2006 Summer Journal

By: The James Madison Institute / 2006



Message from the Publisher – J. Stanley Marshall

Recent court rulings and judicial confirmation hearings have put the spotlight on the role of the judicial branch of government. In this issue we present several different perspectives.

From the Editor’s Desk – Robert F.Sanchez

Is the current criticism of the courts just a matter of whose ox is being gored? Or are the fears of some of our nation’s founders coming true?

Letters to the Editor

George Blumel writes that the so-called “65-Cent Solution” [Fall 2005 Journal] is a political gimmick, not a true reform. He argues in favor of using market forces to improve education.
Articles: The Role of the Judiciary
The Agony and Ecstasy of the Early Supreme Court – Dr. Thomas V. DiBacco

The noted historian dissects the Marbury v. Madison decision widely perceived as establishing the U.S. Supreme Court’s authority to rule on the validity of statutes.

A Former Attorney General’s Wise Counsel on the Courts – Edwin Meese III

The man who served as the nation’s 75th Attorney General explains how the judicial branch fits within the governmental framework envisioned in the U.S. Constitution.

Preserving the Constitution: Parchment and Principles – Robert F. Sanchez

September 17 is Constitution Day. Archivists have gone to great lengths to protect the charter’s ink and parchment, but the courts have been less successful in safeguarding its principles.

Our Nation’s Founders Wanted an Independent Judiciary – Major B. Harding

The retired jurist argues that if you look at our nation’s founders’ principal grievances against the tyranny of King George III, the lack of an independent judiciary is high on the list.

A Defense of Conservatives’ Views of the Courts – Jason Gonzalez

An attorney active in the Federalist Society argues for an “originalist textualist” view of the U.S. Constitution wherein the document’s text says what it means and means what it says.

The Activist Journey of the Florida Supreme Court – Colleen Pero

The author, who has researched decisions of stat supreme courts nationwide, argues that Florida’s high court is an example of judicial activism gone awry.

The Courts as a Cash Cow for Florida’s Trial Lawyers – Robert “Jake” Bebber

Mr. Bebber cites research showing a correlation between costly lawsuits and the high cost of medical malpractice insurance – a cost that’s causing some Florida physicians to leave or retire.

When Unaccountable Courts Meet Dysfunctional Schools – Frederick M. Hess

Beware when activist judges try to micromanage school districts, imposing costs and making decisions properly reserved for officials such as legislators and school board members.

The Federalist Papers in Modern Language – Book by Mary Webster; Reviewed by Tanja Clendinen

This handy book indexes the writings of James Madison and Alexander Hamilton so that modern readers can appreciate their relevance to contemporary political issues.
Additional Articles
Who the Heck Was George Mason? – Dr. Thomas V. DiBacco

A Cinderella team’s rise to the NCAA basketball tourney title game (won by the University of Florida) had many fans wondering: Who’s George Mason? The noted historian explains.

Does Accreditation Guarantee Educational Quality? – George Leef

For an example of an arrangement that in any other context the media might call a blatant conflict of interest, take a close look at the much-vaunted accreditation process.

Why High School Kids Drop Out – Liam Julian

Thousands of kids leave because they find school boring and irrelevant to their lives.

Capital News Gets Neglected When Legislators Go Home – Jere Moore

The veteran journalist and former Cabinet aide to Gov. Bob Graham critiques the media’s failure to provide adequate coverage of state government’s many activities.

Liberal Bias Pervades Florida’s News Media – Lloyd Brown

For the former Editorial Page Editor of the Florida Times Union, a brief stint working in Gov. Jeb Bush’s press office confirmed suspicions of a pervasive liberal bias in Florida’s news media.

It’s Drill Now or Pay Later – Adam Goldman

Abundant energy is the key to Florida’s economic future. Safely tapping into the oil and natural gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico can be one element in a multi-faceted energy policy.
Book Review
The Tumultuous Sixties Campus Unrest and Student Life at a Southern University – Book by Dr. J. Stanley Marshall; Reviewed by Dr. John Earl Haynes

A noted expert on Soviet infiltration of American groups and institutions reviews the memoir of the man who led Florida State University during a period of campus unrest.