Moving the Bar

sub-heading:
My Life As a Radical Lawyer
With an Introduction by
MICHAEL SMITH

"If you care as deeply and passionately as Michael Ratner, the suffering of the oppressed forces you to become a radical."

- Chris Hedges

"Driven by love and compassion, Michael Ratner was the most tenacious and brilliant of lawyers."

- Amy Goodman

"A fascinating read that covers much radical U.S. history."

- Ajamu Baraka
£18.11

Adding to cart… The item has been added
  • 366 pages
  • Paperback ISBN 9781682193099
  • E-book ISBN 9781682192504

about the bookabout

Michael Ratner (1943–2016) was one of America's leading human rights lawyers. He worked for more than four decades at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) becoming first the Director of Litigation and then the President of what Alexander Cockburn called "a small band of tigerish people". He was also the President of the National Lawyers Guild.

Ratner handled some of the most significant cases In American history. This book tells why and how he did it.

His last case, which he worked on until he died, was representing truth-telling whistleblower and now political prisoner Julian Assange, the editor of WikiLeaks.

Ratner "moved the bar" by organizing some 600 lawyers to successfully defend habeas corpus, that is, the ancient right of someone accused of a crime to have a lawyer and to be brought before a judge.

Michael had a piece of paper taped on the wall next to his desk at the CCR. It read:

4 key principles of being a radical lawyer:

1. Do not refuse to take a case just because it is long odds of winning in court.

2. Use cases to publicize a radical critique of US policy and to promote revolutionary transformation.

3. Combine legal work with political advocacy.

4. Love people.

Compelling and instructive, Moving the Bar is an indispensable manual for the next generation of activists and their lawyers.

"A beautiful and compelling account from one of the leaders of the legal left... Ratner showed that one can indeed be both a radical and a lawyer-by acting 'one hundred percent on principle,' and by using the law on behalf of the vulnerable to hold the powerful to account". - David Cole, The Nation

"He was fearless. He was outraged by outrageous things. He was inventive when the law stopped short of providing justice. And working with Michael let you experience the exhilaration of taking the law to places where it had never been". - Peter Weiss, former vice-president of the Center for Constitutional Rights

About The Author / Editor

Michael Ratner (1943-2016) was a New York-based civil rights attorney and a lifelong socialist. He was president of the National Lawyers Guild and the Center for Constitutional Rights and the author of several books including The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book, Against War with Iraq, Guantanamo: What the World Should Know, and (with Michael Smith) Who Killed Che?: How the CIA Got Away With Murder.

Read An Excerpt

Shortly after the release of the Iraq War Logs, Len Weinglass and I were finally able to arrange our meeting with Assange. We met him in Marylebone in central London at a studio apartment that belonged to Jennifer Robinson, one of his lawyers who was away at the time.

WikiLeaks had no physical office. It existed only in cyberspace. Nor did Assange have a permanent residence. He was living the same kind of nomadic life that he'd led as a teenager in Australia, moving from city to city, apartment to apartment.

Len struggled as we trudged up to the top floor of the five-floor walkup. Joseph Farrell opened the door, and that is when I got my first in-person look at Julian Assange, who greeted us warmly. Tall and slender, he had longish white hair that reminded me of Andy Warhol. He wore slacks and a plain shirt that Farrell had bought him after the suitcase with all his clothes had been lost on his recent flight from Stockholm.

With Julian was his close adviser Sarah Harrison, a 28-year-old, sandy-haired British journalist who, along with Farrell, had left London's Bureau of Investigative Journalism earlier that year to join WikiLeaks. Julian's British solicitor, Mark Stephens, a frizzy-haired middle-aged man dressed in a striped suit with a broad flashy tie, also joined us.

