The Myth of Moral Justice: Why Our Legal System Fails to Do What’s Right

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Praise for The Myth of Moral Justice: Why Our Legal System Fails to Do What’s Right:

As a diagnostician, Rosenbaum is on target. He paints a picture of a frosty system that blasts the emotion, subjectivity, and complexity out of every dispute brought to its doorstep. Citing the bureaucratic efficiencies governing decisions, winner-take-all mentality drummed into lawyers and the profession’s ethics, which bear only a glancing familiarity with human morality, he exposes a system that encourages lying, permits truth to be stifled and allows evil men to roam free. . . . Rosenbaum should be read by every law student in America.

—New York Times Book Review

“Provocative . . . Mr. Rosenbaum treats the legal issues he discusses
expertly. . . . [A] valuable . . . perspective. Mr. Rosenbaum is on
to something.”

—New York Times, Arts & Ideas Section

Rosenbaum has accomplished what multitudes of professors long for and so rarely achieve: He has set the terms for public debate.

—New York Times, Education column

“[An] engaging critique of the legal system…Making broad culture and political references to Kafka, Camus, Dickens, Shakespeare, Seinfeld, The Sopranos, the O.J. [Simpson] trial, Bush v. Gore, and the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund Mr. Rosenbaum argues for a legal system that embodies a kind of humanist morality, a system in which the participant’s emotional need to be heard is given as much credence as grievances, crimes and bank accounts.”

—New York Observer

“Rosenbaum is troubled by the disparity between what we expect and what we actually get from our courts…Rosenbaum seeks something much more exalted and demanding…not just to denounce but also to improve our justice system. . . . [His] moral critique is considerably enriched and enlivened by the connections he makes between our contemporary legal system and our ideas of justice as they have been influenced by the whole of Western arts and letters. . . . [H]is book ought to be required reading in law schools and continuing legal educations classes, if only because at least a few of his readers will be humanized by the experience.

—Washington Post Book World

Thane Rosenbaum bravely attempts to bring philosophy into the courtroom. . . [Rosenbaum] seeks to use law as a means not simply of achieving justice but of changing the hearts of human kind. . . . I am a fan of Rosenbaum’s previous highly imaginative fiction. . . . If Rosenbaum is serious about reforming the hearts of all people, his best hope is to continue to use his gifts as a novelist to do it. As he surely knows, the world does not need more lawyers. But it can always use a good storyteller.

—Los Angeles Times Book Review

[A] fine, thought-provoking essay . . . on the topic of personal morality.

—San Francisco Chronicle

A searing indictment of the law. . . . [Rosenbaum] cleverly enlivens his discourse with histrionic scenes from novels, films, plays, and TV everything from Sophocles to Seinfeld. . . . Well written.

—Miami Herald

It is hard to argue with Rosenbaum. It is obvious that the legal system does not consistently produce moral results that the congruence between what is legal and what is just is intermittent at best. Similarly, it is an old saw that the adversarial system of justice often surrenders its truth-seeking function in the name of achieving a more fair result. But Rosenbaum pushes past these truisms to make a more original point.

—Legal Affairs Magazine

The Myth of Moral Justice is an original, convincing, devastating indictment of the legal system. It is bound to make many people within the system and outside of it think about the law and its practice in ways they had not before.

—Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, author of Hitler’s Willing Executioners and Worse Than War

Thane Rosenbaum’s brilliant work strikes a number of chords that will resonate with many thoughtful students and practitioners of the law. Some lawyers and most non-lawyers will cheer it. The law’s attempt to create order through prescribed and relatively inflexible rules often leaves us emotionally unsatisfied, if not enraged. The O.J. Simpson case comes to mind. The remedy Rosenbaum prescribes a powerful new movement of enlightened citizens demanding changes that will give the law a moral dimension people can relate to is inspiring, albeit difficult to achieve; but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try.

—Mario M. Cuomo, former governor of New York

This deeply felt book about the widening differences between what we call the Law and what we call Justice is long overdue.

—Sidney Lumet, director of The Verdict and 12 Angry Men

Thane Rosenbaum has done a great service for those of us who love the law but don’t like it. He has grabbed the legal system and, like an old purse, shaken out all the detritus from its depths, then carefully put back in a few essential things. A truly compelling book.

—Stephen J. Dubner, author of Freakonomics and Turbulent Souls