Judicial Power and American Character: Censoring Ourselves in an Anxious Age / Edition 1

Judicial Power and American Character: Censoring Ourselves in an Anxious Age / Edition 1

by Robert F. Nagel
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195089014

ISBN-13: 9780195089011

Pub. Date: 11/28/1994

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

In this highly original book, Robert Nagel demonstrates how contemporary constitutional politics reflect the moral character of American culture. He persuasively argues that judicial decisions embody wider social tendenceies towards moral evasiveness, privatization, and opportunism. Constitutional interpretation, he urges, is often an effort to stifle political

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Overview

In this highly original book, Robert Nagel demonstrates how contemporary constitutional politics reflect the moral character of American culture. He persuasively argues that judicial decisions embody wider social tendenceies towards moral evasiveness, privatization, and opportunism. Constitutional interpretation, he urges, is often an effort to stifle political disagreement and, ultimately, to censor our own beliefs and traditions. Nagel ranges over such controversial topics as the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork, local resistance to abortion rights, political correctness on campus, and judicial decisions dealing with pornography, flag burning, gay rights, school prayer, and racial desegregation. Crossing conventional political and philosophical lines, the analysis is surprising and provocative. Nagel sees fundamental similarities between liberals like Ronald Dworkin and conservatives like Bork. He finds judicial arrogance in jurists as different as William Brennan and Sandra O'Connor. Clearly written and forcefully argued, this work is an audacious examination of judicial power as an integral part of our increasingly anxious and intolerant society.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195089011
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
11/28/1994
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.52(h) x 0.74(d)
Lexile:
1480L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

1Introduction: The Court as Cultural Barometer3
2Watching Ourselves: The Thomas Hearings and National Character9
Inequality as Equality10
Offensiveness as Virtue14
Careerism and Sexual Equality16
Careerism and Responsibility20
Moralism and Opportunism24
3Shaping Law: Elitism and Democracy in the Bork Hearings27
Bork against the Mainstream28
Bork as the Mainstream31
Meeting the Enemy39
4Marching on Constitution Avenue: Public Protest and the Court45
Judges as Politicians47
Marching and Advocacy51
Legalism, Realism, and Edwin Meese's Heresy56
5Speaking before All Others: Interpretation as the Suppression of Disagreement61
The Rule of Law64
Legal Traditions and Constitutional Rights66
Political Resistance and the Expansion of Rights71
6Pursuing Visions: Interpretation as Moral Evasion81
Sexual Speech and Moral Climate83
Flag Burning and Political Ethos91
Boundlessness and Adjudication96
7Correcting the Political: Interpretation as Mind Control103
Regulating Sexist Speech104
The Court and Consciousness Raising109
Mind Control and Censorship119
8Arguing with Enemies: Interpretation as Invective123
Name-Calling in the Courts124
Judicial Restraint and Moral Heroism129
The Ideal of Moderation in a Divided Society132
Restraint and the Judicial Machine136
9Censoring Ourselves141
Principle Ascendant144
Principle, "Progress," and the Tradition of the Family147
Principle as Suppression151
Principle and Cultural Decline155
Notes157
Index182

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