Judicial Power and American Character: Censoring Ourselves in an Anxious Age
In this highly original book, Robert Nagel demonstrates how contemporary constitutional politics reflect the moral character of American culture. He persuasively argues that judicial decisions embody wider social tendenceies towards moral evasiveness, privatization, and opportunism. Constitutional interpretation, he urges, is often an effort to stifle political disagreement and, ultimately, to censor our own beliefs and traditions. Nagel ranges over such controversial topics as the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork, local resistance to abortion rights, political correctness on campus, and judicial decisions dealing with pornography, flag burning, gay rights, school prayer, and racial desegregation. Crossing conventional political and philosophical lines, the analysis is surprising and provocative. Nagel sees fundamental similarities between liberals like Ronald Dworkin and conservatives like Bork. He finds judicial arrogance in jurists as different as William Brennan and Sandra O'Connor. Clearly written and forcefully argued, this work is an audacious examination of judicial power as an integral part of our increasingly anxious and intolerant society.
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The Thomas Hearings and National Character
Elitism and Democracy in the Bork Hearings
Public Protest and the Court
Interpretation as the Suppression of Disagreement
Interpretation as Moral Evasion
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