The Myth of Judicial Activism: Making Sense of Supreme Court Decisions / Edition 1

The Myth of Judicial Activism: Making Sense of Supreme Court Decisions / Edition 1

by Kermit Roosevelt III
     
 

This carefully considered book is a welcome addition to the debate over “judicial activism.” Constitutional scholar Kermit Roosevelt III offers an elegantly simple way to resolve the heated discord between conservatives, who argue that the Constitution is immutable, and progressives, who insist that it is a living document that must be reinterpreted in

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Overview

This carefully considered book is a welcome addition to the debate over “judicial activism.” Constitutional scholar Kermit Roosevelt III offers an elegantly simple way to resolve the heated discord between conservatives, who argue that the Constitution is immutable, and progressives, who insist that it is a living document that must be reinterpreted in new cultural contexts so that its meaning evolves. Roosevelt uses plain language and compelling examples to explain how the Constitution can be both a constant and an organic document.

Recent years have witnessed an increasing drumbeat of complaints about judicial behavior, focusing particularly on Supreme Court decisions that critics charge are reflections of the Justices’ political preferences rather than enforcement of the Constitution. The author takes a balanced look at these controversial decisions through a compelling new lens of constitutional interpretation. He clarifies the task of the Supreme Court in constitutional cases, then sets out a model to describe how the Court creates doctrine to implement the meaning of the Constitution. Finally, Roosevelt uses this model to show which decisions can be justified as legitimate and which cannot.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300126914
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
01/28/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
274
Sales rank:
1,480,353
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.62(d)

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction: Judging the Court     1
Deciding Constitutional Cases
The Plain Meaning of the Constitution: The Fallacy of Direct Enforcement     11
The Model: What Doctrine Is For     22
From Activism to Legitimacy     37
Easy Cases
Equal Protection, Criminal Procedure, Executive Detention     65
Hard Cases
Gay Rights: Romer, Lawrence, and Goodridge     91
Abortion: Roe and Casey     111
Takings: Kelo v. City of New London     133
The Establishment Clause     140
The Death Penalty: Roper and Atkins     151
The First Amendment: Campaign Finance Reform     161
Illegitimacy
Refusing to Defer     169
Reviled Decisions     202
Striking the Balance
Branches Behaving Badly: Whom Do You Trust?     229
Notes     237
Index     247

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