Deference, Power, and Emerging Security Threats

Book Review - Volume 95 - Issue 3

McNeal considers David Rudenstine’s book, The Age of Deference—a tour de force of constitutional history that recounts the myriad cases involving surveillance, civil liberties, secret courts, and secret laws that have evolved since World War II—and Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum’s book, In The Future of Violence: Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones, which takes on various emergent threats that the nation faces, and argues for an embrace of governmental surveillance and increased regulation. McNeal attempts to harmonize and draw insights from the two books, and finds that the ideas drawn from them can provide a way of thinking about emerging threats and the structure of American government. The Essay first describes Rudenstine’s book, highlighting what he deems to be the “Age of Deference” and what the consequences of that deference are, before describes the work of Wittes and Blum, attempting to situate their views on emergent threats and the powers, regulations, and structures that are necessary to counter such emergent threats. The Essay concludes with an attempt to harmonize the themes presented in both works, ultimately arguing that a less deferential judiciary and a more protective national security state both require significant congressional involvement if rights are to be protected.

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