The Role of the Courts in Contemporary Society
40 Pages Posted: 28 May 2009 Last revised: 30 Jun 2009
Date Written: 1977
To describe the role of the courts in contemporary American society is a Janus-faced assignment. It can be a description of what we are, or an expression of what we should be. To propose what we should be requires that we know what we are; to know what we are requires an overview of two centuries of American experience. This makes for a fitting Bicentennial treatment because the beginning point is both natural and familiar. This article surveys key evolutions in the courts these past two hundred years, and concludes with extensive recommendations and reflections on federalism, separation of powers, and the proper, limited role of the modern judiciary.
PDF scan posted with permission of the University of Pittsburgh Law Review.
Keywords: courts, federal courts, state courts, judges, judging, judicial process, separation of powers, federalism, judiciary, Aldisert, legal history, role of the courts
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