When the Supreme Court's effectively decided the presidential election of 2000, it decision illustrated a classic question in American politics: what is the appropriate role for the Supreme Court? The dilemma is between judicial activism, the Court's willingness to make significant changes in public policy, and judicial restraint, the Court's willingness to confine the use and extent of its power. While the Framers of the Constitution felt that the judiciary would be the "least dangerous branch" of government, many have come to the conclusion that courts govern America, a notion at odds with democratic government.Richard Pacelle traces the historical ebb and flow of the Court's role in the critical issues of American politics: slavery, free speech, religion, abortion, and affirmative action. Pacelle examines the arguments for judicial restraint, including that unelected judges making policy runs against democratic principles, and the arguments for judicial activism, including the important role the court has played as a protector of minority rights.
Pacelle suggests that there needs to be a balance between judicial activism and restraint in light of the constraints on the institution and its power. Stimulating and sure to generate discussion, The Supreme Court in American Politics is a concise supplemental text for American Government and Judicial Politics course.
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(229mm x 152mm x 12mm)
Westview Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
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Author Biography - Richard Pacelle
Richard L. Pacelle, Jr. is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is the recipient of the 2000 Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2000-01 Governor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Professor Pacelle is the author of The Transformation of the Supreme Court's Agenda: From the New Deal to the Reagan Administration and Between Law and Politics: The Solicitor General and the Structuring of Race, Gender and Reproductive Rights Policy (forthcoming).