THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE HOW PUBLIC OPINION HAS INFLUENCED THE SUPREME COURT AND SHAPED THE MEANING OF THE CONSTITUTION

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The Will Of The People

Author : Barry Friedman
ISBN : 1429989955
Genre : Law
File Size : 60.19 MB
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In recent years, the justices of the Supreme Court have ruled definitively on such issues as abortion, school prayer, and military tribunals in the war on terror. They decided one of American history's most contested presidential elections. Yet for all their power, the justices never face election and hold their offices for life. This combination of influence and apparent unaccountability has led many to complain that there is something illegitimate—even undemocratic—about judicial authority. In The Will of the People, Barry Friedman challenges that claim by showing that the Court has always been subject to a higher power: the American public. Judicial positions have been abolished, the justices' jurisdiction has been stripped, the Court has been packed, and unpopular decisions have been defied. For at least the past sixty years, the justices have made sure that their decisions do not stray too far from public opinion. Friedman's pathbreaking account of the relationship between popular opinion and the Supreme Court—from the Declaration of Independence to the end of the Rehnquist court in 2005—details how the American people came to accept their most controversial institution and shaped the meaning of the Constitution.
Category: Law

The High Court The Constitution And Australian Politics

Author : Rosalind Dixon
ISBN : 9781316276785
Genre : Law
File Size : 52.25 MB
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The High Court, the Constitution and Australian Politics is an in-depth exploration of the relationship between decisions of the High Court and broader political currents in Australia. It begins with an investigation of the patterns and effects of constitutional invalidation and dissent on the High Court over time, and their correlation with political trends and attitudes. It also examines the role of constitutional amendment in expressing popular constitutional understandings in the Australian system. Subsequent chapters focus on the eras marked by the tenure of the Court's 12 Chief Justices, examining Court's decisions in the context of the prevailing political conditions and understandings of each. Together, the chapters canvass a rich variety of accounts of the relationship between constitutional law and politics in Australia, and of how this relationship is affected by factors such as the process of appointment for High Court judges and the Court's explicit willingness to consider political and community values.
Category: Law

The Supreme Court Compendium

Author : Lee Epstein
ISBN : 9781483376639
Genre : Law
File Size : 57.34 MB
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The Supreme Court Compendium provides historical and statistical information on the Supreme Court: its institutional development; caseload; decision trends; the background, nomination, and voting behavior of its justices; its relationship with public, governmental, and other judicial bodies; and its impact. With over 180 tables and figures, this new edition is intended to capture the full retrospective picture through the 2013-2014 term of the Roberts Court and the momentous decisions handed down within the last four years, including United States v. Windsor, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, and Shelby County v. Holder.
Category: Law

Unwarranted

Author : Barry Friedman
ISBN : 9780374710903
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 47.54 MB
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“At a time when policing in America is at a crossroads, Barry Friedman provides much-needed insight, analysis, and direction in his thoughtful new book. Unwarranted illuminates many of the often ignored issues surrounding how we police in America and highlights why reform is so urgently needed. This revealing book comes at a critically important time and has much to offer all who care about fair treatment and public safety.” —Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption In June 2013, documents leaked by Edward Snowden sparked widespread debate about secret government surveillance of Americans. Just over a year later, the shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, set off protests and triggered concern about militarization of law enforcement and discriminatory policing. In Unwarranted, Barry Friedman argues that these two seemingly disparate events are connected—and that the problem is not so much the policing agencies as it is the rest of us. We allow these agencies to operate in secret and to decide how to police us, rather than calling the shots ourselves. And the courts, which we depended upon to supervise policing, have let us down entirely. Unwarranted tells the stories of ordinary people whose lives were torn apart by policing—by the methods of cops on the beat and those of the FBI and NSA. Driven by technology, policing has changed dramatically. Once, cops sought out bad guys; today, increasingly militarized forces conduct wide surveillance of all of us. Friedman captures the eerie new environment in which CCTV, location tracking, and predictive policing have made suspects of us all, while proliferating SWAT teams and increased use of force have put everyone’s property and lives at risk. Policing falls particularly heavily on minority communities and the poor, but as Unwarranted makes clear, the effects of policing are much broader still. Policing is everyone’s problem. Police play an indispensable role in our society. But our failure to supervise them has left us all in peril. Unwarranted is a critical, timely intervention into debates about policing, a call to take responsibility for governing those who govern us.
Category: Political Science

Implementing The Constitution

Author : Richard H. FALLON
ISBN : 9780674036673
Genre : Law
File Size : 57.81 MB
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This book argues that the Supreme Court performs two functions. The first is to identify the Constitution's idealized "meaning." The second is to develop tests and doctrines to realize that meaning in practice. Bridging the gap between the two--implementing the Constitution--requires moral vision, but also practical wisdom and common sense, ingenuity, and occasionally a willingness to make compromises. In emphasizing the Court's responsibility to make practical judgments, "Implementing the Constitution" takes issue with the two positions that have dominated recent debates about the Court's proper role. Constitutional "originalists" maintain that the Court's essential function is to identify the "original understanding" of constitutional language and then apply it deductively to current problems. This position is both unwise and unworkable, the book argues. It also critiques well-known accounts according to which the Court is concerned almost exclusively with matters of moral and constitutional principle. "Implementing the Constitution" bridges the worlds of constitutional theory, political theory, and constitutional practice. It illuminates the Supreme Court's decision of actual cases and its development of well-known doctrines. It is a doctrinal study that yields jurisprudential insights and a contribution to constitutional theory that is closely tied to actual judicial practice.
Category: Law

