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No Island of Sanity: Paula Jones v. Bill Clinton: The Supreme Court on Trial (Library of Contemporary Thought)


Publisher:Ballantine Books



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About the book:

Vincent Bugliosi, the former L.A. County prosecutor who chronicled his successful efforts to put Charles Manson away in Helter Skelter, isn't afraid to let people know what he thinks. Others might be content to label a Supreme Court decision "incomprehensible and terribly flawed," but few would go on to raise the question of whether that decision reflected "near-pathological dizziness and irrationality" on the part of the nine justices as Bugliosi does in No Island of Sanity, a spirited, 132-page essay that launches Ballantine's monthly Library of Contemporary Thought series.

Although it takes 30 pages of a general rant against modern society for Bugliosi to address the case of Paula Corbin Jones v. William Jefferson Clinton, once he starts, he gets right to the crux of the matter: What on earth compelled the Supreme Court to decide that Paula Jones's private lawsuit against Bill Clinton was of a higher priority than serving the public interest by having a chief executive undistracted from his work? The problem, as he demonstrates, is that Clinton's lawyers tried to convince the Court that a lawsuit against an incumbent President was a violation of constitutional separation-of-powers doctrine, in that it would allow the judiciary branch of the government to have undue influence on the executive branch's fulfillment of its duties. The president's team never tried to argue that the public interest was better served by delaying the Jones suit until after Clinton left the White House.

There are individual points on which one might quibble with Bugliosi--for example, whether America really deserves to be taken seriously by foreigners when scandals such as Clinton's alleged sexual conduct erupts. But Bugliosi's central thesis, that Bill Clinton's request to have Jones's lawsuit delayed was not an extraordinary request, and that consideration both of legal precedent and the public interest ought to have led to the granting of that request, is convincingly argued with passionate rhetoric and vigorous factual support.

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