Judicial Compulsions: How Public Law Distorts Public Policy

Jeremy A. Rabkin, Author Basic Books $22.95 (322p) ISBN 978-0-465-03687-5
Since the 1960s, environmentalists, consumer advocates, safety experts and civil rights activists have used the courts as an arena to demand that regulatory agencies adopt more rigorous enforcement policies. While public interest groups hail these actions, Rabkin finds their support misguided and counterproductive. In what often reads like a sophisticated apology for deregulation, the Cornell University political scientist argues that much public-interest litigation is essentially unconstitutional, being predicated on the false assumption that regulatory benefits are ``rights.'' He further charges that advocacy groups' initiatives have squandered the energies of the Food and Drug Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Office for Civil Rights, miring these agencies in legalistic squabbles and bureaucratic inertia. The courts, he claims, have neither the power nor the expertise to provide the benefits that special-interest advocates seek. The case studies in this densely argued brief are open to interpretations vastly different from the author's. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Paperback - 978-0-465-03688-2
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