Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Quotable: Dahl on the Supreme Court

Americans are inclined to believe that the Supreme Court is the deus ex machina that regularly saves American democracy from itself. This view is difficult to support by the actual decisions of the Court. ... there is not a single case in the history of this nation where the Supreme Court has struck down national legislation designed to curtail, rather than to expand, the key prerequisites to popular equality and popular sovereignty.

Source: A Preface to Democratic Theory by Robert A. Dahl (Chicago & London: Univ. of Chicago Pr., 1956) pp. 58-59.

Elsewhere on page 59, Dahl lists the "key prerequisites to popular equality and popular sovereignty" as "the right to vote, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press."

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