Montesquieu, Blackstone, and the Rise of Judicial Activism
Author: Paul O. Carrese
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
How did the US judiciary become so powerful—powerful enough that state and federal judges once vied to decide a presidential election? What does this prominence mean for the law, constitutionalism, and liberal democracy? In The Cloaking of Power, Paul O. Carrese provides a provocative analysis of the intellectual sources of today’s powerful judiciary, arguing that Montesquieu, in his Spirit of the Laws, first articulated a new conception of the separation of powers and strong but subtle courts. Montesquieu instructed statesmen to “cloak power” by placing judges at the center of politics, while concealing them behind juries and subtle reforms. Tracing this conception through Blackstone, Hamilton, and Tocqueville, Carrese shows how it led to the prominence of judges, courts, and lawyers in America today. But he places the blame for contemporary judicial activism squarely at the feet of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and his jurisprudential revolution, which he believes to be the source of the now-prevalent view that judging is merely political. To address this crisis, Carrese argues for a rediscovery of an independent judiciary—one that blends prudence and natural law with common law and that observes the moderate jurisprudence of Montesquieu and Blackstone, balancing abstract principles with realistic views of human nature and institutions. He also advocates for a return to the complex constitutionalism of the American founders and Tocqueville and for judges who understand their responsibility to elevate citizens above individualism, instructing them in law and right.
This is a study of the political and moral thought of the Enlightenment, focusing on four key eighteenth-century thinkers: David Hume, Adam Smith, Montesquieu, and Voltaire. Dennis C. Rasmussen argues that these thinkers exemplify a particularly attractive type of liberalism, one that is more realistic, moderate, flexible, and contextually sensitive than most other branches of this tradition.
Barber shows that New Right theorists, such as Bork, and establishment liberals, such as Ronald Dworkin, are moral relativists who cannot escape conclusions ("might makes right," for example) that could destroy constitutionalism in America. The best hope for American freedoms, Barber argues, is to revive classical constitutionalism - and he explains how new movements in philosophy today allow the Court's friends to do just that. Written in a lively and engaging style.
Murray P. Dry and the Nexus of Liberal Education and Politics
Author: Giorgi Areshidze
Publisher: SUNY Press
Category: Political Science
Leading scholars and legal practitioners explore constitutional, legal, and philosophical topics. In Constitutionalism, Executive Power, and the Spirit of Moderation, contributors ranging from scholars to practitioners in the federal executive and judicial branches blend philosophical and political modes of analysis to examine a variety of constitutional, legal, and philosophical topics. Part 1, “The Role of Courts in Constitutional Democracy,” analyzes the proper functions and limits of the judiciary and judicial decision making in constitutional government. Part 2, “Law and Executive Authority,” reflects on the tensions between constitutionalism and presidential leadership in both domestic and international arenas. Part 3, “Liberal Education, Constitutionalism, and Philosophic Moderation,” shifts the focus to the relationship between constitutionalism and political philosophy, and especially to the modern modes of philosophy that most directly influenced the American Founders. A valuable resource for specialists, the book also will be of use in political science and law school classes.
Originalism, Constitutional Interpretation, and Judicial Power
Author: Christopher Wolfe
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
This text challenges popular opinions held by many legal scholars by presenting a defence of originalist interpretations of the US Constitution. The author's controversial conclusions expand the debate over the understanding of original intention.
This text studies the inextricable links between law, society, and politics through an in-depth examination of the institutions for law-making in the United States, focusing on the function, structure, and participants in the process. The institutions-oriented approach focuses on contemporary coverage of the interrelationship between law and society, and includes discussion of controversial topics, such as the influence of race, class, gender, and corporate governance on the law. Law, Politics, and Society also looks at the theoretical and philosophical foundations of American law and provides comparative and international perspectives. Diversity is embedded into each chapter within the readings—drawn from a broad range of interdisciplinary sources such as sociology, history, and medicine—as well as in activities, which encourage discussion about law and race, national origin, gender, and class. In addition, excellent coverage of how the law has changed since September 11, 2001 helps students understand these complex relationships in a tangible way. Popular Culture features use a series of photographs to help students understand how law both informs and is informed by popular culture. Law in Action features apply the concepts of each chapter to an actual law in order to illustrate the central point and to help students better understand theoretical concepts.
Today, we think of constitutional questions as being settled by the Supreme Court.But that is not always the case, nor is it what the framers intended in constructing the three-branch federal government. This volume examines four crucial moments in the United States' political history -- the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Progressive Era, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's presidency and the New Deal, and the Reagan revolution -- to illustrate the Madisonian view that the present rise of judicial supremacy actually runs counter to the Constitution as established at the nation's founding. George Thomas opens by discussing how the Constitution encourages an antagonistic approach to settling disputes, thereby preserving itself as the nation's fundamental law rather then ceding that role to the president, Congress, or Supreme Court. In considering the four historical case studies, he focuses on judicial interpretations and the political branches' responses to them to demonstrate that competing conceptions of constitutional authority and meaning, as well as intergovernmental disputes themselves -- rather than any specific outcome -- strengthen the nature of the nation's founding document as a political instrument. Engagingly written and soundly argued, this study clarifies and highlights the political origins of the nation's foundational document and argues that American constitutionalism is primarily about countervailing power not legal limits enforced by courts. -- Michael P. Zuckert