Jed S. Rakoff is a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. (September 2016)


‘Terror’ and Everybody’s Rights

President Obama on his first visit to the Pentagon as commander in chief, January 2009. With him are, from left, Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz, Army Chief of Staff George Casey, Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman James Cartwright, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen.

A War Like No Other: The Constitution in a Time of Terror

by Owen Fiss, edited and with a foreword by Trevor Sutton
The so-called “war on terror” declared by President George W. Bush soon after September 11, 2001, has already lasted more than three times as long as American involvement in World War II, with no end in sight. By its shapeless and secretive nature, it tends to generate amorphous fears and shrouded responses that compromise our freedoms in ways we may only dimly recognize but that create troubling precedents for the future. And so far, the federal courts have done precious little to challenge these incursions.

Neuroscience and the Law: Don’t Rush In

‘Deer, Boy’; drawing by James Edward Deeds Jr. from an album of nearly three hundred drawings that he made during his thirty-seven years as an inmate at a psychiatric hospital in Nevada, Missouri, starting in 1936. The drawings are collected in The Electric Pencil: Drawings from Inside State Hospital No. 3, with an introduction by Richard Goodman and a foreword by Harris Diamant, just published by Princeton Architectural Press.
As you sit reading this, you probably experience an internal voice, unheard by any outsider, that verbally repeats the words you see on the page. That voice (which, in your case, speaks perfect English) is part of what we call your conscious mind. And the physical organ that causes what …

The Magna Carta Betrayed?

King John of England approving the Magna Carta in 1215; illustration by John Leech, 1875
The year 2015 marked the eight hundredth anniversary of one of the most celebrated, and least read, of the world’s legal texts: the Magna Carta. The great twentieth-century British jurist Lord Denning described the Magna Carta as “the greatest constitutional document of all times—the foundation of the freedom of the …

A Fear of Foreign Law

Stephen Breyer

The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities

by Stephen Breyer
Perhaps no other member of the US Supreme Court has such an affinity for matters foreign as Justice Stephen Breyer. Married to a British clinical psychologist, and himself a member of France’s exclusive Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques, Justice Breyer has thought long and hard about the relationship between …

The Cure for Corporate Wrongdoing: Class Actions vs. Individual Prosecutions

Lithograph by Honoré Daumier, 1847

Entrepreneurial Litigation: Its Rise, Fall, and Future

by John C. Coffee Jr.
Class actions are among the most controversial forms of litigation in the United States today. To their advocates, they provide an opportunity for interested private citizens to have a meaningful role in combating corporate misconduct, supplementing or even substituting for inadequate regulatory oversight. To their detractors, however, class actions are not much more than a racket.