criminal justice

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Tushnet's A Court Divided By R. Anastasia Tremaine - February, 2005 Tushnet's A Court Divided Tushnet (2005) takes an insightful look into the current Supreme Court and what it means for the future in his work entitled A Court Divided. Much has been discussed about the Court, particularly since the 2000 election ended up being referred to the judicial branch of government. Constitutional law has always been fascinating subject, as it broaches the areas of guaranteed legal protections. Landmark decisions change the course of history and determine which rights the people have and have not. The book addresses the obvious problems. First, the author identifies the division between liberal and conservative judges. These two divisions have played a huge role not only in the court systems, but in the political arena as well. Because the president is able to appoint judges, many people believe that he will appoint someone like himself. A Republican president will appoint a conservative and a Democrat will appoint a liberal. Although this is largely the case, all too often surprises emerge. It should really not be a surprise at all that judges have their own minds and are not stereotypical. Brilliant men seldom have one mindset, even though they may lean one way or another. Still, the idea that the president may appoint chief justices does suggest that, like a game of chess, the future of Constitutional law is to some extent contingent on who is president. Depending upon the makeup of the court at the time, one appointment can change a great deal and shift the court either to the right or to the left. The author does admit that the court is divided by party or ideology, but he does contest the argument that a particular type of judge will always go a particular way. Rather, he looks at each individually and notes each of their distinct prejudices. The idea that the conservatives and liberals are at odds is not necessarily true and instead the author vies for a theory that shows divisions in certain subject areas. It is not necessarily the case that conservatives will side one way or another. For example, the author points out that many social issues are not ruled conservatively and this is because some of the fiscal conservatives on board are really just fiscal conservatives. ... ... middle of paper ... ...in accordance with a party platform. That said, whatever happens in the future, it seems that the Court is in good hands. By the time a judge is appointed, he or she will have been scrutinized and again, there is little in terms of predictability on which one can rely. Will the future of the court be more conservative if a Republican president must select a new candidate? It does not matter. Again, Tushnet's (2005) premise is that the court is divided by Conservatives. Bush is a quasi-conservative president as he does support many liberal views. Immigration is one example and the topic is tied to Constitutional law to an extent. In conclusion, Tushnet writes an excellent review of the Court, and one that helps the reader understand the decisions that were handed down in recent years, and why they were made. His easy writing style and attention to detail makes for a marvelous read for any law student or layman who wants to understand what makes the Supreme Court justices tick. Reference Tushnet, M. (2005). A Court Divided: The Rehnquist Court and the Future of Constitutional Law. New York: Norton, W.W. & Company, Inc.

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