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Majoritarian Difficulty And Theories Of Constitutional Decision Making, Michael C. Dorf Dec 2010

Majoritarian Difficulty And Theories Of Constitutional Decision Making, Michael C. Dorf

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Recent scholarship in political science and law challenges the view that judicial review in the United States poses what Alexander Bickel famously called the "counter-majoritarian difficulty." Although courts do regularly invalidate state and federal action on constitutional grounds, they rarely depart substantially from the median of public opinion. When they do so depart, if public opinion does not eventually come in line with the judicial view, constitutional amendment, changes in judicial personnel, and/or changes in judicial doctrine typically bring judicial understandings closer to public opinion. But if the modesty of courts dissolves Bickel's worry, it raises a distinct one: Are …