The Tea Party wing of the House Republican party is seeking changes in the rules and procedures. Changes designed to strip the Speaker of the ability to assemble a majority within the House and enable that majority to govern. They cloak their demands in the language of bottom-up democracy. But their complaints about John Boehner's leadership give away the game.
Protecting innocent property owners from overreaching law enforcement requires the abolition of civil forfeiture altogether. Until that occurs, judicial engagement is essential to ensuring innocent property owners get the legal assistance they need to force the government to play by the rules and give back what is rightfully theirs.
Time was, left-leaning legal scholars and commentators called for the courts to actively enforce individual rights against overbearing majorities. Today, some among them would prefer that judges largely stay out of the way--and they're worried that an increasing number of conservatives do not agree with them.
This week marks the anniversary of a decision that has stirred debate about the constitutional role of the judiciary for more than half a century. In a remarkable opinion signed by each of its nine members, the Supreme Court in Cooper v. Aaron (1958) stated that public officials in Little Rock, Arkansas, were required to implement a desegregation plan.
In the current political climate, the chances for comprehensive common sense gun control in the United States is only a pipe dream as long as the National Rifle Association controls Congress and state legislatures, for if they did not, we would have seen effective laws passed years ago resulting in countless lives saved.
In a word, no. The judiciary is not an exceptional, deviant institution in an otherwise pure democracy. The Constitution is pervasively countermajoritarian. It protects Americans against majority tyranny by providing that the government may act only when it has the authority to do so and by explicitly protecting individual rights.