counter create hit The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change? - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change?

Availability: Ready to download

In follow-up studies, dozens of reviews, and even a book of essays evaluating his conclusions, Gerald 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 c In follow-up studies, dozens of reviews, and even a book of essays evaluating his conclusions, Gerald 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 as. 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, Second Edition promises to reignite for a new generation the national debate it sparked seventeen years ago.


Compare

In follow-up studies, dozens of reviews, and even a book of essays evaluating his conclusions, Gerald 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 c In follow-up studies, dozens of reviews, and even a book of essays evaluating his conclusions, Gerald 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 as. 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, Second Edition promises to reignite for a new generation the national debate it sparked seventeen years ago.

30 review for The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change?

  1. 5 out of 5

    Doug Clark

    In The Hollow Hope, Gerald N. Rosenberg’s detailed and fascinating study of the Supreme Court, he attempts to answer the question of whether the Court, or any court, can be an effective instrument for social change. To examine this question, Rosenberg first looks at two standard views of the Court: the Constrained Court and the Dynamic Court. The Constrained Court views “the courts as weak, ineffective, and powerless.” The Dynamic Court views the courts as “powerful, vigorous, and potent propone In The Hollow Hope, Gerald N. Rosenberg’s detailed and fascinating study of the Supreme Court, he attempts to answer the question of whether the Court, or any court, can be an effective instrument for social change. To examine this question, Rosenberg first looks at two standard views of the Court: the Constrained Court and the Dynamic Court. The Constrained Court views “the courts as weak, ineffective, and powerless.” The Dynamic Court views the courts as “powerful, vigorous, and potent proponents of change.” To these two views, Rosenberg offers a middle road which he calls constraints and conditions. Change, especially social change, can occur if the Court can overcome the constraints he states along with the presence of one of more of the conditions being present. There are three constraints: 1. “The bounded nature of constitutional rights prevents courts from hearing or effectively acting on many significant social reform claims, and lessens the chances of popular mobilization.” 2. “The judiciary lacks the necessary independence from the other branches of government to produce significant social reform.” 3. “Courts lack the tools to readily develop appropriate policies and implement decisions ordering significant social reform.” These three constraints must be overcome in order for the Court to implement social reform. In order to overcome one or all of these, Rosenberg argues that one, if not all, of the following conditions must be present: 1. “Courts may effectively produce significant social reform when other actors offer positive incentives to induce compliance.” 2. “Courts may effectively produce significant social reform when other actors impose costs to induce compliance.” 3. “Courts may effectively produce significant social reform when judicial decisions can be implemented by the market.” 4. “Courts may effectively produce significant social reform by providing leverage, or a shield, cover, or excuse, for persons crucial to implementation who are willing to act.” Once Rosenberg has stated his constraints and conditions, he then turns to examining the two decisions often hailed as producing significant social reform: Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and Roe v. Wade (1973). The first section of the book examines in great detail the evidence for the Civil Rights Movement and the part the Brown decision had on it. By carefully looking at the actions of Congress, the Executive Branch, Southern state legislatures and government officials, the print media, and other actors following the Brown decision, he finds very little evidence that Brown did much to help foster the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, little was done in implementing the decision until the passage by Congress of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. These followed the Freedom Riders and sit-in protests by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others. So, even though Brown was a significant decision, it did little in and of itself to foster racial equality. It wasn’t until 10 years later that Congress and the Executive Branch took any real action. Brown was not the great decision that Dynamic Court believers wished it to be. Turning to the abortion decision, Roe v. Wade, Rosenberg finds that prior to the decision, many states were already liberalizing their abortion laws. In fact, the number of abortions were higher in the late 1960s/early 1970s prior to Roe than afterwards. There could even be an argument made that the Roe decision helped to mobilize the anti-abortion forces. The one valuable result from the decision is that because the decision did not restrict abortions to being performed at hospitals, it opened the path for numerous clinics to provide abortion services. This was critical in that, even after Roe legalized abortions, many hospitals continued to refuse to perform them. Roe also was not a win for the Dynamic Court view, but it wasn’t a total win for the Constrained Court view either. It falls into the middle ground, called the Constraints and Conditions View. Following these two major cases and their impact, Rosenberg looks briefly at several other Court decisions involving women’s rights, the environment, and criminal rights. In all of these, he finds that his middle of the road view seems to best explain the impact of the Court’s decisions. He also argues that in these areas, especially women’s rights and environmental issues, that the reliance on the courts as opposed to political activism may have actually harmed these causes. The Hollow Hope, first published in 1991, provides a fascinating study of whether the courts can provide an impetus for social change. Although the answer is depressingly bleak for advocates that the Court can institute significant social change, the book still collects a tremendous amount of data and offers cogent explanations of what all the data means. Maybe the Court isn’t the best branch of the government to institute social reform, but it still can provide legitimacy to the change when another actor decides to attempt it. I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in the impact the Court has on our lives. I would love to see an updating of Rosenberg’s research. And for those dismayed at the direction of our current Court, perhaps this book offers some consolation in that maybe, in the long-run, what the Court decides has only a limited impact on us.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Adrien

