The Law: The Need for Reasons

THE Nixonian rubric laid upon the Burger Court is "Strict construction of the Constitution." If history is any guide, critics will soon accuse the court of ignoring this mandate in favor of personal opinions or even partisan politics. And the shrewdest critics will be the nation's ablest court watchers—the legal scholars who often find the court guilty of faulty legal reasoning.

Scholars have lambasted court rulings that go back as far as the seminal Marbury v. Madison decision (1803), which asserted the court's power to overturn congressional legislation. They gasp at the Dred Scott...

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