Theory Versus Practice

History Says That Practice Makes Perfect (And That Judges Are Better Too)

in Theoria
Author: Scott Merriman
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Theory argues that rights-based judicial review fails because it does not have popular support. However, examining actual events in battles over freedom of speech, privacy and civil rights demonstrates that this theory often fails when applied. Those arrested during the First World War in America often only received redress through administrative agencies. Civil rights protestors' experiences prove that the federal courts were the only ones generally to protect their rights, and that the legislatures failed to act. Similarly, judicial review increased the freedom of the press during the 1960s, which in turn boosted the civil rights movement. Finally, it was the courts which helped Americans to realize their right to privacy. Included in that right to privacy was the right for people to marry regardless of their race. Overall, courts and administrative agencies, particularly at the federal level, do a better job at protecting rights than legislatures.


A Journal of Social and Political Theory


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