    Misguided, it seems, but Rosenberg is good at stringing you along within the pseudo-academic style and dredges up thought. Plus what he goes over that was already widely accepted still has worth, I think. It's repetitive, sure, and he uses dubious framing devices, but lays out very clearly, which is of no small value, considering the complexity of the subject matter. Misguided, it seems, but Rosenberg is good at stringing you along within the pseudo-academic style and dredges up thought. Plus what he goes over that was already widely accepted still has worth, I think. It's repetitive, sure, and he uses dubious framing devices, but lays out very clearly, which is of no small value, considering the complexity of the subject matter.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Frank Stein

    In this book Rosenberg makes a well-argued case that the great Supreme Court cases of the 20th century, especially Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade, had no real substantive effect on American society. He also makes his point about the "Constrained Court" in other fields, including environmental law, legislative reapportionment, criminal procedure, and women's rights, but these are, he fully admits, sketchily examined. The heart of the book, and certainly the most convincing part, is Ro In this book Rosenberg makes a well-argued case that the great Supreme Court cases of the 20th century, especially Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade, had no real substantive effect on American society. He also makes his point about the "Constrained Court" in other fields, including environmental law, legislative reapportionment, criminal procedure, and women's rights, but these are, he fully admits, sketchily examined. The heart of the book, and certainly the most convincing part, is Rosenberg's fantastic dissection of the effect of the courts on the Civil Rights movement. He brings up every possible effect claimed by Brown's proponents and knocks them down one by one with detailed statistical analysis. Brown apparently didn't lead to any great change in people's attitudes towards segregation (for white Southerners support for desegregated schools actually dropped from about 15 to about 8%, and Southern governors in Brown's wake were notably more recalcitrant about desegregation). Brown didn't lead to any great increase in reporting of civil rights, donations to civil rights groups, membership in civil rights groups, desegregation of any forms of travel (the Supreme Court had ruled against unequal treatment in Pullman cars as early as Mitchell v. US in 1941, and segregated seating on interstate buses in 1946, to almost no effect). In fact, almost anywhere one looks in the field of civil rights, Supreme Court cases met with resistance in the South and deaf ears in Washington (from 1927 to 1953, in the Texas Primary Cases, the Court had tried repeatedly to open up the all-white Democratic Primary to blacks, again they were met with stony silence and resistance). Simple overloaded court dockets were another problem. The Southern Fifth Circuit was so crammed with desegregation cases at the time that the backlog for any sort of remedial action cases could be years. Rosenberg's point isn't that Brown was bad, but that the Supreme Court, without executive, legislative, or popular support, is almost completely incapable of enforcing its decisions, especially against other governmental bodies. There was almost NO change in Southern school segregation from 1954 to 1965, going from almost no black children in white schools to barely 1% (the border states were perhaps assisted in an already moving desegregation movement by Brown). In 1965, however, with the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the federal government was given millions of dollars to distribute to local schools, and HEW regulations made distribution contingent on desegregation. After this, the South moved rapidly. Only with this executive and legislative move was the Supreme Court's original goal of desegregation (which Thurgood Marshall claimed after Brown would be mainly complete by 1957) finally achieved. This book changed the whole way I looked at civil rights, and it also made well-stated, though arguable, claims about abortion and women's rights that deserve consideration (legal abortions in the US were on a sharp upward trend beginning in 1970, and on a graph of such abortions one can hardly see a blip or a change at the 1973 Roe decision). This book should be read by everybody who hopes to change American society through the courts. Rosenberg shows that they are apparently less effective than both their advocates and their detractors think.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    It's not often, especially as I get older, that I come across a book that radically changes the way I think about something important. This is one of those few books with that kind of power. Like most of us, I grew up hearing and believing the notion that major landmark court cases were instrumental in bringing about big changes to our society. The Supreme Court is viewed by partisans of all types as wielding enormous power to restructure our institutions. Decisions like Brown v. Board of Educati It's not often, especially as I get older, that I come across a book that radically changes the way I think about something important. This is one of those few books with that kind of power. Like most of us, I grew up hearing and believing the notion that major landmark court cases were instrumental in bringing about big changes to our society. The Supreme Court is viewed by partisans of all types as wielding enormous power to restructure our institutions. Decisions like Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade are historical milestones. Yet, Rosenberg puts forward an very convincing case that these decisions actually mattered much less than commonly thought. He systematically raises and debunks the arguments that these cases contributed to social change in meaningful ways, instead suggesting that social change is driven by larger societal changes that were already well underway by the time the courts made their rulings. His argument is strongest when he discusses Brown, which was decided by the court in 1954. Yet, by every conceivable metric, no substantial change occurred around the issue of school integration prior to the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965, a decade later. In the entire intervening period, schools and localities had no trouble skirting the court's decision. What they finally responded to instead were political incentives that those pieces of legislation invented, as well as the sea change in public opinion that was driven by the civil rights movement, and had little or nothing to do with Brown. He makes a similar, though slightly less convincing case for Roe v. Wade. In the 2008 edition, he has added a chapter making a similar argument around marriage equality, which in my view is the weakest of the examples he puts forward. So, I'm not as committed to Rosenberg's view as he is, but I still have to acknowledge the power of the argument. When I started the book, I found the premise preposterous. When I finished, I had to recalibrate some of my ideas about the history of the last century in a pretty fundamental way. The Hollow Hope is simply essential reading for anyone concerned with the basics of social change.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Whew, so many pages, for so lazy an author! ...OK, first off, I actually agree with his argument, and if I were reading the first edition of this book, I might have upped the stars to 4. But this is the second edition, which was published in 2008. The first edition was published in 1991. So much has happened on all of the subjects discussed in both editions between those two dates! I know, he really wanted to make a case explaining gay marriage using his theory. Fine. But would it kill him to up Whew, so many pages, for so lazy an author! ...OK, first off, I actually agree with his argument, and if I were reading the first edition of this book, I might have upped the stars to 4. But this is the second edition, which was published in 2008. The first edition was published in 1991. So much has happened on all of the subjects discussed in both editions between those two dates! I know, he really wanted to make a case explaining gay marriage using his theory. Fine. But would it kill him to update the other chapters in the process? We may not be at perfect pay equality yet, but we were certainly much closer in 2008 than we were in 1991. So why are all his citations on the subject still from the 70s and 80s? If really all he cared about was the last chapters, it might have been a better idea for him to just take those chapters and make a separate book. They were certainly long enough that he had justification to do so.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlyn

