David’s Hammer: The Case for an Activist Judiciary

(Cato Institute, 2007)

Book Forum
April 3, 2007
12:00PM to 1:30PM EDT
Featuring the author, Clint Bolick; with comments by M. Edward Whelan III, President, Ethics and Public Policy Center; and Jeffrey Rosen, Author, The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America.
Judicial activism is condemned by both right and left, for good reason: lawless courts are a threat to republican government. But challenging conventional wisdom, constitutional litigator Clint Bolick argues in David’s Hammer that far worse is a judiciary that allows the other branches of government to run roughshod over precious liberties. For better or for worse, only a vigorous judiciary can enforce the limits on executive and legislative action, protect constitutional rights, and tame unelected bureaucrats. That, Bolick argues, is exactly the role the framers intended the courts to play. Bolick showcases numerous real-world examples of people whose rights to free speech, economic liberty, equal protection of the law, and private property were violated by government–victims of government oppression whose only recourse is the courts. Join us for a provocative discussion, including incisive critiques from Jeff Rosen, who has argued for judicial restraint in the New Republic and in his book The Most Democratic Branch, and Ed Whelan, who criticizes judicial activism regularly in National Review and the Weekly Standard.