Dumbing Down the Courts and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$12.98
Qty:1
  • List Price: $17.95
  • Save: $4.97 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges Off the Bench Paperback – September 17, 2013


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.98
$9.90 $6.99

Frequently Bought Together

Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges Off the Bench + At the Brink: Will Obama Push Us Over the Edge? + More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition (Studies in Law and Economics)
Price for all three: $43.96

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Bascom Hill Publishing Group (September 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1626522499
  • ISBN-13: 978-1626522497
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #411,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

''Dumbing Down the Courts is a critical read for anyone who seeks to understand the judicial confirmation battles of recent decades. Lott's meticulous research demonstrates that these contentious battles result from a politicized process in which both activist judges and partisan senators are to blame. When activist judges abandoned their limited, constitutional role and usurped the functions of elected legislators, senators reacted by using political litmus tests in assessing judicial candidates. The surest fix to drawn-out confirmation battles is to ensure that judges adhere to their proper role: to apply the law as it is written.'' --Edwin Meese, former U.S. Attorney General

''John Lott provides a powerful critique, amply supported by facts, of the rapid deterioration of the process for confirming federal judges. As courts have become more political and government has grown increasingly intrusive, battles over confirmations have grown more intense and partisan, with the result, Mr. Lott concludes, that the quality of the judiciary is endangered.'' --Robert Bork, former U.S. Appeals Court judge and Supreme Court nominee

''This book is a serious effort to identify and grapple with the current problems in our judicial nominations process. Unlike the many partisan works on the subject, John Lott does not lay the blame of our current troubles on one party's doorstep but demonstrates that there is more than enough fault to go around. Even those who disagree with the author's conclusions will be well advised to read this excellent book.'' ----William P. Marshall, professor, University of North Carolina Law School, and former Deputy White House Counsel to President Clinton

About the Author

John R. Lott, Jr., has held research and/or teaching positions at the University of Chicago, Yale University, Stanford, UCLA, Wharton, and Rice, and was the chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission during 1988 and 1989. A FoxNews.com contributor, Lott is the author of eight books, including More Guns, Less Crime and Freedomnomics. He received his Ph.D. in economics from UCLA in 1984.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
8
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
1
See all 10 customer reviews
We are Dumb for letting this happen...A must read Book..
Neal A. Barncard
Similarly, nominees who attended the best schools or served as clerks for the Supreme Court also faced difficult nominations to the circuit court.
Craig M. Newmark
The book contains several appendices with empirical details.
Douglas W. Allen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Craig M. Newmark on September 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
(Disclosure: I went to graduate school at UCLA with John.)

This book does a fine job of arguing a single, important point. Over the last twenty-five years or so individuals who would be the most effective federal judges are increasingly likely to suffer delays in being confirmed and are less likely to actually be confirmed. John states his thesis on the first page:

"Who are the nominees that make it through the confirmation process to become a federal judge? Are they the brightest people who have the most detailed and sophisticated knowledge of the law? Are the most successful lower court judges also the most likely to get promoted to serve on higher courts?

"Surprisingly, the qualities that make someone a successful judge also make them less likely to be confirmed for the same reason that smart, persuasive people are rarely asked to be jurors."

John supports his thesis in two principal ways. In Chapter 2, "Supreme Battles," he provides some anecdotal evidence. For example, the nominations of Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg were opposed effectively because they were considered too "brilliant"; Anthony Kennedy was acceptable because he wasn't considered as smart (pp. 75-76). Elena Kagan was confirmed with fewer votes than Sonia Sotomayor because Kagan was considered "more formidable" (p. 81).

John presents the bulk of his argument in Chapter 4, "Who Has the Toughest Time Getting Confirmed?" This chapter uses regression analysis to look at how nominees of different quality are treated. But what is "quality"? John uses two types of measures.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Buzz4 on January 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We are so screwed actually and factually with a court system that seeks to average out court cases with bias and moderation. If you are not a politically correct demographic our dumb down court system will victimize generations as a form of social justice having nothing to do with fairness and factually damaged parties. This book nails the problem and exposes so many fallacy's of what should have never become political or legislative. The court system is supposed to bring clarity, truth and facts to troubled matters, not the poison of agendas.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Ruden on January 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Dr. Lott gives us another meticulously researched work into the politicization of the judicial nomination process. The book is very readable, and for those who want to dig into the statistics, Dr. Lott provides plenty of graphs and charts in the supplements at the end. The book is not just aimed at lawyers but can be read by anyone who is interested in why the smartest judicial minds never end up on the bench.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Douglas W. Allen on September 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
Professor John Lott continues to write important public policy books that carefully document what many just suspect is true. In "Dumbing Down the Courts" Professor Lott shows how the increased reach of the court and its use as a quasi branch of the legislature has made nominations and confirmations more contentious. This has increased the costs for those nominated, has altered the pool of those willing to stand, and has changed the type of judge who can survive the process. The result is that those most qualified, those with the most impressive judicial credentials, and those most intelligent to decide complex cases, are less likely to be confirmed.

Professor Lott carefully documents the increased legislative role of the court, the increased role of the federal court, the increased political role of the ABA, and the costs of being nominated. Like much of his work, the book is full of statistics, graphs, and analysis. The book contains several appendices with empirical details. Some of the main chapters are based on his previously published work. It is well researched, and should not be dismissed out of hand.

As one who watched the Rehnquist and Bork nominations in a graduate computer lab, glad to have an excuse to avoid working on my academic work, I enjoyed his historical analysis of the watershed Reagan years.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fred McFarland on January 17, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The courts have become politicized. The confirmation process does not allow for the smartest, most academically qualified folks to achieve confirmation. The process has become too lengthy and cumbersome. Some well-qualified men & women refuse their nomination for the stated reasons and the fact that they are bombarded with too much private information that has nothing to do with their previous court decisions.The Senators are more interested in their ideaology then their constitutional beliefs. Judge Bork is one of the best examples (1987).
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Search