Perhaps a bit suspicious of American lawyers intruding on his turf, Stephens explained that Julian already had lawyers in Sweden dealing with the allegations there, and he was handling the legal situation in England, along with Jennifer Robinson and the Australia-born barrister Geoffrey Robertson.

in the media

Moving the Bar

sub-heading:
My Life As a Radical Lawyer
With an Introduction by
MICHAEL SMITH

"If you care as deeply and passionately as Michael Ratner, the suffering of the oppressed forces you to become a radical."

- Chris Hedges

"Driven by love and compassion, Michael Ratner was the most tenacious and brilliant of lawyers."

- Amy Goodman

"A fascinating read that covers much radical U.S. history."

- Ajamu Baraka
£18.11

Add to Cart

Adding to cart… The item has been added

about the bookabout

Michael Ratner (1943–2016) was one of America's leading human rights lawyers. He worked for more than four decades at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) becoming first the Director of Litigation and then the President of what Alexander Cockburn called "a small band of tigerish people". He was also the President of the National Lawyers Guild.

Ratner handled some of the most significant cases In American history. This book tells why and how he did it.

His last case, which he worked on until he died, was representing truth-telling whistleblower and now political prisoner Julian Assange, the editor of WikiLeaks.

Ratner "moved the bar" by organizing some 600 lawyers to successfully defend habeas corpus, that is, the ancient right of someone accused of a crime to have a lawyer and to be brought before a judge.

Michael had a piece of paper taped on the wall next to his desk at the CCR. It read:

4 key principles of being a radical lawyer:

1. Do not refuse to take a case just because it is long odds of winning in court.

2. Use cases to publicize a radical critique of US policy and to promote revolutionary transformation.

3. Combine legal work with political advocacy.

4. Love people.

Compelling and instructive, Moving the Bar is an indispensable manual for the next generation of activists and their lawyers.

"A beautiful and compelling account from one of the leaders of the legal left... Ratner showed that one can indeed be both a radical and a lawyer-by acting 'one hundred percent on principle,' and by using the law on behalf of the vulnerable to hold the powerful to account". - David Cole, The Nation

"He was fearless. He was outraged by outrageous things. He was inventive when the law stopped short of providing justice. And working with Michael let you experience the exhilaration of taking the law to places where it had never been". - Peter Weiss, former vice-president of the Center for Constitutional Rights

About The Author / Editor

Michael Ratner (1943-2016) was a New York-based civil rights attorney and a lifelong socialist. He was president of the National Lawyers Guild and the Center for Constitutional Rights and the author of several books including The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book, Against War with Iraq, Guantanamo: What the World Should Know, and (with Michael Smith) Who Killed Che?: How the CIA Got Away With Murder.

Read An Excerpt

Shortly after the release of the Iraq War Logs, Len Weinglass and I were finally able to arrange our meeting with Assange. We met him in Marylebone in central London at a studio apartment that belonged to Jennifer Robinson, one of his lawyers who was away at the time.

WikiLeaks had no physical office. It existed only in cyberspace. Nor did Assange have a permanent residence. He was living the same kind of nomadic life that he'd led as a teenager in Australia, moving from city to city, apartment to apartment.

Len struggled as we trudged up to the top floor of the five-floor walkup. Joseph Farrell opened the door, and that is when I got my first in-person look at Julian Assange, who greeted us warmly. Tall and slender, he had longish white hair that reminded me of Andy Warhol. He wore slacks and a plain shirt that Farrell had bought him after the suitcase with all his clothes had been lost on his recent flight from Stockholm.

With Julian was his close adviser Sarah Harrison, a 28-year-old, sandy-haired British journalist who, along with Farrell, had left London's Bureau of Investigative Journalism earlier that year to join WikiLeaks. Julian's British solicitor, Mark Stephens, a frizzy-haired middle-aged man dressed in a striped suit with a broad flashy tie, also joined us.

Perhaps a bit suspicious of American lawyers intruding on his turf, Stephens explained that Julian already had lawyers in Sweden dealing with the allegations there, and he was handling the legal situation in England, along with Jennifer Robinson and the Australia-born barrister Geoffrey Robertson.

in the media