New Book Highlights Rehnquist Court's Judicial Activism
Feature Story by Corrine Yu - 11/22/2002The Rehnquist Court, through a series of 5-4 decisions, has displayed a level of judicial activism not seen since the 1930s, according to a new collection of essays evaluating the Court's record on a wide range of issues. In "The Rehnquist Court: Judicial Activism on the Right" (Hill & Wang), constitutional authority Herman Schwartz has assembled sixteen distinguished legal scholars, who address the Court's rulings on such issues as race, capital punishment, criminal procedure, gay rights, and disability rights. Highly critical of that record overall, the authors present an even-handed case-by-case assessment of the Court's dramatic shift to the right.
According to Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund board chair William Taylor, who contributed an essay on racial equality, "My guess is that readers of "The Rehnquist Court" will come away with two conclusions: first, that the Court's majority is unrestrained by principle; it is ready to ride roughshod over Congress, the states and the Constitution itself to accomplish its anti-civil rights and anti-civil liberties agenda; and second, that the greatest danger growing out of the November election is that we will have more Rehnquist clones populating the federal judiciary. The most important task facing civil rights advocates is to seek to defeat the confirmation of every nominee who has not demonstrated a firm commitment to equal justice."