"Faigman is one attorney who hasn't shied away from insisting that judges stay up to speed with scientific knowledge." -The Christian Science Monitor
Suppose that scientists identify a gene sequence that predicts the likelihood that a person will commit a serious crime in the future. Laws are passed making genetic tests mandatory, and anyone displaying the genes is sent to a treatment facility. Would the laws be constitutional?
In this illuminating history, legal scholar David L. Faigman wrestles with these moral and political conundrums, revealing the tension between science and the law. The Supreme Court works by precedent, while science works through constant innovation. In the nineteenth century, eugenics and phrenology helped decide the "race question" in the famous Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson cases; Roe v. Wade set a standard for the viability of a fetus that, just thirty years later, could become obsolete with modern medicine. And how does the Fourth Amendment apply in a world filled with high-tech surveillance devices?
To ensure our liberties, Faigman argues, the Court must embrace science rather than resist it, turning to the lab as well as to precedent.