Storming the Court

How a Band of Yale Law Students Sued the President--and Won

About The Book

A tale more riveting than fiction, Storming the Court is the true story of idealistic law students who challenged the United States government in a battle for freedom and human rights that went all the way to the Supreme Court -- and resonates today more than ever.
In 1992, three hundred innocent men, women, and children who had qualified for political asylum in the United States were forced into a detention camp at the American naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and told they might never be freed. Storming the Court takes readers inside this modern-day atrocity to tell the tale of Yvonne Pascal -- a young, charismatic activist -- and other Haitian refugees who had fled their violent homeland only to end up prisoners at Guantánamo. They had no lawyers, no contact with the outside world, and no hope...except for a band of students at Yale Law School fifteen hundred miles away.
Led by Harold Koh, a gifted but untested law professor, these remarkable twentysomethings waged a legal war against two U.S. presidents to defend the Constitution and the principles symbolized by the Statue of Liberty. It was an education in law unlike any other. With the refugees' lives at stake, the students threw aside classes and career plans to fight an army of government attorneys in a case so politically volatile that the White House itself intervened in the legal strategy.
Featuring a real-life cast that includes Kenneth Starr and other top Justice Department officials, U.S. marines, radical human-rights lawyers, and Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Storming the Court follows the students from the classrooms at Yale to the prison camp at Guantánamo to the federal courts in New York and Washington as they struggle to save Yvonne Pascal and her fellow Haitian refugees.
At a time when the treatment of post-9/11 Guantánamo detainees has been challenged in the public arena and the courts, this book traces the origins of the legal battle over America's use of the naval base as a prison and illuminates the troubling ways that politics can influence legal decisions. Above all, though, Storming the Court is the David-and-Goliath story of a group of passionate law students who took on their government in the name of the greatest of American values: freedom.

About The Author

Photo Credit:

Brandt Goldstein, a 1992 graduate of Yale Law School, has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Slate. He writes a monthly feature for The Wall Street Journal online edition and is a visiting professor at New York Law School.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (September 27, 2005)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780743274760

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

"Want to see how the law really works? Forget the nonsense David versus Goliath stories from every legal thriller. Here's the real thing." -- Brad Meltzer, author of The Book of Fate and The First Counsel

"Brilliant. A compelling story that shows how the legal system can be used to achieve justice. Every law student should read this book." -- Professor Erwin Chemerinsky, Duke Law School

"A gripping and psychologically insightful narrative . . . which combines constitutional drama, superb reporting, and shrewd insights from beginning to end." -- Jeffrey Rosen, author of The Most Democratic Branch and The Unwanted Gaze

"Fast-paced . . . cinematic." -- The Washington Post

"A timely and passionate account." -- Publishers Weekly

"Riveting, masterfully told . . . Goldstein writes like a dream as he vividly brings the stories of the refugees and the lawyers alive." -- Clara Bingham, coauthor of Class Action: The Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law

"A revealing look at the legal system, a compelling human rights story, and an inspirational tale of dedicated people who refuse to accept the status quo." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Awards and Honors

  • CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images