With Liberty and Justice for Some: A Critique of the Conservative Supreme Court
The conservative majority that has dominated the Supreme Court for over a decade was engineered by presidents who claimed to have depoliticized the courts and promoted judicial restraint. Yet the result has been a steady stream of opinions that limit individual rights far more than is commonly understood. In With Liberty and Justice for Some, David Kairys presents a fascinating analysis of the changes brought about by the Reagan-Bush courts, changes that will long outlive those administrations. Kairys, a leading constitutional scholar and litigator, examines thirty-one major Supreme court decisions - covering rights of expression, participation in the political process, religion, equality, privacy and due process - many of them lesser known cases that have not been subjected to intense scrutiny. Arguing that the liberal decisions of the 1960s and early 1970s were an aberration in a larger conservative pattern, Kairys highlights the ongoing erosion of principles and rules typically thought to embody American notions of freedom. Kairys focuses on the people involved, and analyzes these cases to highlight contradictions in conservative legal thinking and practice. He evaluates and criticizes the conservative record, assesses legal reasoning and the rule of law in society, and develops an approach to protection and enforcement of freedom, equality, and democracy. Criticizing both conservative and liberal rules and reasoning, and all the while exploring other alternatives, With Liberty and Justice for Some is a revealing and accessible expose of the role of law, the state of democracy and the retrenchment of our individual rights over the last two decades.
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