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1. Broken Government: How Republican
2. Students Guide to the US Supreme
3. Democracy vs. Theocracy: The President
4. "Guide to the US Supreme Court,
5. US Army, Technical Manual, TM
6. Judicial Branch: Shmoop Civics
7. The Criminal Just Us System
8. United States Government Manual:
9. The Least Dangerous Branch?: Consequences
10. In Defense of Judicial Elections
11. Profiling the Islamic Civilization:
12. Judicial Tyranny: The New Kings
13. The Role of the Supreme Court
14. The Most Democratic Branch: How
15. The Judicial Construction of Europe
16. The American Judicial Tradition:
17. Friends of the Supreme Court:
18. That Eminent Tribunal: Judicial
19. Advice and Consent: The Politics
20. Packing the Court: The Rise of

1. Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches
by John W. Dean
Kindle Edition: 352 Pages (2007-09-11)
list price: US$16.00
Asin: B000UZNSP4
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The concluding volume of The New York Times bestselling trilogy

One of today-s most outspoken and respected political commentators asks: How can our democracy function when the key institutions of government no longer operate as intended by the Constitution? Stepping back to assess three decades of nearly continuous Republican rule, John W. Dean surveys the damage done to the three branches of government and traces their decline through the presidencies of Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I , and Bush II. Speaking to what the average moderate citizen can do to combat extremism, authoritarianism, incompetence, and the Republicans- deliberate focus on polarizing social issues, Broken Government is a must-have book for voters this election year.Amazon.com Review
The former White House counsel faults Republican mismanagement for the current state of the government

John Dean has become one of the most trenchant and respected commentators on the current state of American politics and one of the most outspoken and perceptive critics of the administration of George W. Bush in his New York Times bestsellers Conservatives Without Conscience and Worse than Watergate.

In his eighth book, Dean takes the broadest and deepest view yet of the dysfunctional chaos and institutional damage that the Republican Party and its core conservatives have inflicted on the federal government. He assesses the state of all three branches of government, tracing their decline through the presidencies of Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. Unlike most political commentary, which is concerned with policy, Dean looks instead at process--making the case that the 2008 presidential race must confront these fundamental problems as well. Finally, he addresses the question that he is so often asked at his speaking engagements: What, if anything, can and should politically moderate citizens do to combat the extremism, authoritarianism, incompetence, and increasing focus on divisive wedge issues of so many of today's conservative politicians?

With the Democrats now in control of both the House and Senate, the stakes for the 2008 presidential election have never been higher. This is a book for anyone who wants to return government to the spirit of the Constitution.

Questions for John Dean

Amazon.com: Broken Government is a book unabashedly about governmental "process," which, I'm sure your publisher told you, is not considered the sexiest of topics. But you make the case that voters are actually often more concerned with process than with policy. Could you explain?

Dean: Actually, my wife was the first to tell me that "process" is not sexy. In fact, if you think about it, process can be quite sexy. Allow me to translate into a different context. Dating, seduction, and courtship are all types of processes, while the object of one's efforts is a policy decision. The kind of car you drive is a policy decision, but the way you drive it is a process matter. To take the leap to government--the machinery of government is the process, while what we do with that machinery is policy. Most Washington insiders are more interested in process than they are policy because it is truly the name of the game. In making the case that many voters are actually more concerned with government process than policy, something I have intuitively known for a long time, I relied on empirical research which was uncovered by a team of political scientists at the University of Nebraska. In addition, early responses to the book have confirmed that voters are deeply interested in these operations, when they have discovered what the book is about.

Amazon.com: You assess the state of each of the three branches of government and conclude that Congress, after the Democrats took over from your former party, the Republicans, at the beginning of this year, is "broken but under repair." Congress's approval ratings have remained even lower than the president's. Do you think they are fixing their broken institution?

Dean: Congress has traditionally had the lowest approval ratings of all the branches. In the book I explain why this is the case, along with the irony that most voters give their own representatives and senators high approval ratings, claiming it is merely the rest of them they don't approve of. After explaining the repairs that the Democrats have instituted since regaining control of the legislative branch, I explain that it is a Republican tactic to do all within their power to not allow the Democrats to get public credit for making Congress work again. Indeed, Republicans won control of Congress in the 1994 election after years of doing all they could to literally destroy Congress--it was really quite remarkable how they attacked the institution that they were part of, but it worked. Voters concluded that Democrats could not run Congress. After the GOP took control in 1995, they ran Congress not as a deliberative body but in a dictatorial manner that literally excluded Democrats, which meant over half the nation was not represented in Congress. Not surprisingly, by 2006 the efforts of the GOP to make their Congressional majority permanent through blatantly corrupt means and methods had backfired, and enough voters realized what was happening to take away control.

Now the GOP is back to trying their best to make the Congress not function, so that voters will put them back in control. The reason approval ratings are sinking is the GOP is succeeding--and the Democrats inexplicably refuse to talk about what the GOP is again doing to the process, and the media is not reminding voters. If Democrats continue to ignore process issues, if they refuse to make them an issue in 2008, not only will they lose but so will democracy as we know it.

Amazon.com: The battles between the White House and the Democratic Congress over the release of documents to congressional oversight committees raise all kinds of echoes from the Nixon era. How strange is it to see your old assistant in the Nixon White House counsel's office, Fred Fielding, return to the White House as point man in fighting some very similar skirmishes with Congress over executive privilege?

Dean: I cannot imagine why Fielding, whom I brought into the government in 1971, returned to the Bush/Cheney White House as counsel. I suspect his friend Dick Cheney leaned hard on him, for they needed help. Fielding has credibility on Capitol Hill, and while they may not like his stonewalling them, they know he is doing his boss's bidding and they understand that he is no doubt trying to get his boss to do the right thing. Fielding has never worked on the Hill, and his entire worldview of government is from the White House. When all is said and done, I think Fred will be viewed not as his own man, but just another who drank the Kool-Aid. I also know Pat Leahy and John Conyers, who chair the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, who are even more seasoned at the Washington game than Fielding. So it is going to be an interesting battle in the days ahead.

Amazon.com: What's particularly striking is that the White House appears to be winning those battles, or at least stalemating them successfully. What do you think this administration learned from Watergate? Why do you think they have been able to hold the line against congressional oversight?

Dean: No question that this administration learned from Watergate, and the landscape has changed significantly in the past three decades. When I returned to writing I never contemplated I would be writing political commentary, but when others were not talking about what was so obvious to me, I felt I had to do so. Republicans have taken Nixon's disgraced tactics and approach to presidential power as their starting point. They have learned that if caught, deny it. If that doesn't work, ignore the fact you have been caught and just keep doing it, and claim you have the inherent power to do so. They can get away with it because right-wing talk radio and Fox Cable News have become the cheering section that did not exist during Watergate. As for oversight, during the first six years of the Bush/Cheney administration, the GOP-controlled Congress could not even spell the word "oversight." Only now are we approaching real tests of whether the Democratic Congress will go the distance to get the information they are entitled to have.

Amazon.com: You describe yourself as a "Goldwater conservative on many issues," but note that conservatives' "fundamentally antigovernmental attitude" can make it hard for them to govern effectively. In other words, if people hate government, why would they be good at it? What do you think are the models of good conservative governance?

Dean: Senator Goldwater said during the 1964 presidential campaign--and I have found him saying the same thing years later in speeches--that when history looked back on his political philosophy that he would be called a liberal.Goldwater conservatism is actually drawn from classic liberalism. I particularly admire Senator Goldwater's positions on "process" issues, the way he rejected the incivility and intellectual dishonesty that has overpowered conservatism. While he did not like big government--in fact, nobody does and he was merely ahead of his time in raising the issue--he believed that which was essential must function in the best interest of all Americans, not merely Republicans. He never embraced the Reagan mantra that government is the problem not the solution. I always thought Senator Goldwater's definition of conservatism a good motto for good conservative governance: "a conservative draws on the wisdom and best of the past to apply it to the present and the future." Today, conservatives are drawing on the worst of the past, not because they are true conservatives; rather they are radicals more interested in power for themselves and other Republicans instead of serving the general public interest.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (41)

5-0 out of 5 stars Liberal Rant?Hardly...but for some, the truth about the GOP hurts...
Some right wingnuts will call this a liberal rant.Let's not forget that Dean was White House council for GOP President Nixon -- and knows the GOP and all its faults like the Thomas Bros know their maps.

