The Least Dangerous Branch

The Supreme Court at the Bar of Politics

The Least Dangerous Branch

This classic book on the role of the Supreme Court in our democracy traces the history of the Court, assessing the merits of various decisions along the way. Eminent law professor Alexander Bickel begins with Marbury vs. Madison, which he says gives shaky support to judicial review, and concludes with the school desegregation cases of 1954, which he uses to show the extent and limits of the Court’s power. In this way he accomplishes his stated purpose: “to have the Supreme Court’s exercise of judicial review better understood and supported and more sagaciously used.” The book now includes new foreword by Henry Wellington.Reviews of the Earlier Edition:“Dozens of books have examined and debated the court’s role in the American system. Yet there remains great need for the scholarship and perception, the sound sense and clear view Alexander Bickel brings to the discussion.... Students of the court will find much independent and original thinking supported by wide knowledge. Many judges could read the book with profit.” -Donovan Richardson, Christian Science Monitor“The Yale professor is a law teacher who is not afraid to declare his own strong views of legal wrongs... One of the rewards of this book is that Professor Bickel skillfully knits in "ations from a host of authorities and, since these are carefully documented, the reader may look them up in their settings. Among the author’s favorites is the late Thomas Reed Powell of Harvard, whose wit flashes on a good many pages.” -Irving Dillard, Saturday ReviewAlexander M. Bickel was professor of law at Yale University.

The Least Dangerous Branch?

Consequences of Judicial Activism

The Least Dangerous Branch?

Is the American judiciary still the "least dangerous branch," as Alexander Hamilton and legal scholar Alexander Bickel characterized it? Powers and Rothman explore the impact of the federal courts, providing a brief account of the development of constitutional law and an overview of the judiciary's impact in six controversial areas of public policy.

The Role Of The Supreme Court In American Politics

The Least Dangerous Branch?

The Role Of The Supreme Court In American Politics

When the Supreme Court's effectively decided the presidential election of 2000, it decision illustrated a classic question in American politics: what is the appropriate role for the Supreme Court? The dilemma is between judicial activism, the Court's willingness to make significant changes in public policy, and judicial restraint, the Court's willingness to confine the use and extent of its power. While the Framers of the Constitution felt that the judiciary would be the "least dangerous branch" of government, many have come to the conclusion that courts govern America, a notion at odds with democratic government.Richard Pacelle traces the historical ebb and flow of the Court's role in the critical issues of American politics: slavery, free speech, religion, abortion, and affirmative action. Pacelle examines the arguments for judicial restraint, including that unelected judges making policy runs against democratic principles, and the arguments for judicial activism, including the important role the court has played as a protector of minority rights. Pacelle suggests that there needs to be a balance between judicial activism and restraint in light of the constraints on the institution and its power. Stimulating and sure to generate discussion, The Supreme Court in American Politics is a concise supplemental text for American Government and Judicial Politics course.

Judiciary and American Democracy, The

Alexander Bickel, the Countermajoritarian Difficulty, and Contemporary Constitutional Theory

Judiciary and American Democracy, The

Examines recent debates in constitutional theory in light of the work of Alexander Bickel.

Judicial Activism

Bulwark of Freedom Or Precarious Security?

Judicial Activism

In this revised and updated edition of a classic text, one of America's leading constitutional theorists presents a brief but well-balanced history of judicial review and summarizes the arguments both for and against judicial activism within the context of American democracy. Christopher Wolfe demonstrates how modern courts have used their power to create new "rights" with fateful political consequences and he challenges popular opinions held by many contemporary legal scholars. This is important reading for anyone interested in the role of the judiciary within American politics. Praise for the first edition of Judicial Activism: "This is a splendid contribution to the literature, integrating for the first time between two covers an extensive debate, honestly and dispassionately presented, on the role of courts in American policy. --Stanley C. Brubaker, Colgate University

The Myth of the Imperial Judiciary

Why the Right is Wrong about the Courts

The Myth of the Imperial Judiciary

Few institutions have become as ferociously fought over in democratic politics as the courts. While political criticism of judges in this country goes back to its inception, today’s intensely ideological assault is nearly unprecedented. Spend any amount of time among the writings of contemporary right-wing critics of judicial power, and you are virtually assured of seeing repeated complaints about the “imperial judiciary.” American conservatives contend not only that judicial power has expanded dangerously in recent decades, but that liberal judges now willfully write their policy preferences into law. They raise alarms that American courts possess a degree of power incompatible with the functioning of a democratic polity. The Myth of the Imperial Judiciary explores the anti-judicial ideological trend of the American right, refuting these claims and taking a realistic look at the role of courts in our democracy to show that conservatives have a highly unrealistic conception of their power. Kozlowski first assesses the validity of the conservative view of the Founders’ intent, arguing that courts have played an assertive role in our politics since their establishment. He then considers contemporary judicial powers to show that conservatives have greatly overstated the extent to which the expansion of rights which has occurred has worked solely to the benefit of liberals. Kozlowski reveals the ways in which the claims of those on the right are often either unsupported or simply wrong. He concludes that American courts, far from imperiling our democracy or our moral fabric, stand as a bulwark against the abuse of legislative power, acting forcefully, as they have always done, to give meaning to constitutional promises.