51 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hottest issue in America today
With a ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California outlawing our Pledge of Allegiance because it contains the words, "one nation under God," and the case of Lawrence v. Texas in which a constitutionally protected 'right' to sodomy was discovered, there couldn't be a more informative and timely book or a better author on the subject of law,...
Published on September 27, 2003 by Lisa Ann Forte
6 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The payback against the courts is coming
We are stupid. We have let both local, state, and federal courts away with too many infractions too long. How can the problem be fixed? I don't know. Why? Well, if you say reform you can count on an alphabet soup of agencies, like the ACLU, to file suit. Want to know how bad the ACLU is? The ACLU defends groups like NAMBLA. Members of NAMBLA go out and kill little...
Published on October 14, 2003 by Bill Hensler
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51 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hottest issue in America today,
With a ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California outlawing our Pledge of Allegiance because it contains the words, "one nation under God," and the case of Lawrence v. Texas in which a constitutionally protected 'right' to sodomy was discovered, there couldn't be a more informative and timely book or a better author on the subject of law, precedent, and the role of the judiciary in America. Robert Bork presents factual evidence of worldwide judicial tyranny.
While the 11th Circuit puts the 10 Commandments in the closet in Alabama and the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals finds that a 4-year-old had no right to give out pencils that said "Jesus loves the little children" as Easter presents to classmates, we must ask ourselves: are we ruled by Law or by Men? To quote the author from one interview, "The nations in the West are increasingly governed not by law or elected representatives, but by unelected, unrepresentative, unaccountable committees of lawyers applying the law in accordance with nothing other than their own will."
How will you decide this issue of judicial activism? Will you champion various court decisions because they align with your worldview, despite the consequences to our unique constitutional form of government in America and the delicate balance of power and culture between nations? U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy cited *foreign* court rulings as a basis (in part) for his decision in Lawrence v. Texas, and Ruth Bater Ginsberg was later quoted affirming and defending that practice. The New York Times has reported openly and approvingly that judges are engaging in a "worldwide constitutional conversation."
Research through the pages of this book what in the world is going on with the judiciary. Become informed about why the unique foundations of American law and jurisprudence are vital to the freedoms we all hold dear and to civilization as we know it.
29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One Court, one vote.......,
Robert Bork's thesis is that "the rule of law has become confused with -- indeed subverted by -- by the rule of judges." This is, he contends, precisely what judidicial activism seeks to accomplish. The result, Bork argues, is minority rule, and the minority "at least for the foreseeable future" is the New Class, a group Bork describes as "overwhelmingly liberal [leftist] in its outlook." Readers, in my opinion, would do well to remember that Bork attacks judicial activism principally because it is anti-democratic. There is, he thinks, a strong tendency for activism and liberalism to arrive in the same package, but it is not inevitable. Yet, in the countries he examines -- Canada, Israel and the U.S. -- he finds a leftist judiciary usurping legislative power. More interesting, in my view, than his country-specific examples, was his discussion of the deference that Courts around the world are increasingly paying to international law, and international courts. "The major difficulty," he contends, "with international law is that it converts what are essentially problems of international morality, as defined by a particular community, into arguments about law that are largely drained of morality."
The validity of Mr. Bork's central contention is difficult to evaluate. It requires finding counter-examples, or their absence, in the mass of law he has surveyed. That is beyond the scope of the ordinary citizen (not to mention this reviewer). However, assuming Bork's argument is valid, two inter-related puzzles surface. (1) Why are we not seeing more of a backlash against the "rule of judges" in democracies that have experienced judicial activism? (2) Why are Courts continually held in high esteem? Discussing the case of Israel, Bork finds "less and less reason for the Israeli people to bother electing a legislature and executive; the attorney general, with the backing of the Supreme Court, can decide almost everything for them." Fair enough, but why, then, do Israelis continue the charade? Bork is aware of the problem, and he correctly notes that a range of factors might contribute to the apathetic response he witnesses. The one possibility he seems not to consider is that the thesis itself is flawed; that, however it may look to him, citizens are obtaining from Courts outcomes consistent with their expectations. Of course, such an answer would still not satisfy Bork: Courts are not just about outcomes, but about processes, and activists that stray from the intent of the law they interpret are writing law, not finding it. The underlying problem may have much less to do about citizens recapturing lost ground from allegedly wayward Courts, and much more about what it means to be a citizen. Bork's lamentation may be on target: "Perhaps a preference for immediate victories is part of the spirit of our times." Perhaps citizens are weary and cynical. Perhaps "the old civics lessons," which Bork believes are still sound, are evolving in ways that differ from the past. Coming to grips with these and other such issues constitutes, at least for me, the principal reason to read and contemplate Robert Bork's case.