This is extremely well-written, and it takes an insider to be able to expose a lot of these truths.

Republicans will shriek, screech and get poopy-pants if they have the courage to read something this honest about their party and platform.And then, they'll cloak themselves in dark denial.

They have only themselves to blame for the catastrophic condition this country is in now.They'll try to point the finger of blame at Obama, now, for trying to clean up the mess left behind by Dumbya, the worst president in American history.But, the only fault I can give Obama is, well, insanity -- the insanity of choosing to follow right after 8 years of Dumbya, overlapped by a decade of a fully GOP-controlled Congress, which brought us to this economic disaster.Obama will be judged almost entirely by his ability to clean up a huge calamity created by GOP mismanagement and fear-based politics.

The GOP knows no shame, and will never own the facts that Dean uncovers in his very comprehensive book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Infuriating and frustrating - but not author's fault
Dean provides ample evidence of how our government has, indeed, been broken. I knew some of the stuff he wrote about already, but there were plenty of other situations he discussed that I had had no idea about.Just confirmed to me that things are even worse than I had already thought. But none of this Dean's fault - he's just reporting, and in a very well-written manner. I appreciate his collecting all the data to present in a cohesive context. Now I just wish more citizens would read this book, realize what's been happening and continues to happen, and take steps to turn things around before it's too late.

5-0 out of 5 stars Broken Government - Of Course We Knew It
It's not complicated.Thinking Americans knew the Bush administration in compliance with Senate and House Republicans were intent on breaking down our government of the people into government for the selected few - and they made significant strides in that direction.Dean documents this process in a readable, yet precise and unchallengable fashion - with the truth!

5-0 out of 5 stars John Dean's Got it right!
The title of Mr. Dean's work speaks for itself. It is an indepth look at the three Branches of our Government and how Republican extremists have undermined the Legislative, Judical and Executive branches. Mr. Dean writes with knowledge and gives examples of the how's and why's particular members of the Republican Party, who have a authoritarian viewpoint, have smashed all three branches to create something not akin to the workings of the Constitution.

The book is easy to follow and builds with each branch of the government the ways members of the extreme right of the Republican Party have set out to destroy bi-partisan efforts to listen to the voice of the people of this country. Mr.Dean's last chapter recommends to his readers ways to avoid the disruption of our way of life by the Rightwing of the Republican party. I highly recommend Mr. Dean's work and the other two books he has written regarding the disintergation of middle road Republicans from the time of Senator Barry Goldwater.

5-0 out of 5 stars John Dean is right
John Dean is correct that many people who were confirmed as judges lied to be confirmed. Check out the confirmation speeches that John Roberts gave and the ruling that opened Pandora's box with allowing corporations to give as much money as they wish to corporate puppets in Congress. ... Read more

2. Students Guide to the US Supreme Court (Student's Guides to the U. S. Government)
Hardcover: 384 Pages (2010-05-03)
list price: US$95.00 -- used & new: US$76.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 087289553X
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3. Democracy vs. Theocracy: The President and The SenateWill Decide YOUR FUTURE
by JoAnn M. Macdonald
Paperback: 118 Pages (2008-10-24)
list price: US$12.99 -- used & new: US$12.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1439210780
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Concise and unerring, Democracy vs. Theocracy: the President and the Senate Will Decide YOUR FUTURE by JoAnn M. Macdonald is an important work of non-fiction that illustrates the issues rearing their ugly heads in the American political climate regarding the separation between church and state. On a slippery slope, the contentious and uneven keeled landscape of democracy is heading further and further toward theocracy. So much so that the November election will prove paramount in securing a severance and disjointing effect of current trends by securing Supreme Court justices who believe to their core the founding fathers’ missives. By citing credible sources, in twelve meticulously researched, scripted and fully annotated essays, the author confirms the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court enabling the Christian Religious Right to move America toward a theocracy. The breach between religion and politics must not disappear. The future of democracy is here—build it now. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Timely Book

Through the lucid testimony of footnoted facts and recent events, Ms. Macdonald makes the case that our nation's governance has been and continues to be in danger of being hijacked by the one-sided, myopic agenda of powerful, theologically-based groups.This book is a call to thoughtful action, akin to Paine's "Common Sense," but modulated to the needs and challenges facing twenty-first century America.

5-0 out of 5 stars Important book for now and forward
Democracy vs. Theocracy is an important book to read as a new administration and a newly constituted Congress have a rare and golden opportunity to reverse some of the abrogations of constitutional rights that have occurred during the Bush years.MacDonald has documented the decline in church-state separation over time, warns of where the slippery slope may lead, and raises a call to action.Her book is chock-a-block full of facts we should all know, and her musings and examples bring the facts into clear and chilling focus. This book should be in everylibrary in the land, and on every reading list in every school in the land.The importance of its message cannot be overestimated.

5-0 out of 5 stars Informative Book
A short and to the point book which informs us of details on how our government works and how some powerful forces are at work in the country which can endanger us all if we do not pay attention. ... Read more

4. "Guide to the US Supreme Court, 2-Volume Set" (Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the Us Supreme Court)
by David G" "Savage
Hardcover: 1449 Pages (2010-06-23)
list price: US$410.00 -- used & new: US$338.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0872894231
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Product Description
No other reference on the US Supreme Court offers so much detail and insight in so readable a format. Now revised and updated through 2003, this classic reference explains everything readers need to know about the Supreme Court, from its origins and how it functions, to the people who have shaped it and the impact of its decisions on American life. The new fourth edition includes recent events, cases and controversies that have molded a distinct legacy for the Rehnquist Court: from the firestorm over Bush v. Gore, the landmark gay-rights decision in Lawrence v. Texas, and the recent University of Michigan affirmative action decisions, to the rejuvenation of states rights, the Rehnquist Court has rewritten Supreme Court history. Guide to the US Supreme Court covers the Court's entire history; its operations; its power in relation to other branches of government; major decisions affecting the other branches, the states, individual rights and liberties; and biographies of the justices. Appendixes provide additional information on the Court such as the Judiciary Acts of 1789 and 1925 and a list of Acts of Congress found by the Court to be unconstitutional. A general name and subject in ... Read more

5. US Army, Technical Manual, TM 5-6675-307-14, THEODOLITE, SURVEYING: DIRECTIONAL, 1-MINUT GRADUATION W/COMPASS AND EXTENSION LEG TRIPOD, (KEUFFEL AND ESSE ... manuals on dvd, military manuals on cd
by U.S. Dept of Defense, U.S. Air Force, www.survivalebooks.com U.S. Army
 Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-08-10)
list price: US$3.00
Asin: B003Z9JRHK
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US Army, Technical Manual, TM 5-6675-307-14, THEODOLITE, SURVEYING: DIRECTIONAL, 1-MINUT GRADUATION W/COMPASS AND EXTENSION LEG TRIPOD, (KEUFFEL AND ESSE MODEL KE/G6-730075), (NSN 6675-00-353-4488), military manauals, special forces, military manuals on dvd, military manuals on cd
... Read more

