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Brennan and Democracy - Frank I. Michelman

Brennan and Democracy

Paperback Published: 6th February 2005
ISBN: 9780691122496
Number Of Pages: 160

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In "Brennan and Democracy," a leading thinker in U.S. constitutional law offers some powerful reflections on the idea of "constitutional democracy," a concept in which many have seen the makings of paradox. Here Frank Michelman explores the apparently conflicting commitments of a democratic governmental system where key aspects of such important social issues as affirmative action, campaign finance reform, and abortion rights are settled not by a legislative vote but by the decisions of unelected judges. Can we--or should we--embrace the values of democracy together with constitutionalism, judicial supervision, and the rule of law? To answer this question, Michelman calls into service the judicial career of Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, the country's model "activist" judge for the past forty years. Michelman draws on Brennan's record and writings to suggest how the Justice himself might have understood the judiciary's role in the simultaneous promotion of both democratic and constitutional government.

The first chapter prompts us to reflect on how tough and delicate an act it is for the members of a society to attempt living together as a people devoted to self-government. The second chapter seeks to renew our appreciation for democratic liberal political ideals, and includes an extensive treatment of Brennan's judicial opinions, which places them in relation to opposing communitarian and libertarian positions. Michelman also draws on the views of two other prominent constitutional theorists, Robert Post and Ronald Dworkin, to build a provocative discussion of whether democracy is best conceived as a "procedural" or a "substantive" ideal.

Industry Reviews

"Michelman has crafted a provocative book on democratic constitutionalism that deserves serious attention by persons interested not simply in Brennan's legal thought but in the debate on what makes for a decent and legitimate democracy."--David E. Marion, Political Science Quarterly "Clearly the justice would be pleased by the provocative, thoughtful, craftsmanship of this work... [A] fine contribution to scholarship..."--Choice

Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Brennan's Constitutional Democracyp. 3
Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theoryp. 3
The Paradox of Constitutional Democracyp. 4
Democracy, Individuals, and Self-Governmentp. 11
The Substantive Conception of Democracyp. 16
A Paradox of Democratic Commitmentp. 33
The Procedural Conception of Democracyp. 34
The Remaining Possibility for Self-Government in Politicsp. 51
Politics and Knowledgep. 54
Distruct and Democracy (Responsive Democracy with a Difference)p. 57
Brennan on Democracyp. 60
Brennan's Democratic Liberalismp. 63
The Judge as Political Theoristp. 63
Liberal Political Thoughtp. 65
Justice Brennan and Liberal "Romance"p. 68
Communityp. 89
Equality, Groups, and Positive Social Rightsp. 119
Summation: Who Is Brennan to Us?p. 133
Epiloguep. 139
Indexp. 147
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691122496
ISBN-10: 0691122490
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 160
Published: 6th February 2005
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.25