    I found this book to be very interesting. It presented a different perspective on the role of courts and social movements. The thesis of the book is that courts are not the catalyst for social change. Rosenberg went though and examined this through looking at various rights battles over the past century. The last section of the book examined the ongoing battle for same sex marriage and the role of the courts. The book is a little long for light reading but it was very interesting. It is an easy I found this book to be very interesting. It presented a different perspective on the role of courts and social movements. The thesis of the book is that courts are not the catalyst for social change. Rosenberg went though and examined this through looking at various rights battles over the past century. The last section of the book examined the ongoing battle for same sex marriage and the role of the courts. The book is a little long for light reading but it was very interesting. It is an easy read for layperson interested in hearing an alternative theory on the role of the courts as a policy maker.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alex Bloom

    Comprehensive. Rosenberg succeeds in persuading the reader that social change is best accomplished through means other than the Court unless particular (rare) conditions arise that allow for the Court to be an agent of change. While the thesis feels a little simplistic at times, and theoretically inclined readers might be left wanting a little more, there is no doubt that it's an impressive work. Comprehensive. Rosenberg succeeds in persuading the reader that social change is best accomplished through means other than the Court unless particular (rare) conditions arise that allow for the Court to be an agent of change. While the thesis feels a little simplistic at times, and theoretically inclined readers might be left wanting a little more, there is no doubt that it's an impressive work.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    An extremely thorough examination of the limited power of the judiciary to effect social change in civil rights and other key areas. Could use a third edition to update marriage equality chapters post-Obergefell.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Don

    This book does an amazing job of showing the why those seeking social change should not pursue their course through the courts. I took Gerry Rosenberg's class at the U of Chicago and really enjoyed his perspective. This is a must-read for anyone involved in policy implementation. This book does an amazing job of showing the why those seeking social change should not pursue their course through the courts. I took Gerry Rosenberg's class at the U of Chicago and really enjoyed his perspective. This is a must-read for anyone involved in policy implementation.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    Incredibly important book, but it gets less and less persuasive every time I come back to it. I mean, I generally agree with the argument, but the actual content here suffers a bit under the weight of the many critiques that have been made over the past few decades.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    340.115 R8134 2008

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lance

    Great work that assesses the effectiveness of seeking social change through the courts.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    Not buying the argument that courts did/do not contribute to civil rights

  14. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

  15. 4 out of 5

    Violet Starr

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amir El-Aswad

  17. 4 out of 5

    Teri Brandenberger

  18. 5 out of 5

    rachel

  19. 5 out of 5

    De'Andre Crenshaw

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsey

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Hopkins

  22. 5 out of 5

    Zac Macinnes

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

  24. 4 out of 5

    Taylor McKinney

  25. 4 out of 5

    Eric Murphy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Darla

  27. 4 out of 5

    Evan Binder

  28. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jade Lamb

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.