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Making Our Democracy Work

A Judge's View

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eBook published by Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book

Charged with the responsibility of interpreting the Constitution, the Supreme Court has the awesome power to strike down laws enacted by our elected representatives. Why does the public accept the Court’s decisions as legitimate and follow them, even when those decisions are highly unpopular? What must the Court do to maintain the public’s faith? How can it help make our democracy work?
 
In this groundbreaking book, Justice Stephen Breyer tackles these questions and more, offering an original approach to interpreting the Constitution that judges, lawyers, and scholars will look to for many years to come.

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Charged with the responsibility of interpreting the Constitution, the Supreme Court has the awesome power to strike down laws enacted by our elected representatives. Why does the public accept the Court’s decisions as legitimate and follow them, even when those decisions are highly unpopular? What must the Court do to maintain the public’s faith? How can it help make our democracy work?
 
In this groundbreaking book, Justice Stephen Breyer tackles these questions and more, offering an original approach to interpreting the Constitution that judges, lawyers, and scholars will look to for many years to come.

Product Details
eBook (288 pages)
Published: September 14, 2010
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307594266
Other books byStephen Breyer
  • Active Liberty

    Active Liberty
    Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution
    A brilliant new approach to the Constitution and courts of the United States by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.For Justice Breyer, the Constitution’s primary role is to preserve and encourage what he calls “active liberty”: citizen participation in shaping government and its laws. As this book argues, promoting active liberty requires judicial modesty and deference to Congress; it also means recognizing the changing needs and demands of the populace. Indeed, the Constitution’s lasting brilliance is that its principles may be adapted to cope with unanticipated situations, and Breyer makes a powerful case against treating it as a static guide intended for a world that is dead and gone. Using contemporary examples from federalism to privacy to affirmative action, this is a vital contribution to the ongoing debate over the role and power of our courts.

    Collaborative Governance

    Collaborative Governance
    Private Roles for Public Goals in Turbulent Times
    All too often government lacks the skill, the will, and the wallet to meet its missions. Schools fall short of the mark while roads and bridges fall into disrepair. Health care costs too much and delivers too little. Budgets bleed red ink as the cost of services citizens want outstrips the taxes they are willing to pay. Collaborative Governance is the first book to offer solutions by demonstrating how government at every level can engage the private sector to overcome seemingly insurmountable problems and achieve public goals more effectively. John Donahue and Richard Zeckhauser show how the public sector can harness private expertise to bolster productivity, capture information, and augment resources. The authors explain how private engagement in public missions--rightly structured and skillfully managed--is not so much an alternative to government as the way smart government ought to operate. The key is to carefully and strategically grant discretion to private entities, whether for-profit or nonprofit, in ways that simultaneously motivate and empower them to create public value. Drawing on a host of real-world examples-including charter schools, job training, and the resurrection of New York's Central Park--they show how, when, and why collaboration works, and also under what circumstances it doesn't. Collaborative Governance reveals how the collaborative approach can be used to tap the resourcefulness and entrepreneurship of the private sector, and improvise fresh, flexible solutions to today's most pressing public challenges.

    Regulation and Its Reform

    Regulation and Its Reform
    This book will become the bible of regulatory reform. No broad, authoritative treatment of the subject has been available for many years except for Alfred Kahn's Economics of Regulation (197O). And Stephen Breyer's book is not merely a utilitarian analysis or a legal discussion of procedures; it employs the widest possible perspective to survey the full implications of government regulation—economic, legal, administrative, political—while addressing the complex problems of administering regulatory agencies. Only a scholar with Judge Breyer's practical experience as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee could have accomplished this task. He develops an ingenious original system for classifying regulatory activities according to the kinds of problems that have called for, or have seemed to call for, regulation; he then examines how well or poorly various regulatory regimes remedy these market defects. This enables him to organize an enormous amount of material in a coherent way, and to make significant and useful generalizations about real-world problems. Among the regulatory areas he considers are health and safety; environmental pollution, trucking, airlines, natural gas, public utilities, and telecommunications. He further gives attention to related topics such as cost-of-service ratemaking, safety standards, antitrust, and property rights. Clearly this is a book whose time is here—a veritable how-to-do-it book for administration deregulators, legislators, and the judiciary; and because it is comprehensive and superbly organized, with a wealth of highly detailed examples, it is practical for use in law schools and in courses on economics and political science.

    The Road to Political Democracy

    The Road to Political Democracy
    From Plato to the Charter of Fundamental Rights...
    Between the seventh and the fifth century BC, the political regime in some city-states in Greece evolved from monarchy to a kind of government by the free citizens called democracy, and this book drafts the red line of this type of regime. It explains democracy’s four main Aristotelian features—the rule by turn, the rule of law, education, and the role of the middle class—and describes and cites the historical milestones in its evolution. Touching upon on all of the pioneering stages through which political democracy has passed, this account quotes, comments, and highlights the specific importance of the main writings of American, British, French, German, Greek, and Roman philosophers, economists, jurists, and sociologists, and provides an overview of the principal declarations and international treaties on human rights.

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  • "The stories this book sets forth are told from the point of view of one judge. I have drawn my own lessons from them. I hope they lead others to study the stories  and ponder their...

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