18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insight from a good teacher,
The book offer a very convincing, if frightening, view of modern jurisprudence (sic, lack of "prudence").
Bob Bork completes the one-two-three punch by comparing the court activists in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. He traces the major activists back to their dirty, little holes. He accurately shows how judges, from many parts of the World, have replaced the rule of law with the rule of judges. Interestingly, the U.S., while in dire condition, is not the worst. Israel takes the anti-democratic cake. In Israel, the Supreme Court has made itself the arbiter of all laws and state policies, including defense policy and procedures. The Prime Minister and Knesset are a secondary part of government.
The common tread holding judges in such absolute, non checkable power is the vociferous public drubbing anyone takes who questions whether a judge's ruling is really law. This has led to most important "law" being made by unelected. It has dissipated the moral calculations of the legislature in favor of the moral calculations of the judges. They have become so bold as to ignore the black letter of the statute in favor of what they believe a "smart" legislature would or should have wanted to enact.
Bob Bork says that there are four approaches for correcting the fast slide into dictatorship. The first two deal with using the mechanisms in the Constitution to reign in the courts. But, since the courts don't really pay attention to the Constitution, he doesn't think these have any hope of success. I momentarily forget his third approach - equally short on probability of success. He says the best of the four is mere holding action: Attempt to change the law culture to spurn judicial activism in favor of (Justice Scalia's term) textual-ism. Frankly, Bork holds little hope for success for any restoration of the rule of law (verses rule of judges). Because, eventually, a judge will issue an activist ruling racketing the law in the direction of the minority, New Class.
I rate the book 4-stars because the material's presentation is a bit dry. But, you have to love this guy: After decades of service to his country, he continues to plug away in the service of ordered liberty. Thanks Mr. Bork for taking the time to teach about the law.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read,
By A Customer
Bork's conservative politics are readily apparent in his writing, but his legal arguments are logical and apolitical. Hopefully this book will remind conservatives and liberals alike of the importance of proper legislative process. Bork argues that constitutional and international laws have become political tools with which judges impose "new class" political outcomes. Judges in different countries, interpreting different constitutions (or no constitution at all) signed and ratified at different times, representing different political and legal cultures, come to the same conclusion: the law requires judges to implement liberal political outcomes. Bork's case is pretty airtight.
The best chapter is on international law as it pertains to military affairs. His argument is devastating, and changed the way I look at the UN and other internationl bodies.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sobering analysis of judicial activism,
Judge Bork knows first-hand just how politicized the judicial branch of government has become. He is, after all, the source of the new word "bork" - meaning "to deny Senate confirmation of a nominee, especially for a U.S. Supreme Court or federal judgeship, by use of sustained public disparagement".
More cogently, Judge Bork understands why the judicial branch is now so politicized and what this means for Western Civilization. This book is Judge Bork's thoughts and specific examples of how and why judges have usurped the role of the legislative branch in the US, Canada, and Israel.
Any reader of this book will understand Bork's views better if they know his history - and not just the fact that Bork was not confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. Judge Bork was a law professor at Yale in the 1960's. He probably was the only conservative law professor and there is a famous photograph of a confused Judge Bork standing by a pile of burning books torched by campus radicals. Understanding Bork's 40 year losing battle will help the reader understand the underlying pessimism and futility of this book.
Bork takes issue with court cases starting with the famous Marbury v. Madison case of the 18th Century which "established the principle of judicial review" (as I recall from school). He examines many recent cases where unelected and unanswerable judges have over-stepped their bounds.
This book also details the courts of Canada and Israel where the courts are even more dictatorial than ours.
I note that yesterday the Supreme Court of Massachusetts forced legalized marriage of couples whose only claim to marriage is having a perversion in common - even though just last year the Massachusetts legislature rejected such ideas. Clearly this book is timely and important.
Judge Bork marshalls support for his thesis well. The greatest strength of the book is his analysis of legal reasoning and the consequences of each case.
The major negative of the book is that Bork finds no solution and clearly he didn't design this book to offer solutions; he mostly just wants to point out the problem. Bork notes that the Constitution allows Congress to limit jurisdiction but this won't fix the problem because the state courts are just as bad (note the Massachussetts case above). He discusses and discards Constitutional amendment, choosing good judges (Bork knows first-hand the futility of this approach), and persuading the sitting judges to behave better through threats like impeachment.
In the final analysis, "the representative branches of government have no effective way of resisting the Court." Which means, God help us because we're screwed and there's nothing we can do about it.
Read the book. Love it or hate it, you have to respect it.
17 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Condemning Exposure of Court That Spins Constitution,
Bork is a precise legal surgeon. He slices the body politic open to expose the spreading cancer of judicial activism. Exemplified by increasing international law and judicial review gone awry, the results are drifting further away from our US Constitutional moorings. If the constitution has no primal meaning or intent, on what firm basis do we have any confidence in any legal ruling? If we cannot argue over "intent of meaning" than we are left to whatever controlling body is on the bench. The culprits provide no explanation, other than victory. In fact, Bork quotes the recent ABA president: "An attack on activist judges is an attack on our Constitution." Go figure!
In convincing and lucid writing, Bork concludes: "When it becomes apparent, as it has over and over again, that the courts are not expressing the meaning of those documents (constitutions and approved treaties) but merely using the documents as launching pads for the reforms they prefer, the claim of constitutionality is revealed as fraudulent."
What does the liberal left respond with? Name calling! See Ann Coulter's erudite research into this "Slander:Liberal Lies About The American Right."
Providing legal case history to support his contentions as he proceeds through international law, US Supreme Court, and Canada and Israel, Bork serves up more than adequate fear which "should" spread fear and terror in all American citizenry.
If only that would happen. That likely as Bork surmises would be the only way now to reverse what the Court intelligentsia has done damage to our system. Vote out all the New Class from politics, academia, and slowly bring back Constitutional judges so that the reversal of such judicial creativity to soothe their cultural dreams.
This is Bork's best work to date. He has provided us with clear treatment of landmark judicial activism. No more poignant than this dissent opinion by Justice Blackmun: "not because they contribute, in some direct and material way, to the general public welfare, but because they form so central a part of an individual's life. The concept of privacy embodies the 'moral fact that a person belongs to himself and not others nor to society as a whole." Bork replies: "No greater endoresement of radical individual autonomy or of sentiment more disintegrative of society has every before been articulated in a constitutional opinion."
Toss out the rule of law! Toss in the rule of judges. Lord have mercy on the 'ole USA. Interested parties will want to check out John Warwick Montgomery's "Law Above the Law."
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dogmatic Ideology at its Best...or Worst,
Whether or not one agrees with Robert Bork's opinions (I do as they are in the Goldwater libertarian vein) he has never been one to opine without an intellectual basis. The book uses a phrase that aptly describes the situation: lifestyle socialism. This is not legislating morality from the bench. Instead, it is forcing upon society, through judicial fiat, minority ideas that would never succeed in the proper law-making body (Congress). A long list comes to mind: Banning the Scouts, burning the flag, the war against religious references and symbols, abortion on demand, busing for enforced equality (an oxymoron), prisoner's rights (quote unquote), suing for lack of responsibility such as smoking or overeating.
He explains persuasively that this did not occur overnight but was a result of several factors - the monolithic leftism of academia, the one-world view of the major media and how one case of activism encourages others. Bork also explains not only the decisions but also the motives behind these decisions. As he has written and stated, frequently these are not conscious decisions but instead are responses to an anticipated reaction. Judges, like all people, respond to praise and comdemnation. They win accolades from society's elite - academia, NPR, CNN, Wash Post, Times, Hollywood - if they rule a certain way. They are also aware of the consequences of displeasing these groups. Once the Left realized its agenda would not advance in the legislature they turned to the courts.
