ABA Journal: Modern Law Library

Al-Tounsi by Anton Piatigorsky: The U.S. Supreme Court through a Human Lens

In his debut novel, Al-Tounsi, critically acclaimed Canadian-American author and playwright Anton Piatigorsky tells the behind-the-scenes story of U.S. Supreme Court justices as they consider a landmark case involving the rights of detainees held in a Guantanamo Bay-like overseas military base. It explores how the personal lives, career rivalries, and political sympathies of these legal titans blend with their philosophies to create the most important legal decisions of our time. Given the current U.S. political climate, Al-Tounsi could not be more topical or relevant.

In a conversation that touches on everything from the right of habeas corpus to similarities between the fictional justices and their real-life counterparts and differences between the U.S. and Canadian Supreme Courts, Jon Malysiak, Director of Ankerwycke Books, discusses the novel with Piatigorsky. They explore how the author, born and educated in the U.S. and currently living in Toronto, came to write a novel with so many parallels to current political debate, that Erwin Chemerinsky has praised as “…a powerful reminder that justices are human and that, as much as the law, determines how important cases are decided.”