2009 Survey of Books Related to the Law:
The Michigan Law Review's annual book review issue is now available online. You can read my own contribution here; it is a review of Christopher Slobogin's book, Privacy at Risk: The New Government Surveillance and the Fourth Amendment.
Curt Fischer:
1. My first response to reading your review is, "wow, Slobogin has some pretty wacky proposals." But I'm not a lawyer, and I don't read very much legal literature.

2. My second response was that this review format seems very strange to me. Is it a review aiming to inform MLR readers whether they are likely to find Slobogin's book informative or useful? Or, is it a review and reflection on the scholarly merit of the ideas therein? To me, it seemed to long to be the former, but at the same time seemed to engage in depth no proposals, arguments, theories, or whatever on 4th amendment law except those that were in Slogobin's book, so it was tough to get an overall sense of where this book falls in general field of 4th amendment jurisprudence.

But like I said, I've never read the Michigan Law Review before, much less their book review issue. And I'm not a lawyer so I'm probably not in the target audience anyway. But I'm wondering what MLR editors are hoping to achieve with this format.

3. The third thing that struck me was the bit about the exclusionary rule mainly helping out guilty people. I'm sure that's a long standing legal debate, but it was news to me. Very interesting. Do you think the police are more likely to violate the 4th amendment rights of those whom they do not suspect of a crime, if they think it will lead to information that is useful in the investigation of a person believed to be guilty?
4.12.2009 10:07pm

My sense is that a law review book review generally has two functions: First, to explain the argument of the book; and second, to engage with the argument in the book and either agree or disagree with it. For the most part, law review book reviews are targeted at readers who already have some familiarity with the field: The idea is to respond to the book, not to either give the reader an overview of the area or to respond to other aspects of the field.

As to the exclusionary rule debate, it is almost a century old. If you google around, you can find a lot on it.
4.12.2009 10:12pm

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