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Raskin argues that we are facing judicial activism of nearly unprecedented ferocity,

with the Court routinely striking down democratically developed federal laws

 
 

 

Overruling Democracy

The Supreme Court vs. The American People

By Jamin B. Raskin

 

Reviews

The Supreme Court has recently issued decisions announcing that citizens have neither a constitutional right to vote, nor the right to an education. Conservative judges have continually disavowed claims to any rights not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. In Overruling Democracy, celebrated law professor Jamin B. Raskin, argues that we need to develop a whole new set of rights, through amendments or court decisions, that revitalize and protect the democracy of everyday life. Detailing specific cases through interesting narratives, Overruling Democracy describes the transgressions of the Supreme Court against the Constitution and the peopleand the faulty reasoning behind them and lays out the plan for the best way to back a more democratic system.

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In Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court determined the American people have "no federal constitutional right to vote." But the Court's denial of this most basic right of democracy is the tip of the iceberg.

In Overruling Democracy,: The Supreme Court Versus the American People (Routledge, March 7, 2003, $27.50), Raskin argues that we are facing judicial activism of nearly unprecedented ferocity, with the Court routinely striking down democratically developed federal laws like the Violence Against Women Act, the Gun-Free School Zones Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, and affirmative action programs.

Meantime, the judiciary has interfered with democracy by wiping out majority-African American and Hispanic congressional districts; inventing "rights" for private corporations to spend unlimited funds in public initiative and referendum campaigns; upholding discriminatory ballot access laws that exclude third parties; and denying the existence of a right to equal spending on public schools.

Raskin argues that defending civil liberties is insufficient to deal with the current judicial "reactivism" because today the minority is stifling the rights of the majority. What needs to be defended is democracy. Arguing for a new "constitutional patriotism," Raskin urges a series of constitutional amendments to protect the democratic rights the Court has read out of the document. Taking fellow liberals to task for being afraid of constitutional politics, Raskin argues it is time to take the issue of overruling democracy directly to the people.

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This brilliantly argued and meticulously researched book both alarms and inspires. Raskin shows how the Supreme Court has used its own perverse version of judicious activism to attack our fundamental constitutional rights -- and he offers a vision for how to restore democracy to America. Overruling Democracy belongs on the reading list of anyone who takes citizenship serious.Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed

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Jamin Raskin brilliantly shows how political and legislative democracy are being scandalously curtailed and undermined by the Supreme Court, which has become law unto itself. Not a counsel of despair, Overruling Democracy also explains how we the people--with a little courage--can reclaim our democracy.Robert Kuttner, co-editor, The American Prospect

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American democracy thrives because people like Jamin Raskin, an eloquent, thoughtful and provocative small-d democrat, insist on reminding us of our aspirations to equality and rule by the people. You may disagree with some of his ideas, as I do, and still come away refreshed and even electrified. The old issue was liberal judicial activism. The new issue is a conservative judicial activism that could constrain the ability of the democratic branches of our government to solve public problems. For liberals, Raskin says, ‘it is time to let go of any lingering nostalgic enchantment with the Supreme Court.’ He's right.”E.J. Dionne, author of Why Americans Hate Politics

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Jamin Raskin is in the forefront of progressive academics who bring specialized knowledge to bear on the large pressing issues of the day in a language that is broadly accessible.  InOverruling Democracy,he offers a critique of American law and politics that is impassioned yet thoughtful, polemical yet informative.”Randall Kennedy, Professor, Harvard Law School

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Jamin Raskin offers a passionate vision of the Supreme Court as the guardian of participatory democracy in America. Even those who take a more restrained view of the role of judges will benefit from his powerful arguments and moral fervor.”Jeffrey Rosen, Legal Affairs Editor, The New Republic

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A gripping book about the Supreme Court's assault on the political rights of the people. This book is required reading for every citizen who cares about the fate or our democracy.—John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO

