Item Details

Engines of Liberty: The Power of Citizen Activists to Make Constitutional Law

David Cole
Format
Book
Published
New York : Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group, [2016]
Language
English
ISBN
9780465060900, 0465060900, 9780465098514, 0465098517
Summary
" From an award-winning legal scholar, a stirring argument about the central role of citizen activists in shaping our nation's constitutional law Who determines whether gay Americans can marry? Who says whether citizens can own guns? And who decides on the fate of prisoners taken in the War on Terror? Most Americans would answer: the Supreme Court. While the rest of us stand by waiting for their decisions, the nine justices decide the fate of our freedoms. Overturning this conventional wisdom, David Cole argues that citizen activists are the true drivers of constitutional change. He shows that time and time again, associations of ordinary Americans have persuaded a majority of the justices to adopt their point of view and transform constitutional law. Revealing the tactics successful causes adopt, Cole offers a guidebook for anyone seeking social change, as well as a deeper understanding of how our Constitution actually works. An unexpected account of the power of small groups of committed people, The Spirit of Liberty is essential reading for anyone who has lost faith in political activism in our era of gridlock. "--
"Most Americans see the Supreme Court as the ultimate arbiter of constitutional freedoms. They are not wrong to do so: most of the major changes we have seen to our constitutional rights in the past 200 years--ending segregation, prohibiting sex discrimination, protecting political association--have come about because of decisions made by the Supreme Court. But as the award-winning constitutional scholar David Cole argues in The Spirit of Liberty, while the Supreme Court may be the final decision maker, it is not the true source of constitutional change. Citizen activists are. Many times in this nation's history, citizens have fought to get their causes on the Court's docket--and have successfully waged parallel battles in the court of public opinion, which often guides the Supreme Court's decisions. Through the stories of three successful campaigns--for same-sex marriage, against gun control, and for civil liberties in the War on Terror--Cole reveals how advocates and interest groups sway the Supreme Court and, in the process, rewrite constitutional law. "--
Contents
  • Vision
  • A marathon, not a sprint : Vermont
  • One step forward, how many back? Massachusetts
  • A victory lost
  • and regained : California
  • Losing forward : Maine
  • End game : Windsor and Obergefell
  • One state at a time
  • Revisionist history
  • Federal forums
  • Supreme recognition
  • People power
  • "Completely hopeless"
  • Korematsu's legacy
  • At home abroad
  • Messages and messengers
  • Transformative transparency
  • Obama difference.
Description
viii, 307 pages ; 25 cm
Notes
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Technical Details

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