Courts Are Powerful Agents In Achieving Social Change By Gerald Rosenberg Analysis

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Professor Gerald Rosenberg, in his analysis on whether courts are powerful agents in achieving social change, highlights two main court views: The Dynamic Court view and the Constrained Court view. The Dynamic Court view holds that courts are successful agents in producing social change, while the constrained court view argues for the opposite (Rosenberg, 2). The American civil rights movement was an important demonstration in Rosenberg’s argument of the Constrained Court view (Rosenberg, 9). The Constrained court view maintains that courts cannot produce social change. In my response, I will deconstruct his court views to understand whether courts can produce significant social reform.
Rosenberg argues that there are three main factors as
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The Court does not possess the appropriate tools to implement their decisions. Courts cannot actively seek out appellants, appellants have to seek courts in order for their claims to be heard. The courts are described as the least dangerous branch of the government because the judiciary lacks the “influence over either the sword or the purse” (Rosenberg, 15). If the courts lack the political and elite support, the court’s decision will not be effective in its implementation; therefore, the decision will hold no power. Rosenberg argues that even if courts are characterized as producers of social change, it is a mere illusion.
The other view presented by Rosenberg is the Dynamic Court view. This view argues that the courts can be effective producers of social reform (Rosenberg, 21). Although the Constrained Court view argues that courts cannot be effective in producing social reform, I will explore the constitutional case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954) to prove that the Dynamic Court conditions were met which led the courts to produce significant social reform. I will highlight each of the constrains presented in the Constrained Court view to understand how the case of Brown had overcome
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This constraint suggests that courts effective produce social change because they lack independence to do so. After the Brown decision, there was not much seen in terms of judicial independence. There was much scrutiny that the courts were unable to produce social change because not much change was seen after the decision. However, the Dynamic Court view argues that courts can produce social change and Brown did ultimately influence the other branches of the government to intervene to support the decision. Eventually, in the 1960s, the congressional and executive branch began to expand their agendas to focus on the civil rights movement. They also actively passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act which enforced laws to end racial discrimination in

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