The role and power of the Supreme Court in the American system of government has long been debated, with scholars arguing both for and against the extent to which the Judiciary can produce social change. Klarman, Rosenberg, and Fisher all take a similar view that the Court does not have enough power to produce social change single-handedly, the only way the Court could produce social change is with the assistance of the other two governmental branches, the Legislative and Executive to enforce the court's decisions. With the limited power the Supreme Court has, the question of whether litigation can be an effective political strategy is also discussed by the aforementioned authors as well as the work of Peltason in 58 Lonely Men. Litigation had both costs and benefits in the period of civil rights, but regardless of the positive decisions that were made by the Courts, litigation could only generate significant social change with the help of the President and Congress.
[...] A goal of pupil placement was to exhaust all of Negroes resources in attempts for them to pass all requirements and in turn, would be dissuaded from filing suit in court. Southern states also enacted new laws whenever they felt Negroes were gaining steam in the courtroom, even though it was the middle of litigation. law is on the side of the plaintiffs, but their opponents have most of the advantages.” Segregationists continued to worry about the future of segregation in their states, so they attacked the NAACP, the leading organization in bringing lawsuits, head on. [...]
[...] desegregation took off after 1964, reaching 91.3 %in1972.” In “Constitutional Dialogues,” Fisher describes the role of the Judiciary in relation to the Executive and Legislative branch, as he believes that . constitutional law is not a monopoly of the judiciary.” The Courts are influenced by not only the President and Congress, but by public opinion, as court is very much a product of its time.” While Fisher believes that the courts are a place that minorities bring their concerns, as they “conclude that their interests will be best served through court action “they cannot initiate policy with the same ease as members of the political branches.” Like Klarman and Rosenberg, Fisher agrees that the courts do not have enough power to produce significant social change single-handedly. [...]
[...] Litigation as a political strategy did have a detrimental impact on the civil rights movement. Coercive tactics used by segregationists to scare potential Negroes away from becoming plaintiffs in race cases directly threatened theirs and their families well being. 1955 bombing of homes of Mississippi's NAACP leaders became commonplace.” Southern newspapers would publish the names of plaintiffs, guaranteeing threatening phone calls or letters, or even worse, damage to one's house or personal belongings. When the segregationists believed that the threat of harm was not working effectively, they began enacting certain regulations concerning desegregation. [...]
[...] Board of Education is usually the standard upon which scholars defend the ability of litigation to produce social change, but, litigation is a process of the courts, and because of that connection the benefits of litigation are limited. Litigation is in fact a good strategy as a starting point in attempting to produce social change, but there is a dead end up ahead for those who believe litigation alone will generate change. Works Cited Fisher, Louis. Constitutional Dialogues: Interpretation as Political Process. [...]
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