theory to the squalid workings of Congress, The Nonsense Factory provides a deeply researched and witty examination of America's state of legal absurdity, concluding with sensible options for reform.
Lawyer and venture capitalist Gibney (A Generation of Sociopaths) takes the measure of the American legal system and finds it wanting. He systematically eviscerates virtually every aspect of it, including Congress, which he contends operates with "the efficiency of a Bourbon court"; law schools that fail to prepare their students to become lawyers; the cost of legal representation that makes it far outside the reach of many Americans; a criminal justice system that has criminalized poverty and fueled massive incarceration; mandatory arbitration clauses that allow corporations to take advantage of consumers and hamstring class action lawsuits; and the legal system's failure to adequately ensure the accountability of America's police forces. The most threatening development of all, he argues, is the growth of a "unitary executive" branch, the consequence of Congress ceding too much of its responsibility, including declaring war and crafting budgets. Gibney concludes with the admonition that the "law is bad, but not that bad, yet" and offers a few potential curative courses: one is for Congress to reclaim its fundamental powers, and a second is for voters to exercise their franchise and vote for politicians who understand their responsibility to govern. Gibney is sometimes glib but often funny, and his criticisms are serious, well-argued, and provocative. \n