Repugnant Laws: Judicial Review of Acts of Congress from the Founding to the Present

(University Press of Kansas, 2019)

Book Forum
November 21, 2019 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM EST

Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute

Featuring the author Keith E. Whittington, Willian Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Princeton University; with comments by Gregg Ivers, Professor of Government, School of Public Affairs, American University; and David E. Bernstein, University Professor, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University; moderated by Ilya Shapiro, Director, Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute.

Repugnant Laws provides a political history of how the Supreme Court has exercised the power of judicial review over federal legislation from the adoption of the Constitution to the present. The book draws on a first-of-its-kind comprehensive inventory of every case in which the court has substantively reviewed the constitutionality of a provision of federal law and either upheld the application of that statute or refused to apply it due to constitutional limits on congressional authority. The book makes use of the publicly available Judicial Review of Congress Database to reexamine how aggressively the court has enforced limits on congressional power over time. It also reevaluates the political relationship between the court and the elected branches of the federal government and revises our understanding of the history of American constitutional law. As battles over the future of the Supreme Court heat up, join us for a discussion of the promise and limits of judicial power and the ways in which the court reflects the politics of its time.