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America's Prophets: How Judicial Activism Makes America Great Hardcover – April 30, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0313377082 ISBN-10: 0313377081 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 165 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger; 1 edition (April 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313377081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313377082
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,666,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

With roots in the biblical prophets, judicial activism is a contemporary method of legal interpretation whereby judges base their decisions not on what they personally believe, but instead on the fundamental American values of liberty and equality.


More About the Author

David R. Dow is the Cullen Professor at the University of Houston Law Center, and the Rorschach Visiting Professor of History at Rice University. A graduate of Rice and Yale, Dow's areas of expertise include constitutional law and theory, contract law, and death penalty law. Working with students in his death penalty clinic, Dow represents death row inmates during their state and federal appeals. He is also the founder and director of the Texas Innocence Network.

He lives in Houston and Park City, Utah, with his wife Katya, their son Lincoln, and their dog Franklin.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Phred on May 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Back in 2009 when this book was published, and still in print. The term `judicial activism' was code for liberal judges ruling in favor of liberal causes. Now that we have very conservative Supreme Court and the likelihood that it will remain so, this term seems to have lost its sting.

Be this as it may, David R. Dow , Distinguished Professor at the University of Houston Law Center and visiting Professor of History at Rice University lays out a case in favor of judicial activism. He builds his case on a biblical division of legal power. He identifies the biblical judges as the priests who adjudicated disputes. The prophets were those who interpreted the words and by extension the will of God.

He gives the examples first of Rabbi Hillel famous summation of the old testament as being "Thou shalt not do unto others, that which you would not have done to yourself". He then quotes Jesus as having restarted this principle, except in a positive formula "Do unto others as you would have done to you." The special relevancy of these statements is that they encode a directive not to be found in any explicit biblical quotation. That is both formulas represent interpretations rather than strict readings.

He then opines that American Judges have the particular duty of stating when the rule of the majority has, or is likely to become the dictatorship of the majority. The older term he cites is the problem of the "tyranny of the majority". This term is a quote from James Madison's Federalist Paper No 10.

Clearly the importance of these sources is to make the case directly to the so called Christian Right, that judicial activism has both biblical precedence and the support of the founding fathers of the US Constitution.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David L. Jenkins on April 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
...on the impeachment methodology should the "Prophets" fail to argue, rule or hold progressively sufficient to our liking or in such a manner as to cause us to FEEL as if they were being prophetic.
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