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Protect and Defend   book icon  
by Richard North Patterson (2001)

read: 20 April 2005
rating: [+]
category: uncategorized

The more I date my law school boyfriend, the more I seem to read and enjoy political thrillers. This is an in-depth back and forth over the nuances of abortion in the guise of being sort of a classic tale of the nomination and confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice in the first weeks of a new presidency. The story centers around an America just a wee bit in the future where legislation has passed banning late term abortions without the consent of the parents. A young girl with pro-life parents gets pregnant, waits too long, discovers she had a hydrocephalic fetus, and all hell breaks loose. She wants to abort, her parents won’t let her, they go to court with her Dad, somewhat overdramatically, playing opposing counsel.

Everyone’s got a dog in this fight. The new President is trying to get his choice for Supreme Court Chief Justice approved yet she has no record on abortion at all, though she does have a secret. The President has his own secrets, as does nearly everyone else in this tale. It’s a long involved political brinksmanship game that only rarely resorts to the tired device of putting the political argument directly into the mouths of the characters. Instead we just see the complicated story get more and more complicated with Senators trying to curry favor and outguess the other one as they decide what to do about the political climate and the case slowly creeping its way towards the Supreme Court. Not a tough book by any stretch but a long involved one with more to chew on than I usually expect from Patterson.

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