The conservative majority that has dominated the Supreme Court for over a decade was engineered by presidents who claimed to have depoliticized the courts and promoted judicial restraint. Yet the result has been a steady stream of opinions that limit individual rights far more than is commonly understood. In With Liberty and Justice for Some, David Kairys presents a fascinating analysis of the changes brought about by the Reagan-Bush courts, changes that will long outlive those administrations.
Kairys examines thirty-one major Supreme Court decisions—covering rights of expression, participation in the political process, religion, equality, privacy and due process—and argues that the liberal decisions of the 1960s and early 1970s were an aberration in a larger, conservative pattern. Kairys, focusing on the stories of the people involved, highlights the ongoing erosion of principles and rules typically thought to embody American notions of freedom. He criticizes both conservative and liberal rules and reasoning, and explores other alternatives.With Liberty and Justice for Some is a revealing and accessible exposé of the role of law, the state of democracy, and the retrenchment of our individual rights over the last two decades.