The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change?

Hardback
In follow-up studies, dozens of reviews, and even a book of essays evaluating his conclusions, Gerald N. Rosenberg's critics - not to mention his supporters - have spent nearly two decades debating the arguments he first put forward in The Hollow Hope . With this substantially expanded second edition of his landmark work, Rosenberg himself steps back into the fray, responding to criticism and adding chapters on the same-sex marriage battle that ask anew whether courts can spur political and social reform.Finding that the answer is still a resounding no, Rosenberg reaffirms his powerful contention that it's nearly impossible to generate significant reforms through litigation. The reason? American courts are ineffective and relatively weak - far from the uniquely powerful sources for change they're often portrayed to be. Rosenberg supports this claim by documenting the direct and secondary effects of key court decisions - particularly Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade. He reveals, for example, that Congress, the White House, and a determined civil rights movement did far more than Brown to advance desegregation, while pro-choice activists invested too much in Roe at the expense of political mobilization. Further illuminating these cases, as well as the ongoing fight for same-sex marriage rights, Rosenberg also marshals impressive evidence to overturn the common assumption that even unsuccessful litigation can advance a cause by raising its profile.Directly addressing its critics in a new conclusion, The Hollow Hope promises to reignite for a new generation the national debate it sparked seventeen years ago.