In 2015, NYU Law faculty members wrote and edited books on topics such as the Asian luxury goods market, nascent democracies, criminal records, same-sex marriage, and DNA. 

Grab a book to better understand compelling issues like these in our complex world.

Alberto Alemanno and Anne-Lise Sibony, eds. Nudge and the Law: A European Perspective (Hart Publishing, September 2015)

“In Europe as elsewhere, an important question is drawing increasing attention: What are the ethical limits on nudges?” writes Cass Sunstein, President Obama's former administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, in the foreword. The nudge approach is the attempt to preserve freedom of choice by nudging rather than mandating people to do anything from saving for retirement to using less gas and avoiding excessive credit card debt. “[Alemanno and Sibony] argue, plausibly in my view, that many behavioral interventions are neutral with respect to autonomy because they affect behavior in instances where, in all likelihood, no deliberation would have taken place.”

Anthony Appiah. A Decent Respect: Honor in the Life of People and of Nations (University of Hong Kong Press, 2015)

Appiah “advances a compelling account of how the use of the notions of honor, respect, and shame can inspire much-needed conversations locally, regionally, and globally, about our expectations of each other as individuals living in community…but also, how these can be fruitfully applied to shape progressive discourse across nations in contested areas of cultural, civic, and national life,” writes Puja Kapai of the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law in the foreword.

Philip Alston and Sara Knuckey, eds. The Transformation of Human Rights Fact-Finding (Oxford University Press, November 2015)

Fact-finding is essential to human rights advocacy, yet its methods and impact remain understudied even as its use has grown. This multidisciplinary study is the outcome of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice’s 2013 conference on human rights fact-finding.

Barton Beebe, Haochen Sun, and Madhavi Sunder, eds. The Luxury Economy and Intellectual Property: Critical Reflections (Oxford University Press, September 2015)

In 2011, global sales for luxury goods reached about $250 billion, with consumers in East and Southeast Asia accounting for more than 50 percent of those sales. In this volume, scholars from a range of disciplines explore the rise of the luxury goods economy and the growing role that intellectual property plays in it.

Eleanor Fox ’61, et al., eds. The Economic Characteristics of Developing Jurisdictions: Their Implications for Competition Law (Edward Elgar, 2015)

The authors examine the factors that influence the adoption of particular competition laws in developing countries and argue that there is not one size that fits all in competition law and policy.

Kevin Davis, Sally Engle Merry, and Benedict Kingsbury, eds. The Quiet Power of Indicators: Measuring Development, Corruption, and the Rule of Law (Cambridge University Press, May 2015)

This volume investigates how major global indicators of legal governance are produced, disseminated, and used—and to what effect.

Gráinne de Búrca, Dimitry Kochenov, and Andrew Williams, eds. Europe’s Justice Deficit? (Hart Publishing, March 2015)

“This is a remarkable volume which addresses a long-neglected question about the EU: situated between integration through market freedoms and an emerging constitutional project, how does the EU contribute to the achievement of justice?” writes Seyla Benhabib of the political science and philosophy departments at Yale University, calling this a “must-read for all interested in European Studies.”

Samuel Issacharoff. Fragile Democracies: Contested Power in the Era of Constitutional Courts (Cambridge University Press, June 2015)

Issacharoff argues that the most powerful defense against authoritarianism is the presence of strong constitutional courts. He surveys the range of outcomes that countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe have seen in their struggles for democracy over the past 25 years.

Read about how, in Issacharoff’s view, constitutional courts buttress “fragile democracies.”

James Jacobs. The Eternal Criminal Record (Harvard University Press, February 2015)

Jacobs examines the long shadow that criminal records cast over the lives of more than 60 million Americans. Jacobs examines problems in the ways records are expunged and advances ways to effectively use criminal records to predict future behavior without infringing on civil rights.

Read about the consequences of having a virtual life sentence.

Erin Murphy. Inside the Cell: The Dark Side of Forensic DNA (Nation Books, October 2015)

Murphy exposes the shortcomings of forensic DNA testing, asking that society temper its willingness to blindly embrace the technology. Kirkus Reviews described the book as a “specialized work that will appeal to attorneys, investigators, crime writers, and others on the frontiers of forensic DNA laws and technologies.”

Read about Erin Murphy’s take on the merits of the science behind CSI.

Helen Nissenbaum and Finn Brunton. Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest (The MIT Press, September 2015)

Helen Nissenbaum, director of the Information Law Institute, and her co-author introduce obfuscation—a technique involving purposefully using ambiguous and misleading information to impede data collection conducted by governments, corporations, advertisers, and hackers—and explain why you should use it.

Burt Neuborne. Madison’s Music: On Reading the First Amendment (The New Press, January 2015)

In Madison’s Music, Burt Neuborne, Norman Dorsen Professor of Civil Liberties, argues that in the First Amendment, the Constitution offers a “blueprint for a functioning democracy,” with the subsequent amendments in the Bill of Rights purposefully ordered to protect that idea.

Read about and watch Neuborne discuss the implications of the First Amendment for democracy.

Richard Revesz and Jack Lienke ’11. Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the “War on Coal” (Oxford University Press, January 2016)

Although the 1970 Clean Air Act aimed to eliminate all air pollution that posed a threat to public health or welfare, it largely exempted existing facilities from direct federal regulation. Decades later, those old plants continue to pollute. Revesz and Lienke chronicle the political compromises that led to grandfathering, its consequences, and the repeated attempts—by presidential administrations of both parties—to correct these mistakes.

David Richards. Why Love Leads to Justice: Love Across the Boundaries (Cambridge University Press, November 2015)

Richards shares the stories of well-known historical figures—including George Eliot, Benjamin Britten, James Baldwin, and Eleanor Roosevelt—whose struggles against patriarchal laws forbidding adultery, same-sex relationships, and sex between people of different religions and races led to social and political change.

Read about David Richards’ 20th book.

Kenji Yoshino. Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial (Crown, April 2015)

Mere months before the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, Yoshino celebrates the Hollingsworth v. Perry trial, which he calls “the most rigorous, comprehensive, and thoughtful conversation we’ve ever had in any forum on same-sex marriage in the country.”

Read about, and watch Yoshino discuss, Speak Now.


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Originally posted December 18, 2015