Clark Neily’s Book on Judicial Engagement

Clark Neily of the Institute for Justice guest-blogged here about “judicial engagement” last year, so I thought I’d note his new book, Terms of Engagement: How Our Courts Should Enforce the Constitution’s Promise of Limited Government. Here’s the Amazon summary (paragraph breaks added):

Government at every level is too big, too powerful, and too intrusive. But don’t blame just legislators and members of the executive branch for constantly overstepping their constitutional bounds. As Clark Neily argues in The Terms of Engagement, judges have more than their fair share of the blame.

While liberals seek court rulings creating positive rights to things like free health care and conservatives call for judicial “restraint,” the end result is same: greater government power and diminished individual rights. With compelling real-world examples and penetrating legal analysis, Neily’s book shows how judicial abdication brought us to this point and calls for “judicial engagement” to restore courts as the critical check on the other branches of government envisioned by the Framers.

Neily documents how courts have largely abandoned that vital role, and he offers a persuasive solution for the epidemic of judicial abdication: principled judicial engagement whereby judges actually judge in all constitutional cases, rather than reflexively taking the government’s side as they so often do now. Anyone concerned about the size of government, the sanctity of the Constitution, and the rule of law will find a refreshingly new perspective in this book written for non-lawyers and lawyers alike.