Summary Of Gerald Rosenberg's Book 'The Hollow Hope'

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Alex Frost Values: Law & Society 9/23/2014 The Hollow Hope Introduction and Chapter 1 Gerald Rosenberg begins his book by posing the questions he will attempt to answer for the reader throughout the rest of the text: Under what conditions do courts produce political and social change? And how effective have the courts been in producing social change under such past decisions as Roe v. Wade and Brown v. Board of Education? He then works to define some of the principles and view points 'currently' held about the US Supreme court system. Rosenberg first gives rough definitions of the "Dynamic Court" and the "Constrained Court," which he considers the two possible views to be held about the court system's influence, though he believes both are over simplifications by themselves. The "Dynamic Court" sees the judiciary "as powerful, vigorous, and potent proponents of change" (Rosenberg 1991, 2). Proponents this theory alone believe the courts have great power and influence to effect social change, but Rosenberg believes the 'mystification' of the judicial system has given this view more allure than truth. Under the "Constrained Court" theory, courts are "weak, powerless, and ineffective for change," have little power nor influence to …show more content…

The first is a "judicial" path, which is a direct outcome of judicial decisions such that the social reform occurs as spelled out in the ruling. The other is an "extra-judicial" path, in which the courts "do more than simply change behavior in the short run" (Rosenberg, 6), they accomplish widespread social reform by drawing a light to an issue and actually changing opinions. Extra-judicial efforts are very important for supporting a Dynamic Court, while a Constrained Court relies more on the letter of the law and rulings that follow the judicial

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