The Second Amendment

Author : Michael Waldman
ISBN : 9781476747460
Genre : History
File Size : 55.62 MB
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Widely acclaimed at the time of its publication, the life story of the most controversial, volatile, misunderstood provision of the Bill of Rights. At a time of increasing gun violence in America, Waldman’s book provoked a wide range of discussion. This book looks at history to provide some surprising, illuminating answers. The Amendment was written to calm public fear that the new national government would crush the state militias made up of all (white) adult men—who were required to own a gun to serve. Waldman recounts the raucous public debate that has surrounded the amendment from its inception to the present. As the country spread to the Western frontier, violence spread too. But through it all, gun control was abundant. In the twentieth century, with Prohibition and gangsterism, the first federal control laws were passed. In all four separate times the Supreme Court ruled against a constitutional right to own a gun. The present debate picked up in the 1970s—part of a backlash to the liberal 1960s and a resurgence of libertarianism. A newly radicalized NRA entered the campaign to oppose gun control and elevate the status of an obscure constitutional provision. In 2008, in a case that reached the Court after a focused drive by conservative lawyers, the US Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the Constitution protects an individual right to gun ownership. Famous for his theory of “originalism,” Justice Antonin Scalia twisted it in this instance to base his argument on contemporary conditions. In The Second Amendment: A Biography, Michael Waldman shows that our view of the amendment is set, at each stage, not by a pristine constitutional text, but by the push and pull, the rough and tumble of political advocacy and public agitation.
Category: History

Taking Liberties

Author : Susan N. Herman
ISBN : 9780199911981
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 68.81 MB
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In this eye-opening work, the president of the ACLU takes a hard look at the human and social costs of the War on Terror. Over a decade after 9/11, it is far from clear that the government's hastily adopted antiterrorist tactics--such as the Patriot Act--are keeping us safe, but it is increasingly clear that these emergency measures in fact have the potential to ravage our lives--and have already done just that to countless Americans. From the Oregon lawyer falsely suspected of involvement with terrorism in Spain to the former University of Idaho football player arrested on the pretext that he was needed as a "material witness" (though he was never called to testify), this book is filled with unsettling stories of ordinary people caught in the government's dragnet. These are not just isolated mistakes in an otherwise sound program, but demonstrations of what can happen when our constitutional protections against government abuse are abandoned. Whether it's running a chat room, contributing to a charity, or even urging a terrorist group to forego its violent tactics, activities that should be protected by the First Amendment can now lead to prosecution. Blacklists and watchlists keep people grounded at airports and strand American citizens abroad, although these lists are rife with errors--errors that cannot be challenged. National Security Letters allow the FBI to demand records about innocent people from libraries, financial institutions, and internet service providers without ever going to court. Government databanks now brim with information about every aspect of our private lives, while efforts to mount legal challenges to these measures have been stymied. Barack Obama, like George W. Bush, relies on secrecy and exaggerated claims of presidential prerogative to keep the courts and Congress from fully examining whether these laws and policies are constitutional, effective, or even counterproductive. Democracy itself is undermined. This book is a wake-up call for all Americans, who remain largely unaware of the post-9/11 surveillance regime's insidious and continuing growth.
Category: Political Science

Supreme Courtship

Author : Christopher Buckley
ISBN : 9780446542227
Genre : Fiction
File Size : 54.64 MB
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President of the United States Donald Vanderdamp is having a hell of a time getting his nominees appointed to the Supreme Court. After one nominee is rejected for insufficiently appreciating To Kill A Mockingbird, the president chooses someone so beloved by voters that the Senate won't have the guts to reject her -- Judge Pepper Cartwright, the star of the nation's most popular reality show, Courtroom Six. Will Pepper, a straight-talking Texan, survive a confirmation battle in the Senate? Will becoming one of the most powerful women in the world ruin her love life? And even if she can make it to the Supreme Court, how will she get along with her eight highly skeptical colleagues, including a floundering Chief Justice who, after legalizing gay marriage, learns that his wife has left him for another woman. Soon, Pepper finds herself in the middle of a constitutional crisis, a presidential reelection campaign that the president is determined to lose, and oral arguments of a romantic nature. Supreme Courtship is another classic Christopher Buckley comedy about the Washington institutions most deserving of ridicule.
Category: Fiction

Framed

Author : Sanford Levinson
ISBN : 9780199930876
Genre : Law
File Size : 74.8 MB
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In his widely acclaimed volume Our Undemocratic Constitution, Sanford Levinson boldly argued that our Constitution should not be treated with "sanctimonious reverence," but as a badly flawed document deserving revision. Now Levinson takes us deeper, asking what were the original assumptions underlying our institutions, and whether we accept those assumptions 225 years later. In Framed, Levinson challenges our belief that the most important features of our constitutions concern what rights they protect. Instead, he focuses on the fundamental procedures of governance such as congressional bicameralism; the selection of the President by the electoral college, or the dimensions of the President's veto power--not to mention the near impossibility of amending the United States Constitution. These seemingly "settled" and "hardwired" structures contribute to the now almost universally recognized "dysfunctionality" of American politics. Levinson argues that we should stop treating the United States Constitution as uniquely exemplifying the American constitutional tradition. We should be aware of the 50 state constitutions, often interestingly different--and perhaps better--than the national model. Many states have updated their constitutions by frequent amendment or by complete replacement via state constitutional conventions. California's ungovernable condition has prompted serious calls for a constitutional convention. This constant churn indicates that basic law often reaches the point where it fails and becomes obsolete. Given the experience of so many states, he writes, surely it is reasonable to believe that the U.S. Constitution merits its own updating. Whether we are concerned about making America more genuinely democratic or only about creating a system of government that can more effectively respond to contemporary challenges, we must confront the ways our constitutions, especially the United States Constitution, must be changed in fundamental ways.
Category: Law