6. Judicial Branch: Shmoop Civics Guide
by Shmoop
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-01-07)
list price: US$1.95
Asin: B00339H32S
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Dive deep into the Judicial Branch anywhere you go: on a plane, on a mountain, in a canoe, under a tree.Or grab a flashlight and read Shmoop under the covers.Shmoop's award-winning US Civics guides are now available on your eReader. Shmoop eBooks are like having a trusted, fun, chatty, expert always by your side, no matter where you are (or how late it is at night). Shmoop Civics offers fresh and balanced perspectives on the politics, law, history, and cultural factors that shape the US government and frame the most heated debates of our time. This guide includes key facts and concepts, historical background, jaw-dropping trivia and anecdotes, memorable quotes, and a timeline of formative events. Best of all, Shmoop's analysis aims to look at Civics from multiple points of view to give you the fullest understanding.After all, "there is no history, only histories" (Karl Popper). Experts and educators from top universities, including Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Harvard, have written guides designed to engage you and to get your brain bubbling. Shmoop is here to make you a better lover (of literature, history, life...) and to help you make connections to other historical moments, current events, and pop culture. These learning guides will help you better understand how the forces that shape the issues that you are passionate about. For more information, check out http://www.shmoop.com/civics/ ... Read more

7. The Criminal Just Us System
by Rev. Harold E. Bailey
 Hardcover: 220 Pages (2007-01-30)
list price: US$25.95
Isbn: 1419659901
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Product Description
As an employee/appointee on the inside of the Criminal Justice System in various offices, it is often whispered: 'We are all in this thing together'...and as I am not connected withany effort to demean Black, Hispanic or White persons, I however hasten to tell the real history - rather than his/story. ... Read more

8. United States Government Manual: America's Official Government Handbook - Agencies of the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Branches
by U.S. Government
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-09-29)
list price: US$5.99
Asin: B00457XKTW
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This ebook provides an excerpted reproduction of the U.S. Government Manual for 2009-2010. As the official handbook of the Federal Government, The United States Government Manual provides comprehensive information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. A typical agency description includes a summary statement of the agency's purpose and role in the Federal Government, a brief history of the agency, including its legislative or executive authority, a description of its programs and activities, and a Sources of Information section. This last section provides information on consumer activities, contracts and grants, employment, publications, and many other areas of public interest.

This is a privately authored news service and educational publication of Progressive Management. Our publications synthesize official government information with original material - they are not produced by the federal government. They are designed to provide a convenient user-friendly reference work to uniformly present authoritative knowledge that can be rapidly read, reviewed or searched. Vast archives of important data that might otherwise remain inaccessible are available for instant review no matter where you are. This e-book format makes a great reference work and educational tool. There is no other reference book that is as convenient, comprehensive, thoroughly researched, and portable - everything you need to know, from renowned experts you trust. For over a quarter of a century, our news, educational, technical, scientific, and medical publications have made unique and valuable references accessible to all people. Our e-books put knowledge at your fingertips, and an expert in your pocket! ... Read more

9. The Least Dangerous Branch?: Consequences of Judicial Activism
by Stephen P. Powers, Stanley Rothman
Kindle Edition: 232 Pages (2002-11-30)
list price: US$33.95
Asin: B000QCS47S
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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. ... Read more

10. In Defense of Judicial Elections
by Melinda Gann Hall
Kindle Edition: 184 Pages (2009-06-01)
list price: US$30.95
Asin: B002BU24Y2
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Product Description
Ought judges be independent of democratic pressures, or should they be subjected to the preferences and approval of the electorate? In this book, Bonneau and Hall use empirical data to shed light on these normative questions and offer a coherent defense of judicial elections. ... Read more

11. Profiling the Islamic Civilization: A History of the Legislative, Judicial, & Executive Branches
by Abd al-Wahhab Khallaf
Kindle Edition: Pages (2001-09-30)
list price: US$9.95
Asin: B0013GCIYG
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A very close translation of the original presentations by Professor `Abd al-Wahhab Khallaf, a renowned scholar on Islamic law and Islamic institutions that is highly useful to students of Islamic studies, scholars of the Middle East, and the general public. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Egyptian Authors and Reform
This translation is very informative.Like many other books written by Egyptian authors, Kallaf's take on Islamic legal theory is very reformist in nature.However, the principles described by the author as being essential elements of Islamic lega theory remain "theoritical".

The book is actually a translation of speeches made by the late professor of Islamic law. Being such, it is very ingaging and lively.The english translation did not change that aspect of the work, therefore the reader will feel compelled to finish the work once he or she starts it, and that is not a big task: the book is less than 130 pages that can be read in one sitting!

Familiarity with Arabic terms might help but it is not necessary to follow through.

Great read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Very technical, but very informative
The translated lectures are very informative.It is a great read for those interested in Islamic law, islamic government, and islamic civilization in general. The chosen title is well suited for the content.

The only criticism i have for this work is the use of the Arabic technical word, it could be a stopper for the flow of reading, but i must admit that once I finished the book, those words were already part of my vocabulary.

The content reflects a traditional yet learnt presentation of how Muslims see the evolution of their legal and governmental systems throughout history, with some mild criticism to those traditionalists who oppose any innovation.I recommend it for any serious reader intersted in Islam in general. ... Read more

12. Judicial Tyranny: The New Kings of America?
by Mark I. Sutherland, Ben DuPre, Roy S. Moore, James C. Dobson, Alan Keyes, William J. Federer, Herb Titus, Edwin Meese, Rick Scarborough, Phyllis Schlafly
Kindle Edition: Pages (2007-03-17)
list price: US$4.99
Asin: B003DXAX2G
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This revised book by Mark I. Sutherland provides a ground-up education of the ongoing tyranny of judges in our nation. "Judicial Tyranny: The New Kings Of America", which is a cooperative effort by those who are daily involved in this issue, is designed to provide regular Americans with the simple truth about our limited system of government and how those limits are being violated, to the detriment of us all, and what can be done to restore our liberties, our rights and our freedoms.

Featured in this ground breaking book is the insight of Mark I. Sutherland, Dr. James Dobson, Chief Justice Roy Moore, US Attorney General Ed Meese, Ambassador Alan Keyes, Dave Meyer, Phyllis Schlafly, the Honorable Howard Phillips, Alan Sears, William Federer, Ben DuPre, Rev. Rick Scarborough, David Gibbs, Mathew Staver, Don Feder and Herb Titus. This book covers everything from problem judges, to international law, to congressional solutions, to the misunderstood concept of the 'rule of law' and is written for the everyday citizen. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the better books on the progress of the culture war in the courts
This is a collection of essays and quotes rather than a real cover-to-cover book. But the editor has chosen his contributors well. The are key players on the conservative side of the culture war in the U.S.I found it to contain very useful information that explains what is happening with "activist judges" and the Federal courts.

5-0 out of 5 stars Judicial Tyranny
This is an excellent book, with lots of important information about our three branches of government and how it was originally set up to operate. Lots of great info with which to arm ourselves to urge congress to recall some of the radical judges.

5-0 out of 5 stars A compelling exposition of judicial tyranny and viable solutions to reign in on it
In his book Judicial Tyranny: The New Kings of America, Mark Sutherland has assembled a wonderful cast of Christian attorneys, jurists, political scientists, and clergy who offer a rather perceptive analysis of judicial tyranny and our hope and means of restraining an overactive judiciary. Contributors include James Dobson, former U.S. Attorney General Edward Meese, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, Don Feder, David Gibbs, Howard Phillips, Rev. Rick Scarborough, Phyllis Schlafly, and Herbert Titus among others. For too long, Congress has been complacent in the face of an overreaching, activist judiciary that has been out-of-step with the will of the great majority of the American people, and the judiciary has overstepped the bounds of its constitutional authority time and time again. Herein, the issue of an activist U.S. Supreme Court and federal judiciary is confronted with painstaking precision in manner intelligible to even the lay person. Meanwhile, solutions to overcome the tyranny of these black-robed deities are presented with amazing clarity. As Edmund Burke once declared, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Complacency and ignorance will only allow the judicial oligarchy to become more entrenched and continue to foist its will upon us that is so frequently out-of-touch with thesensibilities of the American people.

The framers of our Constitution hoped to establish an independent federal judiciary; however they by no means hoped to establish some new and peculiar government that might be termed an archonocracy-a national domination of judges. As John Randolph of Roanoke, in observing the activism and usurpation of power by the federal judiciary in his time quipped that "I can never forget that the Book of Judges is followed by the Book of Kings." Thomas Jefferson opined, "...to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy." Alexander Hamilton considered the judiciary to be the "least dangerous branch" of the federal government because it had neither the sword of the Presidency nor did it control the purse-strings like the legislative branch. In our time, the appellation of "least dangerous branch" to describe the federal judiciary seems rather far-fetched in light of twentieth-century history. While Hamilton made some compelling arguments about the virtues of an independent judiciary, he did not perceive the judicial tyranny that looms over us today.On the hand, Thomas Jefferson and George Mason were very weary of an overactive judiciary and they offered prophetic insight that has bore bitter fruit.George Mason warned that if unchecked the federal judiciary would destroy the state judiciaries, and encroach upon their jurisdictions. In his twilight years, Jefferson remarked that the "federal judiciary" was an object of "fear" declaring, "That body, like gravity, ever acting with noiseless foot and unalarming advance, gaining ground step by step and holding what it gains, is engulfing insidiously the special governments into the jaws of that which feeds them." As John Taylor of Caroline opined, "A jurisdiction, limited by its own will, is an unlimited jurisdiction."The States coupled with the horizontal checks and balances within the federal government itself were intended as a bulwark against usurpation by any branch.As Madison has declared, "ambition must be made to counter ambition." Yet Congress remains complacent in moving against an overactive judiciary by any "ambition" of it's own and the States have been rendered impotent. The Executive branch generally refuses to interpose against encroachments against the Constitution by the judiciary, though it is sometimes committing its own usurpations. Alexander Hamilton reminds us that, "It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments."Andrew Jackson encapsulated the power of the executive to interpose, in declaring, "The Supreme Court has made it's decision, now let them enforce it."Jackson, of course, had no intent of give their judgment efficacy.Interposition, of course, should be utilized to uphold the rule of law.

Some of the most powerful changes in civil society came not from the Congress but from an overactive judiciary. Justice Scalia in one of his famous dissents lamented that the Supreme Court had assumed the role of "a sort of junior-varsity Congress" in contravention of the constitutional design of the framers. While Hamilton's assertion that the judiciary is the "least dangerous branch" have proven erroneous in our time, in Federalist #78 Hamilton declared, "The courts must declare the sense of the law; and if they should be disposed to exercise WILL instead of JUDGMENT, the consequence would equally be the substitution of their pleasure to that of the legislative body." Since FDR's court-stacking in the mid-1930s and the activist push of the Warren Court in the 1950s, American conservatives have grown steadily more concerned about a judiciary gone awry. The U.S. Supreme Court in our time has sanctioned the removal of the Ten Commandments and prayer from public places, diminished local community standards of obscenity, trampled upon the sanctity of life in legalizing abortion throughout all fifty states with Roe v. Wade in 1973, and mor recently the court has trampled property rights by sanctioning eminent domain abuse for private politically-connected interests in violation of the Fifth Amendment. Judicial fiat now trumps the rule of law, and we have supplanted the law with the rule of men. The agenda of social liberalism is foisted on society most successfully by an overactive federal judiciary. With the most absurd and twisted reasoning, the Supreme Court made a steady, unforeseen move towards the legalization of abortion, such as the case of Grizwold v. Connecticut the court discovered an unenumerated right of privacy in the "penumbras, formed by the emanations," of the Bill of Rights. Ancillary to that right of privacy was a concomitant right to infanticide. Justice Goldberg boldly state that such unenumerated rights were "rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people," to give a locus of legitimacy to the court's arbitrary whelm.

George Mason, Thomas Jefferson and John Taylor of Caroline feared that the federal judiciary would devour the jurisdiction of the states, and become activist. Nonetheless, Congress has the constitutional means to counter an overactive judiciary by impeachment and by circumscribing the jurisdiction of the federal courts including the U.S. Supreme Court. Hamilton reminds us that it has been long-standing Anglo-American tradition that judges only hold their tenure in "good behavior" and this was a barrier to the "encroachments and oppressions of the representative body. And it is the best expedient which can be devised in any government to secure a steady, upright, and impartial administration of the laws." Yet Impeachment is hardly even considered to reign in on judicial tyranny. Phyliss Schlafly perceptively notes, "The Founding Fathers did not write a Constitution that set up a judicial oligarchy. They gave us a government based on the Separation of Powers. The mighty power of government was divided among three branches of government, and each is supposed to restrain the others by an interlacing network of checks and balances. Nothing in the U.S. Constitution justifies judicial supremacy." Nonetheless, in our time, the design of the federal republic has unraveled, and judicial usurpation has made the assault on the Constitution all the more egregious. Justice Antonin Scalia has sardonically referred to his colleagues as "black-robed masters" who manipulate and distort the Constitution, and abysmally conflate their powers. "Within the last 20 years, we have found... the right to abortion, which was so little rooted in the traditions of the American people that it was criminal for 200 years [and] the right to homosexual sodomy, which was so little rooted in the traditions of the American people that it was criminal for 200 years."

Judge Roy Moore makes it clear that all federal laws are not "the supreme law of the land" or by implication "constitutional law" merely because it was effectuated by a federal court ruling, but only those laws made "in pursuance thereof" to the Constitution as per Article VI. Even sitting Justice Scalia has expressed his disdain at his activist colleagues on the High Court: "So it is literally true... that the court has essentially liberated itself from the text of the Constitution, from the text and even from the traditions of the American people... and the Constitution is not a living organism, for Pete's sake. It's a legal document. And like all legal documents, it says some things and it doesn't say other things." There are even recent precedents that show Congress has willingness to act against the judiciary's mischief, but the hope of conservative Christian evangelicals is that the Congress would do more and abate the judiciary's raw grab for power. In 2004, both House and the Senate passed the Marriage Protection Act, which became public law, which had the effect of circumscribing the jurisdiction of the federal courts and the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court-effectively barring those courts from hearing questions related to marriage. This was seen as a welcomed preemptive move by evangelicals to prevent a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage throughout the United States while usurping the authority of the States and legislatures on the matter. Liberals in a knee-jerk reaction muttered that such legislation was unconstitutional; however, the Constitution vests Congress with the authority of circumscribing the jurisdiction of the federal courts and of abolishing and reconstituting those courts in a manner it sees fit. Mark Sutherland thoughtfully notes, "Congress has the power to limit what areas the judicial branch can rule in. Under authority granted to Congress in Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, Congress can place regulations and exceptions on the judicial branch that would prohibit the courts from ruling on certain issues and in certain areas. These areas could be religious freedom, the definition of marriage, or any other area that Congress chose to declare off-limits to the courts." Moreover, at the impetus of our Republic, the U.S. Supreme Court possessed a much limited jurisdiction. Essentially, it was confined to cases where it exercised original jurisdiction and diversity jurisdiction as per Article III, Section 2, "The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;-to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;-to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;-to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;-to controversies between two or more states;-between a state and citizens of another state;-between citizens of different states;-between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects." Essentially, as per the Constitution, the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary was extremely limited. For example, two citizens of the same state could not be litigants in a federal suit since diversity of citizenship is lacking, and the federal jurisdiction only extends to cases where the plaintiff and defendant parties come from different states. The federal judiciary exercised jurisdiction over disputes between the states. Essentially, there are two main sources of the cases coming before the federal courts: "federal question" jurisdiction, and "diversity" jurisdiction. Earlier in the nineteenth-century, the jurisdiction of cases properly arising within under the authority of the States was considered inviolable and there was no higher court of appeal in cases originating in a state court than the Supreme Court of the respective State. This has, of course, changed as respect for states' rights and the Tenth Amendment has been greatly diminished, but it is within the power of Congress to circumscribe the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary to a manner commensurate with original intent. While the judiciary has usurped the powers of Congress and the States time and time again, it is within Congress' power to reign in on an overactive judiciary while preserving the benefits of an independent judiciary. We must activate Congress and communicate to our lawmakers that the American people are tired and alarmed by a judiciary whose edicts are seldom amenable to the more conservative sobriety of the American people. If Congress does not actively impeach overactive judges that subvert the Constitution, it can greatly curtail federal court jurisdiction.

All things considered, Mark Sutherland has brought together a provocative corps of respected scholars and legal thinkers who collectively offer an incisive critique of a judiciary gone awry while they offer constructive solutions for reform. They make it abundantly clear that we the American people do not have to be slaves to the edicts of these black-robed deities. Their adroit assessment of the federal judiciary is intelligent, rooted in a principled esteem for the rule of law and constitutional popular rule, and their solutions are constitutional defensible, practical and tenable. One thing is resoundingly clear, we must stand up to these demigods in block robes that contravene the design of our federal republic and offer outlandish decisions at odds with the will of the vast majority of the people. It is paramount that the American people awaken and voice their discontent to their elected representatives in Congress if we are to abate judicial tyranny. Mark Sutherland's Judicial Tyranny is destined to be a classic, and unlike similar well-written books by Mark Levin and Pat Robertson, Sutherland's book is unique: it is hard-hitting and much more multi-faceted on the issues it covers. Additionally, it represents a profound cooperative effort by a potentate of conservative luminaries from James Dobson to Roy Moore.

"The courts must declare the sense of the law; and if they should be disposed to exercise WILL instead of JUDGMENT, the consequence would equally be the substitution of their pleasure to that of the legislative body."
-Alexander Hamilton ... Read more

13. The Role of the Supreme Court in American Politics: The Least Dangerous Branch? (Volume 0)
by Richard Pacelle
Kindle Edition: 204 Pages (2000-07-31)
list price: US$34.00
Asin: B0030T12HS
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In The Supreme Court in American Politics, Richard Pacelle attempts to answer the question, "What is the proper role for an non-elected institution within a representative democracy?" He examines how non-elected judges should use their role of judicial review, and whether non-elected judges serve as protectors of the "insular minorities," i.e., those groups that lack access to political power. This book, a new title in the Dilemmas of American Politics series edited by Sandy Maisel, is a concise supplemental text for American Government and Judicial Politics courses. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to judicial activism
I read this book for an intro class at UNC about the Supreme Court.Pacelle has laid out an excellent definition of judicial activism.He clearly delineates judicial activism as overturning legislation, overturning precedent, engaging in broad constitutional interpretation, and rewriting a statute.Pacelle makes a clear case for the Supreme Court as an activist institution. ... Read more

14. The Most Democratic Branch: How the Courts Serve America
by Jeffrey Rosen
Kindle Edition: 256 Pages (2006-05-12)
list price: US$19.95
Asin: B000RKTYLO
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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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. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars The Jurisprudence of Hindsight
What's the job of a judge?When facing a difficult legal question, how should Judges go about in solving them?This is the main question of Jurisprudence.Broadly speaking, there are two schools of answers.

One perspective holds that legal questions have answers within the legal material.Different people of this persuasion believe that the answers are located in different places - in precedent, in the original intent of the legislative, in the public understanding of the law - but they all agree that legal questions have legal answers, which can be discovered by looking at the legal sources.This is known as "Formalism".Formalists may agree that it is difficult to find the legal answers, that it takes skill and that biased judges may read the law in a "wrong" way, but ultimately, an answer exists "out there".

The alternative view is that the most difficult and interesting legal questions do not have a right or wrong answer.The legal texts do not speak clearly about them.They cannot be deduced in an algorithmic fashion from the sources.Judges rule based on their ideology, life experience, temperament, and politics.In the famous words of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (in The Common Law):

"The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience. The felt necessities of the time, the prevalent moral and political theories, intuitions of public policy, avowed or unconscious, even the prejudices which judges share with their fellow-men, have had a good deal more to do than the syllogism in determining the rules by which men should be governed."

If one accepts that legal questions do not have a clear legal answer, that there is no obvious right and wrong, what should the role of the Judge in a democracy be?Especially in constitutional cases, where Judges can overrule the decisions of legislatures, how should the Courts act?

Here we can talk of two separate poles.Judicial Activists hold that the Courts know better than the legislature, either because Judges know better than the people what is good for them (Judges as Platonic Philosopher-Kings), or because Judges know better than the legislature what the people want.On the other extreme, advocates of Judicial restraint hold the Judges know little more than other people, and thus should overrule the legislature and the executive branches only rarely, if ever.

Most of the writings on this subject, by the likes of John Ely (Democracy and Distrust: A Theory of Judicial Review (Harvard Paperbacks)), Justice Stephen Breyer (Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution), and Justice Aharon Barak (The Judge in a Democracy) tries to find some middle ground, to explain when Courts should intervene and when they shouldn't.

Jeffrey Rosen's book in an exception.He thinks simulatnously that Judges do know better than the legislature what the people want, and that they should refrain from overruling the legislature.

Rosen can tell us that "In our new, topsy-turvy world, it was the elected representatives who were thwarting the will of the people, which was being channeled instead by unelected judges" (p.3).This is also, presumably, why Rosen's book is titled "The Most Democratic Branch" - the Courts are better representatives of the people than their elected representatives.

But later, Rosen tells us the exact opposite: "unelected judges often have a tin ear when they try to discern or predict the constitutional views of the country...[they] sometimes mistake the views of their intellectual and social class with those of the country as a whole." (p.14).

So which is it - should Courts try to follow the people or their elected representatives? The answer is, both: "judicial decisions must be... rooted in constitutional principles rather than political expediency" (p.7).This is as an example of those irregular verbs:My decisions are rooted in principles;Yours are based upon mere political expediency.His are corrupt and self-serving.

This was all from the introduction;The rest of the book offers a long discussion of many landmark US Supreme Court decisions since the beginning of the 19th century.I am a law school graduate who finds these topics inherently fascinating, and I found the book to be heavy going.For readers who are not as enthusiastic about the Slaighterhouse cases and the Warren Court, this book may be a real bore.

The book validates the concerns raised by the introduction.It is a long discussion, in which Rosen tries to distinguish cases he likes from cases he dislikes, calling the latter "Unilateralist".To put it uncharitably, Rosen's book is a long exercise in special pleading.

Take three landmark activist cases.In "Dred Scot v. Sanford" (1857), the US Supreme Court held that Congress could not ban slavery in Federal territories, in "Brown vs. Board of Education" (1954), it ordered the desegregation of public schools, and in "Roe v. Wade" (1973) it determined that women had a constitutional right to have an abortion.

Like essentially everyone today, Rosen thinks that Dred Scot was wrongly decided, and that Brown was right.Like most conservatives and many moderate liberals, he thinks Roe was wrong.But can he find a principle to distinguish these cases?

Not easily.It is difficult to find a criteria which applies to Dred Scot and Roe, but not to Brown.Do you think the Court should be activist when supported by the President?If so, Dred Scot was right, Brown arguable, and Roe wrong.Bare majorities supported Brown and Roe, and maybe Dred Scot.Congress was highly opposed to Brown and Roe, but not to Dred Scot.The Court enforced the will of the one section of the US on another, in Dred Scot and Brown, but not Roe.Prominent politicians accused the Court of usurpation in all three cases, etc.

Rosen does say that Brown brought a local minority in line with the majority.But Segregation was legal throughout the South and several border and western states.That's a substantial minority.And in any event, we don't want the Court to willy-nilly coerce national minorities:that's why America is a federal nation.Today, same-sex marriage is legal in only a few states:should the court invalidate same sex marriage for that reason?

Rosen's pro-Restraint views force him into difficult territory when discussing several important cases from the late 19th and early 20th century.In those days, the Courts allowed several popular programs to go forward - it allowed the doctrine of "Separate but Equal" in "Plessy v. Ferguson" (1896), for example.In "Buck v Bell" (1927), arguably the worst US Supreme Court opinion of all times, it upheld a law allowing for the sterilization of the unfit.This ruling led to a 7 fold increase in the number of institutionalized persons sterilized (p. 87).Rosen's "official" stance should be in favor of both rulings, because they followed the popular will and practiced judicial restraint.Yet his views on both are ambivalent or hostile, reflecting the Liberal's unease with endorsing what we would consider today to be utterly immoral rulings.

This is the Jurisprudence of Hindsight, requiring judges to rule in a way that will be appealing decades or centuries later.That is of course not a particularly useful guide for judges.Absent a crystal ball, the most Rosen has to offer is a call for Judicial Restraint.I agree with Rosen that more judicial humility would be a good idea.But there must be exceptions to judicial restraint:The Supreme Court would be an expensive and inefficient rubber stamp.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Proper Role for the Supreme Court
Given all the hoopla about whether the federal courts have exceeded their proper boundaries, including recent threats by House and Senate Republicans to retaliate for the Terri Schiavo decisions, it seems an opportune time to consider what is the appropriate role for the Supreme Court in our democratic pollitical system.Jeffrey Rosen's book should contribute mightily toward that end.Rosen writes as a George Washington University law professor for the law reviews; serves as legal editor of "The New Republic"; and manages to write important articles for general publications, such as his recent article in "The Atlantic" entitled "The Day After Roe."So he is very effective at explaining legal concepts for a general audience, for whom this book is designed.

Rosen's solution to the so-called "counter-majoritarian difficulty" is generally for the Court to avoid making decisions that are not supported by public consensus. This position raises a number of immediate difficulties--two name two: (1) how is the Court qualified to make such determinations?; and (2) what good is the Supreme Court if all it does is go with the majority? Rosen then spends five chapters recounting situations in which the Court did not comply with this mandate (what we used to refer to as "self-inflicted wounds"), such as Dred Scott, Roe and (of course) Bush v. Gore, where the Court paid the price for attempting to lead rather than reflect public opinion.One can, of course, think of cases where the Court did successfully lead, e.g., Miranda, but nonetheless Rosen's position here is a well-recognized one. My only complaint is that he covers so many cases under a variety of topics that I would assume the general reader might find his head spinning after ingesting this huge dose of con law.

It is in the final chapter ("Constitutional Futurology, or What are the Courts Good For?") that Rosen makes his most substantial contribution.Here he neatly summarizes some of the most cogent arguments (Holmes, Hand, Frankfurter, and others) for meaningful judicial restraint. Particularly important in this regard are the benefits stemming from Bickel's concept of a constitutional dialogue between the Court and the policy-making branches, as contrasted with the adverse consequences of "judicial unilaterism."Rosen has some insightful comments on how judicial restraint should be exercised.I ended up feeling that had Rosen devoted more space to this kind of analysis, rather than running through so many con law cases, the book would have been stronger. Nonetheless, a fine introduction to this complicated issue for the general reader, who -- like the rest of us -- clearly needs to become better informed on this important topic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Advance Praise for The Most Democratic Branch

"This book will be, and should be, widely read. The proper relationship of constitutional law to politics is one of the most controversial issues in American life today, and Rosen understands that relationship better than anyone. Filled with important insights--and real wisdom--The Most Democratic Branch is simply terrific. For those seeking a path out of the judicial polarization of the past decade, you need look no farther: Rosen shows the way." -- William J. Stuntz, Harvard Law School

"Jeffrey Rosen defies everything you think you know about the court with a counter-intuitive argument of great power concerning both how the court has behaved in the past and how it should behave in the future. He attacks our heroic visions of the Supreme Court as a grand check against majority rule and recasts its general history as one of deference to the constitutional vision of majorities. Rosen's is a theory of adjudication for grown-ups; those at once concerned to limit judicial power and impatient with shrill doctrinal prescriptions for doing so. An important and impressive work from one of America's most insightful legal commentators." -- Benjamin Wittes, Editorial Writer, The Washington Post

"Jeffrey Rosen is America's most insightful public commentator on the Supreme Court and the Constitution. Beautifully written and persuasively argued, The Most Democratic Branch makes constitutional law accessible to ordinary citizens while simultaneously challenging legal experts to rethink their views on the Court's role in American democracy." -- Michael J. Klarman, author of the Bancroft Prize-winning, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights

"Jeffrey Rosen makes a powerful and accessible case for a restrained judicial role, one that will challenge liberal proponents of Warren Court activism and conservative proponents of Rehnquist Court activism. His work combines sound historical scholarship with important prescriptions for contemporary constitutional politics." -- Mark A. Graber, University of Maryland ... Read more

15. The Judicial Construction of Europe
by Alec Stone Sweet
Kindle Edition: 294 Pages (2004-11-11)
list price: US$65.00
Asin: B002K8PHLW
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The law and politics of European integration have been inseparable since the 1960s, when the European Court of Justice rendered a set of foundational decisions that gradually served to 'constitutionalize' the Treaty of Rome. In this book, Alec Stone Sweet, one of the world's foremost social scientists and legal scholars, blends deductive theory, quantitative analysis of aggregate data, and qualitative case studies to explain the dynamics of European integration and institutional change in the EU since 1959. He shows that the activities of market actors, lobbyists, legislators, litigators, and judges became connected to one another in various ways, giving the EU its fundamentally expansionary character. He then assesses the impact of Europe's unique legal system on the evolution of supranational governance, tracing outcomes in three policy domains: free movement of goods, sex equality, and environmental protection. The book integrates diverse themes, including: the testing of hypotheses derived from regional integration theory; the 'judicialization' of legislative processes; the path dependence of precedent and legal argumentation; the triumph of the 'rights revolution' in the EU; delegation, agency, and trusteeship; balancing as a technique of judicial rulemaking and governance; and why national administration and justice have been steadily 'Europeanized'.Written for a broad audience, the book is also recommended for use in graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in law and the social sciences. ... Read more

16. The American Judicial Tradition: Profiles of Leading American Judges
by G. Edward White
Kindle Edition: 624 Pages (1988-12-01)
list price: US$30.00
Asin: B001E5YBUK
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Now available in a newly revised and updated second edition, this highly acclaimed volume presents a series of portraits of the most famous appellate judges in American history from John Marshall to the Burger court.

G. Edward White traces the American judicial tradition through sketches of the careers and contributions of such significant judges as John Marshall, Joseph Story, Roger Taney, Stephen Field, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis Brandeis, Charles Evans Hughes, Felix Frankfurter, Hugo Black, Earl Warren, William Brennan, and Sandra Day O'Connor. This expanded edition contains a new preface, an updated bibliographical note, and two new chapters, one on Justice William O. Douglas and one on the Burger Court. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars A historical survey of how judges viewed their office
G. Edward White provides a fascinating and engrossing examination of how American judges have viewed their powers and responsibilities throughout history. He does so through a series of biographical essays examining each judge, or group of judges, and their jurisprudential views. While each chapter is capable of isolated reading, the whole really begins to come together only by the end of the whole book. We see the demise of the 19th century oracular theory of judging, seeing the judge as only discoverer and not creator of the law, and the various difficulties that 20th century judges have experienced in trying to replace this discredited theory.

