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Book Review: Are Class Actions Unconstitutional?

Alexandra D. Lahav

University of Connecticut - School of Law

March 9, 2011

Michigan Law Review, Vol. 109, p. 993, 2011

This is a book review of Martin Redish, Wholesale Justice: Constitutional Democracy and the Problem of the Class Action Lawsuit (Stanford U. Press, 2009).

In Wholesale Justice, Redish argues that class actions are unconstitutional and must be significantly reformed. The argument he presents is one that will surely be debated in courtrooms as well as classrooms and is especially significant given that the Supreme Court is hearing four major class action cases in the October 2010 term. After summarizing Redish's arguments, the review demonstrates that class actions are both constitutional and consistent with ideals of democratic accountability. In the end, the question is not whether the class action is constitutional (it is) but whether class actions are socially beneficial. This is a policy issue, not a constitutional one. Nevertheless, a broader point in Redish's book deserves serious attention. Too often procedures and remedies stealthily prevent the vindication of substantive rights. The appropriate solution to this accountability problem is a more robust public discussion of the relationship between rights and remedies.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 18

Keywords: class actions, constitutional law, separation of powers, checks and balances, accountability, democracy

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Date posted: March 9, 2011 ; Last revised: March 10, 2011

Suggested Citation

Lahav, Alexandra D., Book Review: Are Class Actions Unconstitutional? (March 9, 2011). Michigan Law Review, Vol. 109, p. 993, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1782066

Contact Information

Alexandra D. Lahav (Contact Author)
University of Connecticut - School of Law ( email )
65 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
United States
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