Skip to main content Accesibility Help
Law's Trials

Book description

The US 'war on terror' has repeatedly violated fundamental rule of law values. When executive and legislature commit such egregious wrongs, courts represent the ultimate defense. Law's Trials: The Performance of Legal Institutions in the US 'War on Terror' offers the first comprehensive account of judicial performance during the 16 years of the Bush and Obama administrations. Abel examines criminal prosecutions of alleged terrorists, courts martial of military personnel accused of law of war violations, military commission trials of 'high value detainees', habeas corpus petitions by Guantánamo detainees, civil damage actions by victims of both the 'war on terror' and terrorism, and civil liberties violations by government officials and Islamophobic campaigners. Law's Trials identifies successful defenses of the rule of law through qualitative and quantitative analyses, comparing the behavior of judges within and between each category of cases and locating those actions in a comparative history of efforts to redress fundamental injustices.


‘A richly detailed and important work that describes critical shifts in US counter-terrorism law and policy since 9/11. Examining such issues as military detention, torture, and religious discrimination, this book provides invaluable insights into the role of law and legal institutions in America.'

Jonathan Hafetz - Seton Hall Law School

‘Richard L. Abel's comprehensive work on the role of the courts in post 9/11 America illuminates the perilous course traversed by the rule of law in the war on terror. Bringing to life the challenges faced by the country's judges, as well as the rhetoric, reasoning and consequences of their decisions, Law's Trials is a must read for anyone who cares about the law and its role in America.'

Karen J. Greenberg - author of Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State

‘Law's Trials is a remarkable achievement, beginning with the near-encyclopedic coverage of all interactions between the judiciary and those accused of terrorism. But it is far more inasmuch as Abel also asks probing questions about the circumstances under which we should expect courts and judges to defend civil liberties against the combined weight of the state and public opinion willing to sacrifice those liberties as part of a ‘war in terror'.'

Sanford Levinson - author of Framed: America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance

Refine List
Actions for selected content:
Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to Dropbox
  • Send to Google Drive
  • Send content to

    To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to .

    To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

    Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

    Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

    Please be advised that item(s) you selected are not available.
    You are about to send

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed