Why the Supreme Court Matters in a Presidential Election Year

An Entrenched Legacy: How the New Deal Constitutional Revolution Continues to Shape the Role of the Supreme Court

Book Forum
March 19, 2008 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM EDT


Featuring the author Patrick Garry, University of South Dakota Law School; with comments by Roger Pilon, Cato Institute, and Abe Krash, Georgetown University Law Center and Arnold & Porter LLP; moderated by Ilya Shapiro, Cato Institute.

This book takes a fresh look at the role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system. Although criticisms of judicial power often attribute its rise to the activism of justices seeking to advance particular political ideologies, Patrick Garry argues instead that the Court’s power has grown mainly because of certain New Deal-era decisions that initially seemed to portend a lessening of that power. The Rehnquist Court tried to strengthen the Constitution's structural protections of liberty but, according to Garry, this effort only went halfway because the Court relied exclusively on judicially enforced rights. A more comprehensive reform would require a return to a reliance on federalism and separation of powers as devices for protecting liberty.