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The most democratic branch - Jeffrey Rosen

9780195174434
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Title
The most democratic branch - how the courts serve America
Author
Jeffrey Rosen
format
Hardback
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20060629

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 onthe 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 againstmainstream 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 ofAmericans, 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.

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Jeffrey Rosen is Professor of Law at George Washington University. Named by The Chicago Tribune as one of the best magazine journalists in America, he is the author of The Unwanted Gaze and The Naked Crowd, and his essays and commentaries have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, and The New Republic, where he is the Legal Affairs
Editor.

Type
BOOK
Keyword Index
Political questions and judicial power - United States.|Courts - United States.|Judges - United States - History.
Country of Publication
England
Number of Pages
238

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