Radicals in Robes: A Review


This essay reviews and critiques Cass Sunstein’s new book about conservative activists in the federal judiciary. After a discussion of Sunstein’s (somewhat misleading) rhetorical nomenclature, this essay argues that Sunstein’s proposed “minimalist” methodology in constitutional jurisprudence is beneficial, but not for the reasons Sunstein suggests. Sunstein alternatively justifies judicial restraint or incrementalism on epistemological self-doubt (cautiousness being an outgrowth of uncertainty) and his fear that accomplishments by Progressives in the last century will be undone by conservative judges in the present. Constitutional incrementalism is more convincingly justified on classical economic grounds. While affirming Sunstein’s overall thesis, this essay offers an alternative rationale for the same approach.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Constitutional Law | Courts | Judges | Jurisprudence | Law | Law and Politics | Law and Society | Legal History | Public Law and Legal Theory

Date of this Version

September 2006