Men in Black

In his book Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America, Mark Levin lays out a compelling case for why: “It’s time for a serious national debate about the role of the judiciary in modern America.”

  • Why a balance of power as our founding fathers declared is vital to each person’s freedom, regardless of personal political views
  • Why intent and its clear expression are crucial–in their absence interpretation (right, wrong and very wrong) is inevitable
  • Why being wary of actions (or lack thereof) that secure “the right not to feel uncomfortable” is important
  • How diversity can be synonymous with reverse discrimination
  • How significant the price of nebulous terms and subjective analysis can become over time

I found Mr. Levin’s comment about working on the inside (e.g. siding with a majority to limit its scope) to be insightful in other business contexts–an active take on “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” (but don’t be a lemming!).

When Mr. Levin got to discussing “right to privacy” issues (his chapter, “Death by Privacy”)–something I’ve been mulling over in the context of desktop search and search in general–I was intrigued by the following passage that talks about Justice Hugo Black’s dissent in the 1965 decision in the case of Griswold vs. Connecticut : “One of the most effective ways of diluting or expanding a constitutionally guaranteed right is to substitute for the crucial word or words of a constitutional guarantee another word or words, more or less flexible and more or less restricted in meaning…’Privacy’ is a broad, abstract and ambiguous concept that can easily be shrunken in meaning but which can also, on the other hand, easily be interpreted as a constitutional ban against many things other than searches and seizures.”

Update 12/1/2008: For more of my book reviews and to see what else is in my book library (i.e. just the business-related or software-related non-fiction therein), please visit my Books page.