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Judicial Power and American Character : Censoring Ourselves in an Anxious Age - Robert F. Nagel

Judicial Power and American Character

Censoring Ourselves in an Anxious Age

Hardcover Published: 3rd November 1994
ISBN: 9780195089011
Number Of Pages: 198

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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.

"Professor Nagel's provocative book questions why an essentially undemocratic body like the Supreme Court should get the last word on the troubling moral issues of our day....An erudite argument."--Commonweal "The best analysis yet of the Court's method, and of the relation of its style to its purposes."--Chronicle "This is a major contribution to constitutional theory and practice, a significant work of social criticism, and a great pleasure to read. As for an originality of ideas, it is here in abundance. Professor Nagel writes from a perspective that pays enormous respect to the common understandings of society."--Lee C. Bollinger, Provost, Dartmouth College "A thoughtful essay on the role of the Supreme Court in our society....Highly recommended."--Choice "Professor Nagel's provocative book questions why an essentially undemocratic body like the Supreme Court should get the last word on the troubling moral issues of our day....An erudite argument."--Commonweal "The best analysis yet of the Court's method, and of the relation of its style to its purposes."--Chronicle "This is a major contribution to constitutional theory and practice, a significant work of social criticism, and a great pleasure to read. As for an originality of ideas, it is here in abundance. Professor Nagel writes from a perspective that pays enormous respect to the common understandings of society."--Lee C. Bollinger, Provost, Dartmouth College "A thoughtful essay on the role of the Supreme Court in our society....Highly recommended."--Choice

Introduction: The Court as Cultural Barometerp. 3
Watching Ourselves: The Thomas Hearings and National Characterp. 9
Inequality as Equalityp. 10
Offensiveness as Virtuep. 14
Careerism and Sexual Equalityp. 16
Careerism and Responsibilityp. 20
Moralism and Opportunismp. 24
Shaping Law: Elitism and Democracy in the Bork Hearingsp. 27
Bork against the Mainstreamp. 28
Bork as the Mainstreamp. 31
Meeting the Enemyp. 39
Marching on Constitution Avenue: Public Protest and the Courtp. 45
Judges as Politiciansp. 47
Marching and Advocacyp. 51
Legalism, Realism, and Edwin Meese's Heresyp. 56
Speaking before All Others: Interpretation as the Suppression of Disagreementp. 61
The Rule of Lawp. 64
Legal Traditions and Constitutional Rightsp. 66
Political Resistance and the Expansion of Rightsp. 71
Pursuing Visions: Interpretation as Moral Evasionp. 81
Sexual Speech and Moral Climatep. 83
Flag Burning and Political Ethosp. 91
Boundlessness and Adjudicationp. 96
Correcting the Political: Interpretation as Mind Controlp. 103
Regulating Sexist Speechp. 104
The Court and Consciousness Raisingp. 109
Mind Control and Censorshipp. 119
Arguing with Enemies: Interpretation as Invectivep. 123
Name-Calling in the Courtsp. 124
Judicial Restraint and Moral Heroismp. 129
The Ideal of Moderation in a Divided Societyp. 132
Restraint and the Judicial Machinep. 136
Censoring Ourselvesp. 141
Principle Ascendantp. 144
Principle, "Progress," and the Tradition of the Familyp. 147
Principle as Suppressionp. 151
Principle and Cultural Declinep. 155
Notesp. 157
Indexp. 182
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195089011
ISBN-10: 0195089014
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 198
Published: 3rd November 1994
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.6 x 16.0  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.43