The riveting inside story of the Supreme Court's landmark rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 - by the two lawyers who argued the case.
On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United Statesissued a pair of landmark decisions, striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and eliminating California's discriminatory Proposition 8, thereby reinstating the freedom to marry for gays and lesbians in California.
Redeeming the Dream is the story of how David Boies and Theodore B. Olson - who argued against each other all the way to the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore - joined forces after that titanic battle to forge the unique legal argument that would carry the day. As allies, they tell the fascinating story of the five-year struggle to win the right for gays to marry,from Proposition 8's adoption by voters, in 2008, to its defeat before the highest court in the land in Hollingsworth v. Perry, in 2013.
Boies and Olson guide listeners through the legal framing of the case, making crystal clear the constitutional principles of due process and equal protection in support of marriage equality while explaining, with intricacy, the basic human truths they set out to prove when the duo put state-sanctioned discrimination on trial.
Redeeming the Dream offers listeners an authoritative, dramatic, and up-close account of the most important civil-rights issue - fought and won - since Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia.
©2014 Theodore B. Olson and David Boies (P)2014 Blackstone Audiobooks
Not only does it tell the back story of the California Prop 8 case but it provides insight by world class supreme court attorneys on the foundational strategy necessary to target propulsion to the U.S. Supreme Court. Seems to me as a recent law school graduate that this book is a must read for aspiring attorneys.
How everyone in the book was treated with respect by the authors. The activists on both sides, the opposing lawyers, the LGBT community as a whole, and even those who backed Prop 8 were given a fair deal. Some didn't come across very well, but it was on their own merits, not by being run down by the authors.
The build up to the Supreme Court case and the actual proceedings inside the Supreme Court. It was unbelievable the amount of work that goes into preparing for the Supreme Court and then how very fast the actual appeal goes in the Courtroom. The fact that each lawyer has a prepared argument, but rarely gets past the first line or so before being interrupted by one of the justices.
His ability to make what could have become dry legal mumbo jumbo and bring it to life.
When you live through history, the big picture - if you think of it at all - is elusive. There are parts of the illustrated history you can imagine but can't see because you're painted in another perspective. NPR, FoxNews, Slate, evangelical Christians, liberal pundits and conservative wonks add pieces to a puzzle scattered across a vast nation.
I was part of the 48% in California who voted 'no' on Prop 8 - which means I supported marriage equality. I mourned for friends who'd married and had their civil rights taken from them. I listened to the live webcast of "8", with so many people Internet traffic slowed down even crashed in a few places. In June of 2013, I changed my Facebook picture and pretty soon, every Facebook friend I had looked the same: = Our avatars stayed that way until DOMA and Prop 8 were overturned.
And talk about real excitement: SCOTUSBlog! No waiting for NPR's Nina Totenberg to come out of the Courthouse to explain the decisions. I posted SCOTUSBlog's report to FB, and the virtual celebration was on. Not that I didn't make it a special point to listen to Totenberg's reports later: no one explains the Supreme Court better.
So, I was and am definitely a supporter of same sex marriage, but other than being one of more than 50 million? 100 million now? that support it, I really only had the most rudimentary idea of how it went from whispers to dreams to possibility to reality.
I understood how and why United States v. Windsor (2013) 570 US 12 ended up in front of the US Supreme Court: that was a federal tax (IRS) question arising out of a federal law - the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
But Hollingsworth v Perry (2013) 133 S.Ct. 2652? Why wasn't that a California case? Did Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and later, Jerry Brown have the state constitutional authority to refuse to defend a proposition voted on by a majority of the voters, or even an affirmative obligation not to defend Prop 8? How were the Plaintiffs selected? And why now, not later when more people might have accepted the idea? And, just what was actor/director/civil rights activist Rob Reiner's part in this anyway? And why was there a trial, rather than a Motion for Summary Judgment?
I already had a pretty good idea of why the conservative Theodore Olson and the liberal David Boies were working together: human rights are human rights, not 'isms'. And - especially for us 'Street Lawyers' (as John Grisham might call us), there's no more idealistic attorney than a constitutional law attorney. Unless, of course, it's the President.
What fascinated me especially is learning how Olson and Boies worked together to map out a plan, from selecting resilient, optimistic Plaintiffs; identifying qualified experts; taking depositions; opening and closing statements; and establishing a strong record for appeal. Their system of constant balances and critical feedback in preparing questions and arguments - well - it was clearly invaluable and crucial to their preparation.
"Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality" (2014) by David Boies and Theodore Olson answers the procedural (how it got to the Courts it went to) and substantive (what law was used, and why). Absolutely fascinating. And - as someone who aced constitutional law in law school and has hundreds of hours of training in the same, and is admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court - if I were doing law school again, I'd read "Redeeming the Dream" first and last.
That being said - as a reader/listener Olson and Boies sounded like lawyers who'd swallowed Black's Law Dictionary and were slowly regurgitating it. That's a good thing for the US Supreme Court and law students, but not so good for folks who didn't find Cliff Sloan and David McKean's "The Great Decision: Jefferson, Adams, Marshall and the Battle for the Supreme Court" (2009) edge-of-your-seat fascinating. (That's the history of Marbury v. Madison (1803) 5 U.S. 137.)
So, my recommendation if the paragraph above doesn't apply to you: start from Chapter 8 on Audible - 7 on paper, and listen to the rest after if you are so inclined. And get "8" on Audible, because it's just that d***ed good.
I was so tempted - and so wanted - to give this book 5's across the board, because 'What a Great Story!' It's just not that well written or narrated - Rob Reiner, where are you?
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