Book Review: Protect and Defend by Richard North Patterson


Richard North Patterson
I mean to root out this system of legalized bribery where
all of us sell pieces of the government like shares of stock.
– Richard North Patterson
 
Richard North Patterson has written three legal thrillers about child abuse survivor President Kerry Kilcannon:  No Safe Place, Protect and Defend, and Balance of Power.
 
A retired attorney, he served on the board of the Family Violence Prevention Fund which is now called Futures Without Violence.
No matter who they vote for, [some people] believe, neither party cares about them.
And so they’ve just stopped voting.
Which is how democracy ~ in the very real sense ~
begins to flicker out.
– Richard North Patterson

Protect and Defend is a riveting legal thriller that exposes the hypocrisy of the religious “right’s” opposition to abortion as well as the rampant corruption within our government and legal system:

Religion can yield some curious inconsistencies as to how we value life.  Recently, my colleagues and I surveyed states with the most restrictive laws to curb abortion. . .What we expected to find was that those states compensated with more liberal programs to support the neediest children, encourage foster homes, provide early childhood education, and facilitate adoption of older children and those with physical or mental disabilities.

The reality was just the opposite ~ the states which placed the most restrictions on abortion provided the fewest protections for the children that resulted.  This law provides none at all. . .

I’ve become leery of religious advocacy for laws which only value a “life” until it’s born.

The plot is a complex, behind-the-scenes look at how courts decide cases and how justices get appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court:

No more can we claim that our politics is simply about ideas, or values, or the clash of competing interests.  All too often it is about money ~ the elegant system of quasi-bribery in which those who finance our campaigns become our stockholders, and men like Mason Taylor demand results. . .And, if “results” means ruining whoever stands in the way ~ for whatever private frailty they can ferret out ~ they will use the media to destroy any one of us, and then the next, until the cycle of destruction, turning each of us upon the other, at last drives all decency from public life.  And if their aims require a few “civilian casualties,” they will provide those too.

The book gives a sensitive glimpse into the painful decisions women make about abortion and adoption.  It helped me appreciate how much our right to privacy has been invaded.

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