1st Edition

The United States Supreme Court's Assault on the Constitution, Democracy, and the Rule of Law

ISBN 9781138222441
Published December 16, 2016 by Routledge
264 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

This book argues that the judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court, should embrace an interpretive framework that promotes equal participation in the democratic process, fosters accountability, and facilitates robust public discourse among citizens of all backgrounds. The authors propose a solution that strives to restore integrity to the Court’s decision-making process by eschewing ideology and a focus on the utility of outcomes in favor of an intellectually honest jurisprudence that gives all citizens a meaningful voice in governance.

The work is divided into seven parts. Parts I–V identify the worst decisions in the Court history and the common themes that helped produce them. The chapters within each part are dedicated to a single Supreme Court decision, in which the authors analyze the Court’s reasoning and explain why it undermined federalism, separation of powers, and democratic governance. Additionally, the authors explain why these decisions compromised the relationship between the Court and coordinate branches, the federal government and the states, and citizens and their elected representatives. Part VI identifies several of the best Supreme Court decisions, and explains why they provide a principled framework that can be applied in other cases and result in a pro-democracy jurisprudence. Finally, in Part VII the authors propose a comprehensive solution that should inform the Justices’ judicial philosophies, regardless of ideology, and strive to promote an equal and participatory democracy. The final chapter offers concluding thoughts and argues that a healthy democracy is the foundation upon which equality rests, and that a collective view of rights is the path by which to restore liberty for all citizens.

Table of Contents


Part 1: The Cases that Prohibited the Legislative and Executive Branches from Remedying Inequalities in the Political and Democratic Process

1. Citizens United v. FEC

2. McCutcheon v. FEC

3. Clinton v. New York

4. U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton

Part 2: The Cases in which the Court Inappropriately Deferred to the Legislative and Executive Branches

5. Chevron, Inc., v. Natural Resources Defense Council

6.  Korematsu v. U.S

Part 3: The Cases that Expanded Judicial Review at the Expense of Democratic Governance

7. Griswold v. Connecticut

8. Roe v. Wade

9. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey

10. Lawrence v. Texas

11. Obergefell v. Hodges

Part 4: The Cases that Weakened Individual Rights and Promoted Inequality

12. The Slaughterhouse Cases

13. Milliken v. Bradley

14. San Antonio School District Rodriguez

15. McClesky v. Kemp

16. General Elec. Co. v. Gilbert

17. Kelo v. City of New London

Part 5: The Cases that Encroached on State Authority and Individual Autonomy

18. Lochner v. New York

19. Wickard v. Filburn

20. Important Cases that Did Not Make the List

Part 5: The Landmark cases that Strengthened Democracy, Promoted Federalism and the Rule of Law, and Preserved the Court’s Institutional Legitimacy

21. Brown v. Board of Education

22. Washington v. Glucksberg

23. Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce

24. United States v. Nixon

25. United States v. Lopez

26. Texas v. Johnson

27. Gideon v. Wainwright

Part 6: An Interpretive Theory that Promotes Federal, Separation of Powers, and Principled Judicial Review

28. Is Democracy a Good Thing? The Arguments – and the Practicalities

29. Foundational Principles for A Pro-Democracy and Process-Oriented Jurisprudence

30. Applying the Foundational Principles To the "Worst" Supreme Court Decisions and Arriving At Non-Ideological, Process-Oriented, and  Pro-Democracy Outcomes

Concluding Thoughts

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Adam Lamparello is a law professor and attorney who has taught at Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana and Mercer University School of Law in Macon, Georgia.

Cynthia Swann is a law professor and attorney who has over twenty years of practice experience in Washington, D.C., and who has taught at the Appalachian School of Law.