Cato Supreme Court Review: 2007-2008

By Robert A. Levy; Ilya Shapiro et al. | Go to book overview

Introduction

Ilya Shapiro*

This is the seventh volume of the Cato Supreme Court Review, the nation's first in-depth critique of the most recently completed Supreme Court term. We release this journal every year on September 17, Constitution Day, about two and a half months after the previous term concludes and two weeks before the next one begins. We are proud of the speed with which we publish this tome—authors of articles about the last-decided cases have little more than a month to provide us full drafts—and of its accessibility, at least insofar as the Court's opinions allow for that. This is not a typical law review, after all, whose 100-page articles use more space for footnotes than article text. (I say this somewhat shamelessly, as the author of both the longest article in this volume and the one with by far the most footnotes.) Instead, this is a book about law intended for everyone from lawyers and judges to educated laymen and interested citizens.

And we are happy to confess our biases: We approach our subject matter from a classical Madisonian perspective, with a focus on individual liberty, property rights, and federalism, and a vision of a government of delegated, enumerated, and thus limited powers. We also try to maintain a strict separation of politics (or policy) and law; just because something is legal does not mean it's good policy, and vice versa. Similarly, certain decisions must necessarily be left to the political process: We aim to be governed by laws, not lawyers. Just as a good lawyer will present all plausibly legal options to his client, a good public official will recognize that the ultimate buck stops with him.

Having said that, let's take a quick survey of the term that was. October Term 2007 was characterized, as many have been in recent years, by several high-profile 5–4 decisions—cases about the rights

*Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute, and Editor-in-Chief, Cato
Supreme Court Review
.

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