Cover image for The rule of law in America
The rule of law in America
Cass, Ronald A.
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Publication Information:
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xvii, 214 pages ; 24 cm
The rule of law : constraining officials' power -- Limited government : implementing the rule of law in America -- Judges' rule : presidents in the dock -- Ruling judges : partners in lawmaking or agents in application -- The weak agency model : judges as translators -- Problems and progress : the American legal system and the rule of law.
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KF382 .C37 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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What is the rule of law? Why does it matter? How well does America conform to the rule of law? And why do Americans, who profess such respect for the law, complain so often their legal system? Drawing upon extensive experience in law, government service, teaching, and research, Boston University Law School Dean Ronald Cass offers a contribution to the ongoing public discussion on law and society.

Author Notes

Ronald A. Cass is Dean and Melville Madison Bigelow Professor of Law at the Boston University School of Law.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Cass (dean, Boston University School of Law) focuses on the apparent disparity between Americans' commitment to the rule of law and increasing criticism of the US legal system. He opens with a defense of the fundamental importance of the rule of law, followed by an examination of the difficulties in its implementation. Next he argues that the Supreme Court's decisions in both Clinton v. Jones and the 2000 election case had valid legal bases. The remainder of the book uses the partnership and agency models of judging to examine how judges make decisions. In Cass's view, the weak agency model, in which judges are guided by precedent and written law and their decisions are generally predictable, encompasses most of the ordinary work of judges. Cass closes with an examination of bad rules, principles, decisions, and processes that can flaw the working of the rule of law, but he concludes that "all but a tiny fragment of the American legal system is quite controlled by law." He presents an effective and timely affirmation of the continuing force of the rule of law in the US. Recommended for general readers, upper-division undergraduates and above. R. Heineman Alfred University

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Rule of Law: Constraining Officials' Power
Chapter 2 Limited Government: Implementing the Rule of Law
Chapter 3 Judges' Rule: Presidents in the Dock
Chapter 4 Ruling Judges: Partners in Lawmaking or Agents in Application
Chapter 5 The Weak Agency Model: Judges as Translators
Chapter 6 Problems and Progress: The American Legal System and the Rule of Law