Desegregation from Brown to Alexander: An Exploration of Supreme Court Strategies

Desegregation from Brown to Alexander: An Exploration of Supreme Court Strategies

Desegregation from Brown to Alexander: An Exploration of Supreme Court Strategies

Desegregation from Brown to Alexander: An Exploration of Supreme Court Strategies

Synopsis

This text, which analyzes Supreme Court behavior in confronting the political issue of desegregation in the period from 1950-69, suggests that the pattern of the Court's decision-making in this and other areas is discernable.

Excerpt

by Victor G. Rosenblum

THIS collaborative enterprise by a renowned law professor who is also a skilled political scientist with a distinguished political science professor who is also a brilliant analyst of legal affairs and with an able law student and researcher who majored in political science has produced a uniquely broad-gauged and insightful probe of the use of strategy by the Supreme Court as a policy-making body.

Utilizing the racial desegregation decisions from the enunciation to the demise of "with all deliberate speed" as their primary base, Professors D'Amato and Wasby and Ms. Metrailer dig deeply and lucidly into the norms and nuances of Supreme Court decision making.

With precision and sophistication they examine judicial techniques of case selection, choices of language and reasoning, criteria for deference and delay, uses of summary disposition and per curiam rulings, and the general judicial preference for incremental actions. They explore and explain judicial options and tactics in policy making ranging from "broad brush strokes" to "salami slicing" and "hit 'em where they ain't." They carry out their complex task without pedantry, cavil, or obfuscation by jargon. A pervasive concern for the practicalities and realities of judicial choice is evident throughout the volume.

Their incisive analyses of options and strategies in doctrinal development and articulation by the justices are models of integrative application of legal and social science skills. In addition to the clarity and ease with which they delineate the patterns and processes of judicial policy making, the authors achieve a major breakthrough in research into judicial behavior by correlating arguments before the justices with the contents of ensuing judicial decisions. What the justices said in their opinions is thus viewed in relation to what counsel urged in their briefs and oral arguments and what the justices inquired into and commented about in the course of oral arguments. This enables them to construe the cases as products of systemic development rather than as spontaneously generated, isolated fragments of judicial policy making.

The reader can't help but become intellectually aroused and extensively informed by this innovative, integrative volume that Professors D'Amato and Wasby and Ms. Metrailer have given us. The authors have . . .

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