October 27, 2010
THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT AND DEMOCRACY
Breyer, Stephen, Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View (New York: Knopf, 2010) (See Anthony Lewis, "How the Supreme Court Should and Should Not Work, New York Review of Books, Volume LVII, Number 11, 11/11/2010, 2-29. Lewis notes, "the Supreme Court of the United States today falls short of justifying its great constitutional function. A headstrong conservative majority is writing personal ideology into law. Freedom of speech is given novel and sweeping say when the would-be speaker is a corporation but is denied when the speaker wants to try to persuade terrorists to give up violence for peaceful politics. The court is riven by partisanship that justices even pick their law clerks in ways influenced by ideology. . . ." "Against this unhappy background Justice Stephen Breyer has done something unusual. He has written a calm, reasoned book about how the Supreme Court should do it work and how, in history it has sometimes failed the challenge. Fair warning: I am a friend of Justice Breyer. But I think his book is a remarkable contribution to educating the public about our constitutional system and those whose job it is to guard its boundaries." Id. at 27. In these blogs, in private and public conversations, and at my place of employment, I have expressed grave concerned about the deplorable lack of legal literacy in this country (even among lawyers and law students). Justice Breyer's book is, in part, an effort to encourage literacy about the function of the Supreme Court. EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!).