... renovates and updates Glendon’s indictment of American 'rightsism' since the 1960s, with its own glances abroad for a better way ... [Greene's] writing makes the human stakes of otherwise abstract legal choices clear and dramatic (and with lots of good snark to lighten the mood) ... As he negotiates fairly the alternative interests at stake across a series of case studies, he demonstrates an extraordinary level of empathy toward those whom most liberals would treat as despicable political enemies. Greene shows how great a judge he himself would make, if Joe Biden is smart enough to appoint him.
... [Greene] goes beyond a bare rehearsal of pathologies: He prescribes a novel remedy. His refurbished assault on our dysfunctional rights culture is gripping, even thrilling. The proposed resolution, though, has too many gaps of logic to persuade ... He is a superb stylist. He has an eye for the withering zinger. Sometimes, he applies his irony with a shovel where a teaspoon would work. But when Greene more simply leverages his ample skill as a narrative storyteller, How Rights Went Wrong sings.
It is disappointing when a provocative new book by a prominent legal scholar with impeccable credentials fails to sustain its arguments ... Greene’s entire premise is belied by the history of the Bill of Rights ... Not only are his arguments historically inaccurate; they exhibit a baffling blindness to the prejudices and obviously partisan politics of legislatures. The Constitution is unquestionably flawed and limited. But its genius, reinforced by the Bill of Rights and the Civil War amendments, is the very opposite of what Greene proposes ... In addition to the serious problems surrounding Greene’s reliance on a flawed historical analysis, he never fully explains why he prefers conflicts over rights to be resolved by 'legislatures, juries, churches, and families' rather than by courts ... Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman in their book, and Sigal R. Ben-Porath in hers, each entitled Free Speech on Campus, do a much better job in examining these knotty issues and offering concrete solutions.