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May 2003 Archives

In this valuable book, Ross Sandler and David Schoenbrod explain the courts, with the best intentions and often with the approval of elected officials, have come to control ordinary policy making through court decrees. These court regimes, they assert, impose rigid and often ancient detailed plans that can founder on reality. Newly elected officials, who may wish to alter the plans in response to the changing wishes of voters, cannot do so unless attorneys, court-appointed functionaries and lower-echelon officials agree. The result is neither judicial government nor good government, say Sandler and Schoenbrod, and they offer practical reforms that would set governments free from this judicial stranglehold, allow courts to do their legitimate job of protecting rights and strengthen democracy. [ed. 5/1/2004]
The most recent book from our editor-in-chief, The Rule of Lawyers explores how plaintiffs' lawyers in America have become lawmakers themselves. Typified by the $246 billion tobacco settlement, courtroom assaults have targeted HMOs, gunmakers, lead-paint manufacturers and "factory farms." Each massive class-action suit seeks to invent new law, and in the process to ban or tax or regulate something that elected lawmakers had chosen to leave alone. And each time the new process works as intended, the new litigation elite reaps billions in fees--which the lawyers invest in fresh rounds of suits, as well as political contributions. [ed. 5/1/2004]
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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.