Jack Balkin

Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School. His most recent book, edited with Reva Siegel, is The Constitution in 2020.

Recent Articles

What to Do About the Court?

Not much. An activist Supreme Court may strike down laws, but it can also give them political legitimacy.

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Packing the Court: The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court by James MacGregor Burns, Penguin Press, 326 pages, $27.95 Something is rotten in the United States today, and it's the activist Supreme Court. The rantings of Rush Limbaugh? No, this accusation comes from a proud liberal, James MacGregor Burns, a Pulitzer Prize-winning political scientist who is the author of classic works on leadership and American government. In this colorful polemic, Burns marches energetically through the history of the Supreme Court, arguing that the Court has used its authority on the side of the privileged, the propertied, and the powerful and against the interests of ordinary citizens. Invoking original intention like a born-again Robert Bork, he thunders that the framers never wanted the Supreme Court to be able to declare statutes or executive actions unconstitutional. Although the book is styled as an attack on judicial review, Burns often approves of it when justices...