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Raskin's groundbreaking suggestions for a democratic political reform movement provide the reader with a brighter vision for the future of the American governmental system. —Congressman John Conyers, (D. Michigan), Democratic leader on the House Judiciary Committee

 

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Overruling Democracy

The Supreme Court vs. The American People

By Jamin B. Raskin

Contents

Acknowledgments

ix

Chapter One

The Supreme Court and America's Democracy Deficit

1

Chapter Two
The Court Supreme

11

Bush v. Gore and the Judicial Assault on Democracy
Chapter Three
Reading Democracy Out

31

The Citizen Has No Right to Vote and the Majority Doesn't Rule
Chapter Four
Unequal Protection

69

The Supreme Court's Racial Double Standard in Redistricting
Chapter Five
America's Signature Exclusion

91

How Democracy Is Made Safe for the Two-Party System
Chapter Six
"Arrogant Orwellian Bureaucrats"

117

How America's Electoral-Industrial Complex Controls
Our Political Debates and Gerrymanders Your Mind
Chapter 7
Schooling for Democracy

143

Chapter Eight
Democracy and the Corporation

171

Chapter Nine
Unflagging Patriotism

199

The People, the Flag, and the Constitution
Chapter 10
Democracy Rising

223

Overruling the Court, Reighting America
Notes

243

Index

279

Bio Sketch

Jamin Raskin is a professor of constitutional law and law of the political process at American University's Washington College of Law.  He is also director of its Appleseed Project on Electoral Reform and founder of its Marshall-Brennan Fellows Program, which sends law students into public high schools to teach a course in constitutional literacy.   A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School and former Editor of the Harvard Law Review, Professor Raskin has served as an Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts and as General Counsel to the National Rainbow Coalition.

Professor Raskin's prolific scholarship defines democracy as the central value of American legal and political institutions.  He calls himself a "political democracy" lawyer and has represented diverse individuals and groups, including the nearly 600,000 citizens of Washington, D.C. who challenged their lack of voting representation in the United States Congress; thousands of non-citizens successfully petitioning for the right to vote in Takoma Park, Maryland; third-party political candidates facing partisan discrimination, including Ross Perot and Ralph Nader; United Students Against Sweatshops, Global Exchange, and the Service Employees International Union in cases relating to union free speech rights; and the National Voting Rights Institute in defense of progressive campaign finance changes.  

Professor Raskin served on President Clinton's Justice Department Transition Team for the Civil Rights Division has also been a consultant to the national office of the ACLU.  Since his appointment in 2001, he has served as the first Chairman of Maryland's Higher Education Labor Relations Board, which has given thousands of workers the right to organize.  Professor Raskin has testified frequently before Congress on issues of voting rights and democratic participation.

Raskin's 1999 book, We the Students: Supreme Court Cases for and about America's Students (the Supreme Court Historical Society and CQ Press), has sold more than 25,000 copies.  The first casebook ever written for high school students by a law professor, We the Students collects and analyzes the 35 most important Supreme Court decisions ever handed down about the rights and responsibilities of high school students. Reviewing the book, Nat Hentoff called it "extraordinarily clear and compelling" and "the most important book" ever published by the Supreme Court Historical Society.  Historian Garry Wills called it "a model textbook," and Judge Kenneth Starr said of it: "Civics class will never be the same." 

Raskin has authored dozens of law review articles that have appeared in law reviews at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas, and many others.   His popular writings have appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the American Prospect, Slate, Salon, Legal Times, the Nation, California Lawyer, Newsday, George and numerous other periodicals. 

Professor Raskin's work on democracy, voting, campaign finance and the political process has been profiled and discussed in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Republic, the Nation and countless other newspapers and magazines.  He has appeared on major television and radio shows, including National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation, the Diane Rehm Show, the Kojo Nnamdi Show, PowerPoint, the O'Reilly Factor on Fox, Crossfire on CNN, the Sam Donaldson show, the Larry King show, C-Span, CNN, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, WTOP, WUSA, Pacifica Radio and dozens of local television and radio shows.

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign.  The Economy

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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