My only caveat is that this book probably should not be read by beginners. While a thorough knowledge of the law is not strictly necessary to enjoyment of this volume, having a basic knowledge of torts, contracts, and property law truly helps to get the full impact of the judges, especially the state judges. Of course, some knowledge of constitutional history is necessary because roughly 2/3 of the judges studied were U.S. Supreme Court justices. Probably one of the best times to read this volume is after completing the first year of law school. ... Read more

17. Friends of the Supreme Court: Interest Groups and Judicial Decision Making
by Jr. Paul M. Collins, Jr. Paul M. Collins
Kindle Edition: 248 Pages (2008-08-15)
list price: US$75.00
Asin: B0049SOZJQ
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18. That Eminent Tribunal: Judicial Supremacy and the Constitution
by Christopher Wolfe
Kindle Edition: 256 Pages (2008-09-02)
list price: US$27.95
Asin: B002WJM4NS
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The role of the United States Supreme Court has been deeply controversial throughout American history. Should the Court undertake the task of guarding a wide variety of controversial and often unenumerated rights? Or should it confine itself to enforcing specific constitutional provisions, leaving other issues (even those of rights) to the democratic process?That Eminent Tribunal brings together a distinguished group of legal scholars and political scientists who argue that the Court's power has exceeded its appropriate bounds, and that sound republican principles require greater limits on that power. They reach this conclusion by an interesting variety of paths, and despite varied political convictions.Some of the essays debate the explicit claims to constitutional authority laid out by the Supreme Court itself in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and similar cases, and others focus on the defenses of judicial authority found commonly in legal scholarship (e.g., the allegedly superior moral reasoning of judges, or judges' supposed track record of superior political decision making). The authors find these arguments wanting and contend that the principles of republicanism and the contemporary form of judicial review exercised by the Supreme Court are fundamentally incompatible.The contributors include Hadley Arkes, Gerard V. Bradley, George Liebmann, Michael McConnell, Robert F. Nagel, Jack Wade Nowlin, Steven D. Smith, Jeremy Waldron, Keith E. Whittington, Christopher Wolfe, and Michael P. Zuckert. ... Read more

19. Advice and Consent: The Politics of Judicial Appointments
by Lee Epstein, Jeffrey A. Segal
Kindle Edition: 192 Pages (2005-08-23)
list price: US$10.00
Asin: B000TRMG9C
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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From Louis Brandeis to Robert Bork to Clarence Thomas, the nomination of federal judges has generated intense political conflict. With the coming retirement of one or more Supreme Court Justices--and threats to filibuster lower court judges--the selection process is likely to be, once again, the center of red-hot partisan debate. In Advice and Consent, two leading legal scholars, Lee Epstein and Jeffrey A. Segal, offer a brief, illuminating Baedeker to this highly important procedure, discussing everything from constitutional background, to crucial differences in the nomination of judges and justices, to the role of the Judiciary Committee in vetting nominees. Epstein and Segal shed light on the role played by the media, by the American Bar Association, and by special interest groups (whose efforts helped defeat Judge Bork). Though it is often assumed that political clashes over nominees are a new phenomenon, the authors argue that the appointment of justices and judges has always been a highly contentious process--one largely driven by ideological and partisan concerns. The reader discovers how presidents and the senate have tried to remake the bench, ranging from FDR's controversial "court packing" scheme to the Senate's creation in 1978 of 35 new appellate and 117 district court judgeships, allowing the Democrats to shape the judiciary for years. The authors conclude with possible "reforms," from the so-called nuclear option, whereby a majority of the Senate could vote to prohibit filibusters, to the even more dramatic suggestion that Congress eliminate a judge's life tenure either by term limits or compulsory retirement.With key appointments looming on the horizon, Advice and Consent provides everything concerned citizens need to know to understand the partisan rows that surround the judicial nominating process. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Advice & Consent
Albeit very topical and relevant to the meat of the cold war I found the structure and order of presentation a great help in getting through this longish and often boring novel. It touched on many elements of the Senates' procedural business and that was good but the conflict seemed too much of a soap opera to carry the weight that is the serious business of the legislative branch of the United States. Further, the "tipping point" of the conflict (homosexuality) may have been "shocking" enough for the era but I had a hard time as a heterosexual being drawn in.

5-0 out of 5 stars Social Science Study that Confirms Anecdotal Evidence
Epstein and Segal have produced an easy to read primer on the judicial appointment process.The authors show the intertwining influences of the President and Senate and their role in the ideology and politics of the justices and (to a lesser extent) judges approved to sit on U.S. federal courts.

Common sense dictates that Presidents nominate nominees who are close ideologically to their own views.Epstein and Segal show this to be true.Common sense would also dictate the difficulty if such considerations are taken into account as a president nominating a judge to the state where senators of his own party hold seats (and senatorial courtesy plays a stronger role), if the senate and president are of differing parties, and so forth.

Epstein and Segal have produced a primer for those interested in motivations in nominations to the court and the inherently political considerations that must be taken into account.I highly recommend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Praise for Advice and Consent

"This is a superb and even indispensable resource. Careful, precise, objective, and nugget-filled, it's a wonderful guide to past, present, and future debates. If you want to know about judicial appointments, this is the best place to start." -- Cass R. Sunstein, University of Chicago Law School

"An important and timely study that adds an essential framework for understanding contemporary slugfests over judicial appointments. Beautifully presented and argued." -- Louis Fisher, author of American Constitutional Law

"Lee Epstein's and Jeffrey Segal's new book could not be more timely. It provides the most comprehensive and systematic examination to date of the roles of politics and ideology in Supreme Court selection. It is indispensable reading for anyone interested in how justices and judges decide cases, the limits of legal reasoning, and the contributions of social science to better understanding how the Supreme Court functions." - Michael J. Gerhardt, author of The Federal Impeachment Process

"Writing in pristine, jargon-free language, Epstein and Segal...inject some much-needed context and evidence into the current debate about judicial appointments." -- The American Prospect

"Epstein and Segal...draw together a wealth of research and empirical findings from a plethora of studies, many of which they authored, and fold them into a compelling narrative that examines all levels of the judiciary.... This book combines the best features of past studies on judicial appointments. It is also very accessible for students and citizens interested in the judicial branch." -- Law and Politics Book Review

"Thoughtful and illuminating.... Qualifications matter-as much today as they have in the past. (In that sense, President Bush might have done well to read Advice and Consent before nominating the ill-fated Miers.)? -- Chronicle of Higher Education

"A thorough look at the process, politics and presidential aspects of court appointments. Witty yet well-informed, Professors Epstein and Segal give an insight into the whys and wherefores of federal judge appointments." -- www.mayitpleasethecourt.com

5-0 out of 5 stars A much-needed honest examination of the politics of judicial appointments
Over the last five years, we have seen a consistent debate concerning judicial appointments and politics ranging from the filibusters over circuit nominees to the recent Roberts and Alito nominations. The persistent myth is that the outright influence of partisan politics on judicial nominations is a new development; that prior to the last 30 years or so, judicial nominees were only judged on the basis of qualifications and not ideology. In this book, two preeminent political scientists demonstrate that this is empirically false: while qualifications are not irrelevant, the consistently dominant factor in judicial appointments has always been politics, especially on the Supreme Court. One has only to point to the very first nomination defeated in 1795 when Washington's nominee for chief justice was defeated because he supported a politically unpopular treaty. What Epstein and Segal demonstrate is that political concerns infuse the appointments process from the very beginning and the voting of judges, at least on the Supreme Court, usually correlates to the political beliefs of the appointing president. Usefully, they also examine the lower federal courts in demonstrating how various political factors come into play in these comparatively understudied courts.

