Chemerinsky (Closing the Courthouse Door), dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, articulates an alternative vision for the Supreme Court of the United States in this relatively accessible polemic. To open, he examines the prevailing conservative values and vision of the court, as well as what he considers conservative justices’ false claims of ideological neutrality, delving into “originalism” and its employment as a cover for conservative judicial activism. He also counters arguments that the court should not be able to strike down laws and executive actions, and lays out a case for identifying core values in the U.S. Constitution. In Chemerinsky’s view, the preamble to the Constitution, despite being “largely ignored” or “treated as a mere rhetorical flourish,” holds the key to understanding the values inherent in the document, namely ensuring democratic government, providing effective governance, establishing justice, securing liberty, and achieving equality. The remainder of the book details these five values and cites Supreme Court cases relevant to each. The work has value as a history, and Chemerinsky levies trenchant critiques of the Supreme Court’s recent decision making; however, those who don’t agree with the author that certain liberal values are self-evidently good may not be swayed, and he offers no material way to change the situation. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/24/2018 Release date: 10/02/2018 Genre: Nonfiction
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