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From renowned political theorist and Pulitzer Prize winner James MacGregor Burns, an illuminating critique of how an unstable, unaccountable, and frequently partisan Supreme Court has come to wield more power than the founding fathers ever intended
For decades, James MacGregor Burns has been one of the great masters of the study of power and leadership in America. Now he turns his eye to an institution of government that he believes has become more powerful, and more partisan, than the founding fathers ever intended-the Supreme Court. Much as we would like to believe that the Court remains aloof from ideological politics, "Packing the Court" reveals how often justices behave like politicians in robes.
Few Americans appreciate that the framers of the Constitution envisioned a much more limited role for the Supreme Court than it has come to occupy. In keeping with the founders' desire for balanced government, the Constitution does not grant the Supreme Court the power of judicial review-that is, the ability to veto acts of Congress and the president. Yet throughout its history, as "Packing the Court" details, the Supreme Court has blocked congressional laws and, as a result, often derailed progressive reform. The term "packing the court" is usually applied to FDR's failed attempt to expand the size of the Court after a conservative bench repeatedly overturned key elements of the New Deal. But Burns shows that FDR was not the only president to confront a high court that seemed bent on fighting popular mandates for change, nor was he the only one to try to manipulate the bench for political ends. Many of our most effective leaders-from Jefferson to Jackson, Lincoln to FDR- have clashed with powerful justices who refused to recognize the claims of popularly elected majorities. Burns contends that these battles have threatened the nation's welfare in the most crucial moments of our history, from the Civil War to the Great Depression-and may do so again.
Given the erratic and partisan nature of Supreme Court appointments, Burns believes we play political roulette with the Constitution with each election cycle. Now, eight years after "Bush v. Gore," ideological justices have the tightest grip on the Court in recent memory. Drawing on more than two centuries of American history, "Packing the Court" offers a clear-eyed critique of judicial rule and a bold proposal to rein in the Supreme Court's power over the elected branches.
Title: Packing the Court: The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court
Edition: First Edition.
Publisher: NY, Penguin: 2009
ISBN Number: 1594202192
ISBN Number 13: 9781594202193
Binding: Cloth & Boards
Book Condition: Near Fine
Jacket Condition: Near Fine
Item: 1.00 Item
Seller ID: 009413
Description: 326 pp. With table of justices and 42 pp. of reference notes and citations. Nearly new, slash mark on bottom edge. Slight soil on rear of dj. Tight, square. Text clean. Cover blurb from Barbara Kellerman of the Kennedy School at Harvard: "The book is past and present at its best -- a rigorous and revealing recounting of this most elusive and even reclusive of the three branches of government.Burns concludes with a clear caustion: that failure to reform the nation's highest court risks having it deviate still further from what the Founders originally intended." Jacket flap adds:".Much as we like to believe the court remains above the political fray, Burns recounts how often justices behave like politicians in robes. Now, more than eight years after Bush v. Gore, ideological justices have the tightest grip ont he court in recent memory." Size: 8vo--9.5 In Tall
Keywords: GOVERNMENT. JUDICIARY. SUPREME COURT. PRESIDENTS.