No Litmus Test: Law versus Politics in the Twenty-First Century

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9780742550308: No Litmus Test: Law versus Politics in the Twenty-First Century
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The courts and, indeed, the law itself are under assault from both right and left. Conservatives denounce what they see as liberal judicial activism in decisions involving abortion, gay rights, and the separation of church and state. They seek judges who will 'apply' rather than 'make' the law.

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About the Author:

Michael C. Dorf is the Michael I. Sovern Professor of Law at Columbia University School of Law. He is the editor of Constitutional Law Stories (2004) and coauthor, with Laurence H. Tribe, of On Reading the Constitution (1991). He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy (1991-1992) and Judge Stephen Reinhardt of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1990-1991).

Review:

Written to be accessible to the intelligent layman while broadening even the seasoned expert's understanding, Michael Dorf's colorful, creative and invariably clear analyses of the most vexing constitutional controversies of our time add up to a compelling case for an approach to law and to judging that rejects the extremes of both right and left ― and emerges with a position more reasonable and reasoned than either and both more interesting, and more surprising, than a simple average of the two. (Laurence H. Tribe, Harvard University)

Professor Dorf strives for fairness throughout, arguing against fetishizing the law at the cost of losing valuable nonlegal perspectives. (Harvard Law Review, March 2007)

A distinguished law professor shows that law is―and must be―something more than politics by other means. Using contemporary examples, many of which the reader will find familiar, the author teases out a remarkably coherent theory of principled judging. This splendid effort takes the reader beyond hollow labels such as "judicial activist" and "strict constructionist" and gives important insights into the kind of thinking that we should look for in a federal judge or justice (Alex Kozinski, Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit)

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