Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and Constitutional Change. By Paul M. Collins, Jr., and Lori A. Ringhand. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 296 pp. $32.99 paperback.

Date01 December 2016
Published date01 December 2016
This is by no means a linear trajectory of hope, optimism, and
empowered citizens. There are also sobering accounts of the range
of ways in which local authorities collaborate, deploy coercion, and
file counter-complaints – often in the form of criminal charges – to
punish and deter complainants. There are also accounts of shocking
brutality alongside the bureaucracy and politics of complaint.
Alongside the brutality the book documents – and it is such an
important thing that it does place on record judicial torture, deten-
tion without trial in quite horrific conditions, and the brutalizing of
peaceful demonstrators – the book also tracks and highlights aston-
ishing stories of people standing up for themselves and their com-
munities; resisting the law and order paradigm of conditional
privileges to assert rights, and claim justice.
In taking what animates Myanmar’s criminal courts seriously, it is
not just that we learn about Myanmar as a complex and paradigmatic
case of the asymmetrical relations between opposing concepts, we are
also supplied with a robust intellectual scaffolding through which we
might (hopefully) spot some conceptual blind spots informing analy-
sis of sociolegal ideals and categories in our own projects.
Opposing Rule of Law is beautifully written. The aesthetic sensi-
tivity of the writing becomes a worthy platform for the acute and
compelling analysis, the rigorous engagements with critical theory,
and the thorough appreciation of context and relational dynamics
grounded in ethnography. This important monograph will be
invaluable to scholars in a range of fields, including law, authoritari-
anism, postcoloniality, military regimes, Southeast Asia, and ethnog-
raphies on rule of law.
Mawani, Renisa (2012) “Law’s Archive,” 86 Annual Rev. of Law and Social Science 337–65.
Nonet, Phillipe, & Philip Selznick (1978) Law and Society in Transition: Toward Responsive
Law. New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers.
Vismann, Cornelia (2008) Files: Law and Media Technology [translated by Geoffrey Win-
throp-Young].Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.
Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and Constitutional Change.By
Paul M. Collins, Jr., and Lori A. Ringhand. New York: Cambridge
University Press, 2013. 296 pp. $32.99 paperback.
Reviewed by Sara C. Benesh, Department of Political Science, Uni-
versity of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
1048 Book Reviews

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