Americans cannot live with judicial review, but they cannot live without it. There is something characteristically American about turning the most divisive political questions - like freedom of religion, same-sex marriage, affirmative action and abortion - into legal questions with the hope that courts can answer them. In Judicial Review in an Age of Moral Pluralism Ronald C. Den Otter addresses how judicial review can be improved to strike the appropriate balance between legislative and judicial power under conditions of moral pluralism. His defense of judicial review is predicated on the imperative of ensuring that the reasons that the state offers on behalf of its most important laws are consistent with the freedom and equality of all persons. Den Otter ties this defense to a theory of constitutional adjudication based on John Rawls's idea of public reason and argues that a law that is not sufficiently publicly justified is unconstitutional, thus addressing when courts should invalidate laws and when they should uphold them even in the midst of reasonable disagreement about the correct outcome in particular constitutional controversies.
Ronald C. Den Otter is Assistant Professor of Political Science at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and his Ph.D. in political science from UCLA, where as a teaching assistant he won an award for outstanding teaching. Professor Den Otter has also taught undergraduate courses in public law and political theory at Cal State Los Angeles, UCLA, and Pepperdine University.
Acknowledgments; Introduction; 1. Public justification and constitutional theory; 2. Freedom and equality in constitutional history; 3. The challenge of public justification; 4. Competing conceptions of public reason; 5. Constitutional public reason; 6. The limits of public justification; 7. Standard objections to public reason; 8. Easier cases; 9. Harder cases; 10. The case for judicial review; Conclusion; References; Index.