THE LEAST DANGEROUS BRANCH by Alexander M. Bickel

THE LEAST DANGEROUS BRANCH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Supreme Court is frequently in the news, and frequently under attack. It is unfortunate then that the majority of both the Court's opponents and its defenders have little understanding of what the Court is and what it does. In this book Mr. Bickel attempts to provide the reader with some comprehension of the role played by the Court in our system of government. In chapters 1 and 4 the author examines critically the classical position with respect to the establishment and justification of judicial review, he then proceeds to consider in some detail the nature and reach of the power of judicial review, as it has been exercised and viewed in the American tradition (through a thorough examination of recent decisions and commentaries by leading authorities in the field). The author conceives the role of the court to be three-fold: to check, to make legitimate, or to do neither. Special attention is given to the area of choice that is open to the Court in deciding whether, when, and how much to adjudicate; there is also detailed discussion of the important school segregation cases. The main drawback of the book is that much of the critical analysis of the court's function is too long and rigorous for the layman; on the whole this is a book more for the student of law and government.

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 1962
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill