Judicial Monarchs

Court Power and the Case for Restoring Popular Sovereignty in the United States


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About the Book

Who has the final say on the meaning of the Constitution? From high school to law school, students learn that the framers designed the Supreme Court to be the ultimate arbiter of constitutional issues, a function Chief Justice John Marshall recognized in deciding Marbury v. Madison in 1803.
This provocative work challenges American dogma about the Supreme Court’s role, showing instead that the founding generation understood judicial power not as a counterweight against popular government, but as a consequence, and indeed a support, of popular sovereignty. Contending that court power must be restrained so that policy decisions are left to the people’s elected representatives, this study offers several remedies—including term limits and popular selection of the Supreme Court—to return the American people to their proper place in the constitutional order.

About the Author(s)

William J. Watkins, Jr., a research fellow at the Independent Institute, is a former law clerk to Chief Judge William B. Traxler, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy, the Independent Review, and Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He lives in Greenville, South Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

William J. Watkins, Jr.
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 223
Bibliographic Info: appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6866-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8998-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by William J. Quirk      1
Preface      6

1. The Divinely Anointed Stuarts      9
2. Civil War, Restoration, and Revolution      31
3. Rethinking Sovereignty      55
4. Sovereignty and the Courts      74
5. Jefferson, Marshall, and Marbury      100
6. Curbing the Courts      119

Appendix A: The Agreement of the People, as Presented to the Council of the Army (October 28, 1647)      149
Appendix B: Kamper v. Hawkins (November 16, 1793)      152
Appendix C: Abbreviations Used in the Notes and Bibliography      186
Notes      188
Bibliography      208
Index      214