State University of New York Press

SUNY series in American Constitutionalism

Robert J. Spitzer

Published by: State University of New York Press

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SUNY series in American Constitutionalism

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Affirmative Action in Antidiscrimination Law and Policy

An Overview and Synthesis

Affirmative action has been and continues to be the flashpoint of America’s civil rights agenda. Yet while the affirmative action literature is voluminous, no comprehensive account of its major legal and public policy dimensions exists. Samuel and William M. Leiter examine the origin and growth of affirmative action, its impact on American society, its current state, and its future anti-discrimination role, if any. Informed by several different disciplines—law, history, economics, sociology, political science, urban studies, and criminology—the text combines the relevant legal materials with analysis and commentary from a variety of experts. This even-handed presentation of the subject of affirmative action is sure to be a valuable aid to those seeking to understand the issue’s many complexities.

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Body and the State, The

Habeas Corpus and American Jurisprudence

The writ of habeas corpus is the principal means by which state prisoners, many on death row, attack the constitutionality of their conviction in federal courts. In The Body and the State, Cary Federman contends that habeas corpus is more than just a get-out-of-jail-free card—it gives death row inmates a constitutional means of overturning a jury’s mistaken determination of guilt. Tracing the history of the writ since 1789, Federman examines its influence on federal-state relations and argues that habeas corpus petitions turn legal language upside down, threatening the states’ sovereign judgment to convict and execute criminals as well as upsetting the discourse, created by the Supreme Court, that the federal-state relationship ought not be disturbed by convicted criminals making habeas corpus appeals. He pays particular attention to the changes in the discourse over federalism and capital punishment that have restricted the writ’s application over time.

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Concurring Opinion Writing on the U.S. Supreme Court

Analysis of concurrent opinion writing by Supreme Court justices. When justices write or join a concurring opinion, they demonstrate their preferences over substantive legal rules. Concurrences provide a way for justices to express their views about the law, to engage in a dialogue of law with each other, the legal community, the public, and Congress. This important study is the first systematic examination of the content of Supreme Court concurrences. While previous work on Supreme Court decision making focuses solely on the outcome of cases, Pamela C. Corley tackles the content of Supreme Court concurring opinions to show the reasoning behind each justice’s decision. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis, Concurring Opinion Writing on the U.S. Supreme Court offers a rich and detailed portrait of judicial decision making by studying the process of opinion writing and the formation of legal doctrine through the unique lens of concurrences.

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Constitutional Politics in Canada and the United States

The Canadian constitutional reforms of 1982, which included a Charter of Rights and Freedoms analogous to the American Bill of Rights, brought about a convergence with American constitutional law. As in the U.S., Canadian courts have shown themselves highly protective of individual rights, and they have not been shy about assuming a leading and sometimes controversial political role in striking down legislation. In clear and easy-to-understand language, the contributors not only chart, but also explore, the reasons for areas of similarity and difference in the constitutional politics of Canada and the United States.

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Deciding to Leave

The Politics of Retirement from the United States Supreme Court

While much has been written on Supreme Court appointments, Deciding to Leave provides the first systematic look at the process by which justices decide to retire from the bench, and why this has become increasingly partisan in recent years. Since 1954, generous retirement provisions and decreasing workloads have allowed justices to depart strategically when a president of their own party occupies the White House. Otherwise, the justices remain in their seats, often past their ability to effectively participate in the work of the Court. While there are benefits and drawbacks to various reform proposals, Ward argues that mandatory retirement goes farthest in combating partisanship and protecting the institution of the Court.

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Defenders of Liberty or Champions of Security?

Federal Courts, the Hierarchy of Justice, and U.S. Foreign Policy

Examines the critical role assumed by the U. S. judiciary in balancing concerns about national security with the protection of liberty after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent responses by the U.S. federal government have raised fundamental questions about civil liberties in both domestic and international laws. As a result, the U.S. judiciary, out of its responsibility for interpreting the Constitution, has assumed a crucial role in defining boundaries of domestic and foreign policy, and in balancing concerns about security with the protection of liberty. Utilizing a sophisticated blend of quantitative and qualitative analysis, Kirk A. Randazzo examines two main questions: To what extent do federal judges defend liberty or champion security when adjudicating disputes? And to what extent does the hierarchal structure of the federal judiciary influence decisions by lower court judges? There are, he argues, disturbing indications that the federal judiciary as a whole are not defenders of liberty. Furthermore, lower court judges strategically anticipate the decisions of higher courts and constrain their behavior to avoid reversal.

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Ex Uno Plura

State Constitutions and Their Political Cultures

State constitutions have become increasingly important in light of recent trends in jurisprudence that favor decentralizing the American federal system. Ex Uno Plura uses a political culture approach to explore eight state constitutional traditions. McHugh argues that state jurisprudence is not merely a reflection of the process, values, and decisions found at the federal level, especially through the influence of the Fourteenth Amendment. A close examination of separate state constitutions, including their origins, sociopolitical cultures, and jurisprudence, reveals historically, culturally, and philosophically unique characteristics, each of which will contribute to the ongoing debate concerning American judicial federalism. The states included are Alaska, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming.

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Final Arbiter, The

The Consequences of Bush v. Gore for Law and Politics

The resolution of the 2000 presidential election by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore decision generated an extraordinary outpouring of literature in a very short period of time. Now that the initial furor over the decision has subsided, The Final Arbiter presents a sober consideration of the consequences of the decision for the law, the presidency, and the legitimacy of the American political system. The contributors include well-established names in law and political science, as well as up-and-coming scholars, offering a broad understanding of Bush v. Gore’s long-term impact. This book will be useful as a classroom text in both survey courses on elections and the courts and for advanced courses that consider the impact of judicial rulings on the government and political process.

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Friends of the Court

The Privileging of Interest Group Litigants in Canada

In the first book-length study of interest group litigation in Canada, Friends of the Court traces the Canadian Supreme Court’s ever-changing relationship with interest groups since the 1970s. After explaining how the Court was pressured to welcome more interest groups in the late 1980s, Brodie introduces a new theory of political status describing how the Court privileges certain groups over others. By uncovering the role of the state in encouraging and facilitating litigation, this book challenges the idea that interest group litigation in Canada is a grassroots phenomenon.

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Judicial Review in State Supreme Courts

A Comparative Study

Despite having the final word on many policy issues, state supreme courts have received much less scholarly attention than the United States Supreme Court. Examining these often neglected institutions, this book demonstrates that by increasing our knowledge of the behavior of state supreme court judges across differing areas of law, we can enrich our understanding of the function of state supreme courts, and the relations between these institutions and other branches of government. In addition, Judicial Review in State Supreme Courts advances our conceptualization of the judiciary and offers a more general theory about judicial behavior, accountability, and the role of courts in American society. Langer looks at the policy-making powers of state supreme courts, and the conditions under which justices are most likely to review and invalidate state laws, portraying judges as forward thinking individuals who pursue both policy and electoral goals.

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