A one-stop opportunity to assess in the round a durable dispute on the political right, set off by a symposium in last November's edition of First Things. The journal featured a symposium devoted to the issues of whether America's judiciary has usurped the democratic political process and what could or should be done about it. The collection (whose contributors included the heavyweight likes of Hadley Arkes, Robert H. Bork, Charles Colson, and Robert P. George) touched off an immediate furor that has yet to abate among conservative intellectuals and their principal journals (such as the American Spectator, the Weekly Standard, and Commentary). This volume encompasses all of the original articles, several of which assert that citizens repelled by the activist excesses of ultraliberal courts that purportedly find hitherto unsuspected rights in the US Constitution would be justified in considering civil disobedience or outright resistance to their government. There is also a representative sample of the impassioned responses these essays evoked (inter alia, from William J. Bennett, Midge Decter, Gertrude Himmelfarb, William Kristol, and Norman Podhoretz). Finally, there is a longish last word entitled ``The Anatomy of a Controversy'' from Richard John Neuhaus, the Catholic priest who serves as editor in chief of First Things. Although American Tories share common concerns about bedrock matters like abortion, death (assisted suicide, euthanasia), and marriage (among homosexuals), the magazine's compilation suggests that they're a diverse and fractious lot given to spirited argument on ends versus means as well as the socioeconomic and moral or religious underpinnings of their political faith. In short, an instructive and ready reference to the debate on judicial restraint being conducted by the right wing of the domestic electorate—without benefit of coverage by the mainstream press.
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