The Most Democratic Branch

Author: Jeffrey Rosen
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780195346602
Format: PDF, ePub
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Many critics attack federal judges as anti-democratic elitists, activists out of step with the mainstream of American thought. But others argue that judges should stand alone as the ultimate guardians of American values, placing principle before the views of the people. In The Most Democratic Branch, Jeffrey Rosen disagrees with both assertions. Contrary to what interest groups may claim, he contends that, from the days of John Marshall right up to the present, the federal courts by and large have reflected the opinions of the mainstream. More important, he argues that the Supreme Court is most successful when it defers to the constitutional views of the American people, as represented most notably by Congress and the Presidency. And on the rare occasion when they departed from the consensus, the result has often been a disaster. To illustrate, Rosen provides a penetrating look at some of the most important Supreme Court cases in American history--cases involving racial equality, affirmative action, abortion, gay rights and gay marriage, the right to die, electoral disputes, and civil liberties in wartime. Rosen shows that the most notorious constitutional decisions in American history--the ones that have been most strenuously criticized, such as Dred Scott or Roe v. Wade--have gone against mainstream opinion. By contrast, the most successful decisions--from Marbury v. Madison to Brown v. Board of Education--have avoided imposing constitutional principles over the wishes of the people. Rosen concludes that the judiciary works best when it identifies the constitutional principles accepted by a majority of Americans, and enforces them unequivocally as fundamental law. Jeffrey Rosen is one of the most respected legal experts writing today, a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine and the Legal Affairs Editor of The New Republic. The provocative arguments that he puts forth here are bound to fuel heated debate at a time when the federal judiciary is already the focus of fierce criticism.

Law s Allure

Author: Gordon Silverstein
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521896479
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Law's Allure explains how, when, and why America's reliance on legal rules and judicial decisions shapes, constrains, saves, and sometimes even kills politics.

The Will of the People

Author: Barry Friedman
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9781429989954
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In recent years, the justices of the Supreme Court have ruled definitively on such issues as abortion, school prayer, and military tribunals in the war on terror. They decided one of American history's most contested presidential elections. Yet for all their power, the justices never face election and hold their offices for life. This combination of influence and apparent unaccountability has led many to complain that there is something illegitimate—even undemocratic—about judicial authority. In The Will of the People, Barry Friedman challenges that claim by showing that the Court has always been subject to a higher power: the American public. Judicial positions have been abolished, the justices' jurisdiction has been stripped, the Court has been packed, and unpopular decisions have been defied. For at least the past sixty years, the justices have made sure that their decisions do not stray too far from public opinion. Friedman's pathbreaking account of the relationship between popular opinion and the Supreme Court—from the Declaration of Independence to the end of the Rehnquist court in 2005—details how the American people came to accept their most controversial institution and shaped the meaning of the Constitution.

Constitutional Politics in a Conservative Era

Author: Austin Sarat
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing
ISBN: 0762314869
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Aims to bring together the work of leading scholars of Constitutionalism, Constitutional law, and politics in the United States to take stock of the field to chart its progress, and point the way for its future development.

The Naked Crowd

Author: Jeffrey Rosen
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN: 0375759859
Format: PDF, ePub
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Argues that in the effort to catch terrorists and prevent future terrorist attacks essential American rights to privacy and liberty are being violated and explains how legislation and technology can create an effective and reasonable balance between security and liberty.

The Supreme Court and Constitutional Democracy

Author: John Agresto
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801492778
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In The Supreme Court and Constitutional Democracy John Agresto traces the development of American judicial power, paying close attention to what he views as the very real threat of judicial supremacy.Agresto examines the role of the judiciary in a democratic society and discusses the proper place of congressional power in constitutional issues. Agresto argues that while the separation of congressional and judicial functions is a fundamental tenet of American government, the present system is not effective in maintaining an appropriate balance of power. He shows that continued judicial expansion, especially into the realm of public policy, might have severe consequences for America's national life and direction, and offers practical recommendations for safeguarding against an increasingly powerful Supreme Court.John Agresto's controversial argument, set in the context of a historical and theoretical inquiry, will be of great interest to scholars and students in political science and law, especially American constitutional law and political theory.

How Courts Govern America

Author: Richard Neely
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300029802
Format: PDF, Docs
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Law and Political Science. A witty defense of judicial activism.--National Review. Must reading for any student of government.--Washington Monthly

Judicial Review and Contemporary Democratic Theory

Author: Scott E. Lemieux
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351602128
Format: PDF, ePub
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For decades, the question of judicial review’s status in a democratic political system has been adjudicated through the framework of what Alexander Bickel labeled "the counter-majoritarian difficulty." That is, the idea that judicial review is particularly problematic for democracy because it opposes the will of the majority. Judicial Review and Contemporary Democratic Theory begins with an assessment of the empirical and theoretical flaws of this framework, and an account of the ways in which this framework has hindered meaningful investigation into judicial review’s value within a democratic political system. To replace the counter-majoritarian difficulty framework, Scott E. Lemieux and David J. Watkins draw on recent work in democratic theory emphasizing democracy’s opposition to domination and analyses of constitutional court cases in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere to examine judicial review in its institutional and political context. Developing democratic criteria for veto points in a democratic system and comparing them to each other against these criteria, Lemieux and Watkins yield fresh insights into judicial review’s democratic value. This book is essential reading for students of law and courts, judicial politics, legal theory and constitutional law.

The Institutions of American Democracy

Author: Susan Fuhrman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199883564
Format: PDF
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From curriculum standards and testing to school choice and civic learning, issues in American education are some of the most debated in the United States. The Institutions of American Democracy , a collection of essays by the nation's leading education scholars and professionals, is designed to inform the debate and stimulate change. In association with the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands and the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, The Institutions of American Democracy is the first in a series of books commissioned to enhance public understanding of the nature and function of democratic institutions. A national advisory board--including, among others, Nancy Kassebaum Baker, David Boren, John Brademas, Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, David Gergen, and Lee Hamilton--will guide the vision of the project, which includes future volumes on the press and the three branches of government. Each essay in The Institutions of American Democracy addresses essential questions for policymakers, educators, and anyone committed to public education. What role should public education play in a democracy? How has that role changed through American history? Have the schools lost sight of their responsibility to teach civics and citizenship? How are current debates about education shaping the future of this democratic institution? Among the contributors are William Galston, Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Maryland;Clarence Stone, Professor in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland - College Park and editor of Changing Urban Education and Regime Politics: Governing Atlanta, 1946-1988 (University Press of Kansas, 1998).; Susan Moore Johnson, Pforzheimer Professor of Education in Learning and Teaching, Harvard University; Michael Johanek, Executive Director of K-12 Professional Development, College Board; Kathy Simon, co-executive director of the Coalition for Essential Schools and author of Moral Questions in the Classroom (Yale University Press, 2001); and Jennifer Hochschild, Professor of Government and Professor of Afro-American Studies at Harvard University and author of Facing Up to the American Dream: Race, Class, and the Soul of the Nation (Princeton University Press, 1995).