ROSE V. COUNCIL FOR
BROWN V. BOARD
There is a divide in the political science literature on the role of litigation and courts in social policy conflicts, between research on legal mobilization, on one hand, and on judicial impact, on the other.
Several specific strands of legal mobilization research study actors' engagement in the legal process as component parts of broader social movement or reform activity. As noted in Chapter One, those who focus on legal mobilization often have a practical intention; they want to understand the interplay of law and politics in struggles for change so that research might play some role in informing action. The study of judicial impact typically begins with a court decision (or set of them in a policy domain) and seeks to trace consequences. Often, unintended or unanticipated consequences are of the most interest. Specific strands of this research also have a practical intention, especially when it comes to judicial interventions in complex social policy processes. Much of this latter work has been critical of “judicial activism.” When they intervene