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Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State

Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State
How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons


Part of Cambridge Studies in Criminology

  • Date Published: June 2000
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521777346
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About the Authors
  • Between 1965 and 1990, federal judges in almost all of the states handed down sweeping rulings that affected virtually every prison and jail in the United States. Without a doubt judges were the most important prison reformers during this period. This book provides an account of this process, and uses it to explore the more general issue of the role of courts in the modern bureaucratic state. In doing so, it provides detailed accounts of how the courts formulated and sought to implement their orders, and how this action affected the traditional conception of federalism, separation of powers, and the rule of law.

    • Well-known political scientist and legal scholar join forces to explore the nature and function of the judicial process
    • The first sustained analysis of courts as policymaking institutions
    • A unique way of teaching law by focusing on process - similar to the case-study tradition used by Harvard Business School - rather than looking only at the outcome (appellate court opinions)
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ' … this book deserves recognition as a classic in the field of judicial studies. Although it sounds like hyperbole to call a book a 'monumental achievement,' Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State truly deserves that accolade.' Christopher E. Smith, Michigan State University in Judicature

    ' … this is certainly the best anyone has ever written about the prison cases. It is also the best anyone has written about judicial policy making.' Larry Yackle, Boston University Law School

    'Lawyers, and especially law students, need (and may not now get) a core of shared stories to understand our legal system, its evolution, and the role of lawyers and courts, and few stories pack the emotional wallop or are as inherently interesting as this one … These descriptions should be mandatory reading for law students and desired reading for any lawyer interested in the function of American courts or prisons.' Marc Miller, Stanford Law Review

    'Feeley and Rubin have produced a kind of tour de force in legal theory. Besides offering a lively history of the prison reform litigation itself, they have provocative and often incisive comments on core issues of constitutional theory such as federalism, separation of powers, and the role of the federal courts.' Daniel A. Farber, Law & Social Inquiry

    ' … judges would do well to read a new book by scholars Malcolm Feeley and Edward Rubin, Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons. It is an eye-opening account of how federal judges have gone beyond enforcing the Constitution to impose their own policy preferences on state and local government. The authors, respected scholars who approve of judicial policy making, reveal a secret that has long been suspected: Judicial supervision of prisons cannot be squared with federalism, separation of powers or even traditional notions of the rule of law.' David Schoenbrod and Ross Sandler, The Wall Street Journal

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    Customer reviews

    02nd Aug 2016 by Jplicea

    Renowned scholars, Malcolm M. Feeley and Edward L. Rubin and their brilliant book, JUDICIAL POLICY MAKING AND THE MODERN STATE, continue to be at the forefront of sociolegal academia - providing some of the most significant research, with a line of intellectual inquiry as old as the republic, regarding the impact the judiciary may have in relation to social change. Feeley and Rubin reinforce the University of California, Berkeley long held and undisputed status as the most prestigious public institution of higher learning in the world and with out a doubt one of the worlds leading authorities in Social Justice academia.

    Review was not posted due to profanity


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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2000
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521777346
    • length: 508 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 29 mm
    • weight: 0.74kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. The Case of Judicial Prison Reform:
    2. An overview of judicial prison reform
    3. Two classic prison reform cases: Arkansas and Texas
    4. Three variations on a theme: the Colorado penitentiary, the Santa Clara county jails and Marion penitentiary
    Part II. The Theory of Judicial Policy-Making:
    5. Defining the problem, identifying the goal, and rejecting the principle of federalism
    6. Creating doctrine, choosing solutions and transforming the rule of law
    7. Implementing the solution, muddling through and ignoring the separation of powers principle
    8. Conclusion
    9. CODA: assessing the successes of judicial prison reform.

  • Authors

    Malcolm M. Feeley, University of California, Berkeley

    Edward L. Rubin, University of California, Berkeley

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