A work of civil rights and legal history, Presumed Guilty reveals how the Supreme Court has enabled racist policing and sanctioned law enforcement excesses through its decisions over the last half-century.
... stunning ... Although Chemerinsky builds his argument case by case, this is not a dusty accounting where first the court did this, then it did that. Aside from the fact that he writes well, Chemerinsky, the dean of the law school at the University of California, Berkeley, is also an experienced advocate, having appeared before the court on many occasions, and also having served as a consultant to those police forces who either by choice or necessity have tried to overhaul their practices. He bolsters his argument with examples from his own experiences, and his telling of the cases always starts with the people involved ... Whether the furor unleashed by Black Lives Matter will lead to state and city governments reforming their police departments is yet to be seen, but all lawmakers, in fact all concerned citizens, need to read this book. It is an eloquent and damning indictment not only of horrific police practices, but also of the justices who condoned them and continue to do so.
Chemerinsky provides an insightful primer for understanding the judicial decisions that support the United States’ prevailing authoritarian, paramilitary, racist approach to policing. He points out problems but also lays out steps to overcoming the Supreme Court’s consistent failure. A thoughtful, provocative, and instructive must-read for anyone concerned with justice and domestic tranquility.
... comprehensive but readable ... Though [Chemerinsky] is clear-eyed about the obstacles such efforts face, he offers a package of legislative reforms, and he suggests that litigating under state constitutions, thereby circumventing Supreme Court review, may turn out to be a more fruitful legal strategy. In either case, it appears the road to meaningful reform will be a long and difficult one.