The scariest part, and one that he alludes to, is what happens when people draw the line, when they say "that's enought"? We always been a nation of laws but paradoxically the relentless assault from the bench by those who legislate rather than judge will ultimately lead to a reduction of their power. Israel and Canada, two examples in his book, are close to reaching that point. He is not optimistic but not a complete pessimist. The book is not weightt, an easy read for the knowledgable layman.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointing, but on whole a good book,
This book is sketchy on the details of the history of judicial activism, focusing more on recent outrages in the United States, Canada, and Israel. Furthermore, it is clear the publisher is indeed THE publishing arm of the think-tank Robert Bork is a fellow at. Clear because it contains some arcane language and argumentation that only a person initiated into the higher eschelons of the legal profession could hope to understand. A mass-market publisher would probably not let the arcane language remain. Therefore, those seeking a basic and introductory work into the phenomenoh of judicial activism might wish to pass this volume by, for now. But for those seeking some red meat, or not afraid to start off in the deep end, this is a good book.
Exactly what will you find in this book? A nice introduction and rough outline of the history of judicial activism, and then a satisfactorily thorough examination of judicial activism in the countries mentioned above, within the last thirty years. Also, Bork does a good job of explaining the rise of so- called "international constitutional common law". This last part (though it comes first in the book) is indispensable reading for any American concerned with preserving the American way of life and his own personal freedom. There you will read about an important international court that asserts that they have authority over you and every other human being on the planet.
One final "word to the wise". This book, minus the notes and index is only 139 pages long.
13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Raises interesting issues,
The best review of this book would be indirect and to quote a letter to a web site that someone sent me from Norway:
"Dear Editor, Many Europeans express favor with the establishment of an International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC, in the spirit of internationalism, would hold jurisdiction over the many different cultures, peoples, and nations of the world. Since this is the case, it is quite odd that the legal framework of the ICC is based upon European legal traditions. Surely an
international body like the ICC would reflect and mirror the diverse legal traditions, values, morals, and mores found globally. In essence, the ICC, as currently established, is a New Colonialism whereby Europe would continue to exert its influence on the peoples of the world.
Considering the fact that there are more Muslims on the planet than Europeans, the "internationalism" of the ICC would be more clearly reflected if, for example, its framework was based upon the tenets of Sharia law rather than European law. The ICC could employ a council of ruling clerics to apply Sharia punishments for crimes found committed - punishments such as stoning, amputation, and beheading. Europeans, if they are truly interested in diversity and internationalism would have to allow
the ICC to reflect non-European legal traditions - Sharia law being one of them.
As of now, the framework of the ICC reflects none of the diversity and "internationalism" that Europeans appear to cherish. Instead, the ICC reflects a jingoistic, colonial mindset which may in reality be more in tune with what Europeans want. Indeed, the ICC would only prove to the
world that Europeans are not interested in the values and practices of other world cultures, but are instead solely interested in extending European culture throughout the world - in many places that do not want it. Indeed, the peoples of the world will be better off the sooner this nefariousness on the part of Europe is exposed and thwarted."
Now does tht not touch the nub of the issue Bork raises?
10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bork Speaks for Freedom,
This is a very important book. In it you will find exposed the horrendous harm that activist judges have imposed and continue to impose on our free Republic.
Those errant judges, Bork reveals, are legislating from the bench, enforcing a new ideology that he named "lifestyle socialism."
Bork calls those judges faux intellectuals of the Left who, unable to persuade the people or the legislatures, "avoid the verdict of the ballot box" by engaging in "politics masquerading as law." This is in violation of the U.S. government's "Separation of Powers" rule. We are "increasingly governed not by law or elected representatives, but by unelected, unrepresentative, unaccountable committees of lawyers applying no law other than their own will."
Bork shows how our Republic has been assaulted by a "coup d'etat" by men and women in black robes who have changed us "from the rule of law to the rule of judges."
Bork says the activist judges see their mission, not as upholding our Constitution, but as redefining it to coerce new behaviors on what they consider "a barbarian majority motivated by bigotry, racism, sexism, xenophobia, irrational sexual morality, and the like."
He shows how this group of federal judges is hellbent on destroying traditional values in the United States Republic. Some of them "make it up" as they go along, rationalizing opinions that suit their own ideas of what is right and wrong--opinions that have nothing to do with the Constitution and statutes enacted by the Congress.
Bloodless revolutions do not come only in military garb, and Bork exposes the bloodless revolution that is destroying the freedoms so many of us take for granted.
For anyone who does not take their freedom for granted, this book is MUST-READ!!
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Coercing Virtue by Robert H. Bork (Paperback - 2002)
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