In total, Epstein and Segal have produced an excellent, brief study that is empirically sound and unbiased. While current Republicans are shown to be hypocrites, the same is dealt to Democrats. For example, many of the Democrats pushing filibusters recently complained strongly against this practice when Republicans used it in the 90s; many Republicans who complained about stalling in the Bush I administration, used the same tactics during the Clinton years and then changed the rules to make the Bush II administration's appointments easier. This is a treasure trove of empirical analysis of appointments that will not disappoint anyone looking for the facts of the situation instead of partisan talking points.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Super Introduction to Judicial Appointments
This is just an extraordinary book on judicial appointments written by two distinguished political scientists with decades of experience studying the federal courts.While it obviously is primarily designed to be a brief (168 pages, including the extensive notes) introduction to the process of judicial selection for the general reader, it skillfully incorporates some of the most significant research findings drawn from professional journals and papers. As a result, even those who are somewhat familiar with the topic and the professional literature will derive some valuable new insights. The writing is brisk and moves quickly and smoothly through the material, with the assistance of some helpful charts.In addition, the book's coverage is not limited to the Supreme Court but covers all three levels of the federal judiciary. One nice feature is that some interesting statistical data from "The Supreme Court Compendium," edited by one of the co-authors, are sprinkled throughout the discussion (e.g., no more than 20% of lower court nominations have generated any opposition). The authors' discussion of "do Presidents get what they want?" in making nominations, and if so, for how long, is particularly effective. After all, how accurately can Presidents, Senators or the rest of us predict how a nominee will perform once safely on the bench? A most timely contribution given the current Roberts nomination process and the unknown Associate Justice nominee yet to come. ... Read more

20. Packing the Court: The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court
by James Macgregor Burns
Kindle Edition: 336 Pages (2009-05-22)
list price: US$16.00
Asin: B002AU7MJK
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
From renowned political theorist James MacGregor Burns, an incisive critique of the overreaching power of an ideological Supreme Court

For decades, Pulitzer Prize-winner James MacGregor Burns has been one of the great masters of the study of power and leadership in America. In Packing the Court, he turns his eye to the U.S. Supreme Court, an institution that he believes has become more powerful, and more partisan, than the founding fathers ever intended. In a compelling and provocative narrative, Burns reveals how the Supreme Court has served as a reactionary force in American politics at critical moments throughout the nation's history, and concludes with a bold proposal to rein in the court's power. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars I like his prescription
This book offers an engaging history of the US thru the lens of the Supreme
Court and it's rulings, recounting the "roulette wheel" of Supreme Court
justices as they are nominated and confirmed (or not), serve their "life-time"
appointment, then retire or die -- to be replaced by whichever political
party is in power at the time. Thru it all the court has had enormous impact
on the American landscape.

In 1803 the Supreme Court, ruling on Marbury v. Madison, declared that the
Judiciary Act of 1789 was unconstitutional. This was the first time the
Supreme Court declared something "unconstitutional", establishing the idea
that courts can void legislation. That precedent snowballed over the past
200 years, solidifying the court's claim to ultimate authority to interpret the

But do the Supremes really have this authority? Burns claims nothing in the
Constitution says they do. His prescription to resolve this is to have a
President challenge the Court by refusing to abide by a ruling declaring
some legislation to be unconstitutional. In other words, require a constitutional
amendment to give them the authority. Intriguing.


4-0 out of 5 stars A history of supreme court and critique of impact of reactionary courts
Packing the Court is a history of the supreme court and a description of the inherent political nature of the court.It is a fairly light read going through the evolution of the court and how it in some sense created its own power.The court's initial endowments were quite imprecise and as a result it required its own precedents to create its own powers.The book follows the history of the battles between the courts and government legislation how the tensions manifested themselves and takes us up to the present day and the current members of the Supreme Court.

The phrase packing the court refers to the exercise FDR attempted when faced with a Supreme Court that perpetually blocked legislation in which the president attempted to increase the number of justices and with the vacancies put in more liberal minded justices.This history of the Supreme Court is very interesting and this book provides an easy introduction to some of the major cases that have both shaped the nation and driven social policy.One sees clearly that the personal opinions and beliefs of the judge consistently impact very deeply the decision of the court.The idea that justice is blind is not applicable to the level of justice seen by the Supreme court, this is unsurprising as the cases seen by the Supreme Court have been through so many levels already that clear cut cases will have been settled.Thus the finest points determine the arguments of the justices and those fine points are merely rationalizations of the Justice's embedded tilt.

The author is very much a proponent of a liberal court, able to keep up with the times.As a result he discusses at some length the history of when the court remained behind the times and the damage that came as a result.The unique position of Judges having life positions means presidents can impact policy for decades and at a minumum longer than any publicly elected official.The author uses the book to show the detriment that can be caused to society as a result of these mismatches in perspectives, highlighted by slavery, the new deal and current originalism.Though the book doesnt outright try to draw a sweeping solution to this "problem" that can arise at the supreme court, in the epilogue it is argued that we can deal with it through presidential overrule.Given all the examples articulated by the author, the solution makes sense, but in reality its not a very strong idea as one can imagine a society and president regressing to racism in which a liberal court prevents that regression.All in all the book was an interesting read and a refreshing reminder that the Supreme Courts in all ages are political instruments and very effective ones making generational impacts.Thus the importance of who is on them and their beliefs can impact us all on deep ethical issues.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Read
Packing the Court serves as an excellent primer on the history of the Supreme Court.Before I picked up the book I had been very eager to learn about the fundamental role and famous rulings of the court, and I was not disappointed.I can now talk intelligently about Justice Marshall, Justice Warren, Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch v. Maryland, Dred Scott, etc.
But Burns does much more than merely walk his reader through the history.He also offers a sharp critique of and a push for overhauling the institution...(check out my blog for full article: [...]

4-0 out of 5 stars No Solutions but a Nice History Lesson
For almost 250 pages, Professor Burns does a wonderful job of tracking the history of the Supreme Court.He shows how the Court's powers expanded over the course of more than two centuries and describes some of the more important cases.The big ones are there, of course, but he is also quite good at rooting out some lesser-known cases (for the general reader) that had a big impact on the course of the nation.

He is particularly good at brief biographies of the various judges and how they got appointed by the various presidents.Nearly everyone who has ever served on the Court gets at least a mention and even the lesser-known get a penetrating, if succinct, description of their influence.I, personally, was intrigued by some of the periods that often get short shrift in these books.The period from post-Reconstruction through the Depression and the power of the "railroad lawyers" was a real eye-opener for me.

Of course, he spends the last ten or so pages arguing that the Supreme Court has too much power and that we must end this judicial supremacy.It comes across as kind of lame, however, since he's just spent the entirety of his text showing that the judicial has reigned supreme since Marbury vs. Madison.No one has effectively challenged that for 200 years and it's not likely to happen now.Especially not in the form of his major suggestion: that the President simply stop enforcing the judgments of the Court.Can you imagine the furor (with Obama as President, to boot)?There would be civil unrest unlike anything we've seen since the Civil War.The only reasonable method is a Constitutional amendment restricting the Court, and that's not likely either.

I agree that the Supreme Court holds entirely too much power in the United States and has done for centuries but, despite what is certainly Professor Burns' desire, he doesn't really help solve the problem.Still, ignoring the last few pages, this really is a well-written, informative book on the history of the Supreme Court.I felt I learned a lot by reading it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very intriguing and provocative idea
I appreciate Burns' work, as he doesn't display the unearned reverence for the Court that so many authors do.I have been doing a lot of reading about the Supreme Court recently, and quickly got over the notion that the Supreme Court Justices consistently uphold the law and make sure people's rights are protected.The Supreme Court is made up of politicians who stay that way after their appointment to the Court.It has often been made up of land speculators, slave owners, and corporate lawyers who have abused their positions to make America more racist, authoritarian, and beholden to big business.Burns shows the warts--and the positives--of the Court very clearly.

I'm particularly intrigued with his idea of the President challenging the Supreme Court's authority.Some reviewers have pointed out that a President might choose to ignore landmark decisions like Brown v. Board of Education.I would point out that while the Supreme Court has protected people's rights and prevented abuses of power, it has perhaps more often ignored the Constitution and twisted it and turned it to suit the Justices' political agendas....from Dred Scott to Lochner v. NY to Bush v. Gore to the recent Citizens United decision and the overturning of gun bans.

Burns is simply suggesting that the great power grab of John Marshall be challenged.After all, there will be good and bad people on the Court, in Congress, and in the White House.It would be healthy for the other branches to stand up and wrestle with the Court, as our Founding Fathers intended.Of course, we may get a maniacal dictator in the White House, but we already have quite the scary group on the Court.Four of "The Five" (and sometimes all Five) have been all too willing to go along with the excesses of the Bush-Cheney White House.The Five have been busily reshaping America, and with one more "Originalist" more reliable than Kennedy, the Court could do unlimited mischief.Once appointed, there is NO check on the power fo the Court--other than the rather extreme step of impeachment. ... Read more

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