The Deadman Night Rider

A forum for evening students of the SMU Dedman School of Law and other outlaws..

Thursday, June 09, 2005

This week’s Debate Club blog on Legal Affairs magazine’s website focuses on the validity of the concept of judicial review, as established in Marbury v. Madison. I’m going to put up a permanent link to this feature since it is usually pretty interesting.

Every week there is a new subject, and the participants are usually well-known academics or practicing attorneys. Defending judicial review in this exchange is Erwin Chemerinsky, the attorney who took the challenge to a Ten Commandments monument standing on the Texas State Capitol grounds brought by a homeless man in Austin to the Supreme Court. He definitely has the easier job, since he’s advocating a status quo that has been in place for over 200 years. It’s a little irritating, though, that when he goes through his roster of causes he repeatedly refers to a man sentenced to 50 years to life for stealing $153 of videotapes. That is absolutely not what he was sentenced 50 yrs to life for – it was for doing that after committing two other crimes serious enough to qualify for the 3 Strikes rule. I’m going into law school with an open mind, but if I can’t see coming out on the other end with a different opinion on that.

The main value in this debate is probably educational, since as a practical matter judicial review isn’t going anywhere – regardless of the merits or flaws of the practice, I can’t see judges voluntarily giving up that much power and it would take a Constitutional amendment to take it away from them.


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