Engines of Liberty: How Citizen Movements Succeed (Paperback)

Engines of Liberty: How Citizen Movements Succeed Cover Image
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From the national legal director of the ACLU, an essential guidebook for anyone seeking to stand up for fundamental civil liberties and rights

One of Washington Post's Notable Nonfiction Books of 2016

In an age of executive overreach, what role do American citizens have in safeguarding our Constitution and defending liberty? Must we rely on the federal courts, and the Supreme Court above all, to protect our rights? In Engines of Liberty, the esteemed legal scholar David Cole argues that we all have a part to play in the grand civic dramas of our era -- and in a revised introduction and conclusion, he proposes specific tactics for fighting Donald Trump's policies.

Examining the most successful rights movements of the last thirty years, Cole reveals how groups of ordinary Americans confronting long odds have managed, time and time again, to convince the courts to grant new rights and protect existing ones. Engines of Liberty is a fundamentally new explanation of how our Constitution works and the part citizens play in it.

About the Author

David Cole is the national legal director of the ACLU, and the Hon. George J. Mitchell Professor in Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law Center. An award-winning author, a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, and the legal affairs correspondent for the Nation, he lives in Washington, DC.

Praise For…

One of Washington Post's Notable Nonfiction Books of 2016

"[Cole's] narratives weave a compelling portrait of advocacy-driven constitutional change... the collection certainly stands apart from dense and dry legal texts in being readable, accessible and at times even gripping... a deeply hopeful book about an institution in which our hope may be dwindling."—Washington Post

"Transforms one's understanding of the contributions of other forums-state legislatures, for example, and public opinion (at home and abroad) -- in campaigns that eventually culminate in Supreme Court decisions."—New York Review of Books

"A fresh and revelatory account of constitutional reform from the bottom up. The book carries a hopeful message: Despite the undue influence wielded by elite institutions, ordinary citizens can and do drive constitutional change...Cole's examples of constitutional reform, on both the left and the right, bear out his claims."

"A convincingly argued book."—Dorf on Law

book is compelling, especially in today's climate of gridlock following the
death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia."—Kirkus

"In Engines
of Liberty
, David Cole turns
constitutional law on its head. With his characteristic intelligence and
clarity, Cole demonstrates that the law changes from the bottom up, not the top
down, and that it is citizens, not judges, who are the ultimate custodians of
our nation's laws."

Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Oath and The Nine

of Liberty
is a masterful account of how civil society organizations work,
and a passionate argument for why they are so important to our democracy. David
Cole offers invaluable knowledge and insight about the potential each of us has
to shape our nation's laws and public life. My hope is that Engines of
inspires a new generation of activists to rise up and launch their
own campaigns for civil liberties."—Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union

expertly demonstrating how ordinary people can make a huge difference on
defining issues in our nation, David Cole has written an important, inspiring,
and essential book!"—Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders

skilled human rights practitioner unveils a characteristically thoughtful,
balanced anatomy of successful constitutional advocacy, which focuses less on
winning court battles than on shaping the popular sentiments that critically
drive or obstruct political change."—Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law, Yale Law School

one is better than David Cole at explaining how Americans can fight for civil
liberties and civil rights. He is passionate yet careful, accessible yet
nuanced, Engines of Liberty wonderfully highlights his
intellectual virtues."—Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor at Harvard Law School and author of For Discrimination

"Anyone who doubts
the ability of Americans to change both policy and law should read David Cole's
book. His analysis of how we go about protecting the rights of gun owners is
the most accurate I have ever read. This is a must read."

David Keene, former president of the NRA

"David Cole is
one of our most astute and perceptive constitutional commentators. His work is

Robert Post, Dean, Yale Law School

Product Details
ISBN: 9781541616578
ISBN-10: 154161657X
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2017
Pages: 336
Language: English

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