Are you alive? What makes you so sure? Most people believe there is a unitary law out there somewhere that defines one's status as living or dead for all purposes-the kind of black-and-white law that can be looked up and understood quickly by a skillful lawyer. But they would be (pardon the pun) dead wrong.
While someone reading this is clearly alive, there's a vast gray area in which the law struggles for answers. Are frozen embryos alive? Are cryogenically preserved brains or bodies dead? How long should we wait after the heart stops beating to call death? Are patients in a vegetative state--like Terry Schiavo--alive? What is brain death? Do we have a "right" to die? In The Law of Life & Death, law professor Elizabeth Price Foley offers an ambitious, engaging, and eye-opening examination of these fascinating questions lying at the margins of life and death.
Foley reveals that, despite popular assumption to the contrary, life and death are not opposites. In the eyes of the law, "Unbeing dead," as e.e. cummings said, "isn't being alive." This asymmetry exists because although the law has agreed on a definition of death, it has assiduously avoided a definition of life, creating two primary effects: (1) the development of a hierarchy of "personhood" with varying legal status; and (2) a slow but steady expansion of the definition of death and a concomitant right to die.
Foley offers a balanced and subtle analysis of the two types of legal death-cardiopulmonary and brain death-and the challenges they pose. She convincingly makes the case that there has been steady pressure to expand both definitions of death, motivated by understandable desires to increase organ transplants and conserve scarce health care resources. The net result is that in certain cases, death is being declared quicker and quicker. Foley provocatively concludes that these pressures are beginning to erode the hard-won right to individual autonomy over medical decisions, causing it to flow more in the direction of death than life. The "right to die," she worries, may be slowly morphing into an obligation to die.
The Law of Life and Death offers a rare but much-needed "big picture" of this fast-developing and critically important area of law. Foley concludes that the law's inconsistencies and ambiguities may be necessary for an enormous and diverse country, and perhaps even psychologically necessary. While the law of life and death sometimes reflects moments of political capture by both the right-to-life and the right-to-die movements, it seems to reach an acceptable--even if not always consistent--balance between these competing ideological extremes.
In The Tea Party: Three Principles, constitutional law professor Elizabeth Price Foley takes on the mainstream media's characterization of the American Tea Party movement, asserting that it has been distorted in a way that prevents meaningful political dialogue and may even be dangerous for America's future. Foley sees the Tea Party as a movement of principles over politics. She identifies three 'core principles' of American constitutional law that bind the decentralized, wide-ranging movement: limited government, unapologetic US sovereignty and constitutional originalism. These three principles, Foley explains, both define the Tea Party movement and predict its effect on the American political landscape. Foley explains the three principles' significance to the American founding and constitutional structure. She then connects the principles to current issues such as health care reform, illegal immigration, the war on terror, and internationalism.
"At last, someone conversant with the large issues now roiling contemporary American politics has taken the Tea Party seriously and concluded that it is intellectually substantial and politically constructive. Elizabeth Price Foley, one of today's most stimulating writers on constitutional law, finds much to admire in the Tea Party's coherent braiding of three themes-limited government, constitutional originalism, and an unapologetic defense of U.S. sovereignty."
- George F. Will
"Elizabeth Price Foley has produced an interesting and important work on the constitutional basis for the agenda of the Tea Party movement.... I do believe anyone interested in understanding how the growth of the welfare-regulatory state violates the constitution and threatens liberty can benefit from reading this book."
- Ron Paul, United States Congressman (R-TX)
"Lambasted by the left, maligned by the media, the Tea Party may be the political phenomenon of the decade. No one has captured the energy and essence of this vital movement better than Elizabeth Price Foley. She combines scholarship and lucid writing with a profound respect - embraced by the Tea Party - for the U.S. Constitution as it was originally crafted to secure individual liberty and restrain government power. While I might quarrel with Prof. Foley's enthusiasm for America's muscular global role, her intellectual defense of the Tea Party and her application of its credo to urgent and controversial issues have produced a powerful, provocative, and timely book, which I highly recommend."
- Robert A. Levy, Chairman, Cato Institute
"Elizabeth Price Foley's The Tea Party is a clear and straightforward explication of what the Tea Party Movement is all about, and is required reading for anyone who wants to understand the current political climate. With this slim, provocative volume, Foley once again demonstrates why she is one of constitutional law's rising stars."
- Glenn Harlan Reynolds, Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Tennessee College of Law
ďBy elevating principle above party, the Tea Party has already changed the face of American politics. In this marvelous book, Elizabeth Price Foley clearly identifies and defends the three basic principles that unite the Tea Party movement, all stemming from its commitment to our written Constitution. Politicos beware; the party has just begun.Ē
- Randy E. Barnett, Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown Law Center, and author of Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty (2005)