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Trials of the State: Law and the Decline of Politics

Jonathan Sumption



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05 November 2019
Politics & government; Jurisprudence & philosophy of law
In the past few decades, legislatures throughout the world have suffered from gridlock. In democracies, laws and policies are just as soon unpicked as made. It seems that Congress and Parliaments cannot forge progress or consensus. Moreover, courts often overturn decisions made by elected representatives.

In the absence of effective politicians, many turn to the courts to solve political and moral questions. Rulings from the Supreme Courts in the United States and United Kingdom, or the European court in Strasbourg may seem to end the debate but the division and debate does not subside. In fact, the absence of democratic accountability leads to radicalisation. Judicial overreach cannot make up for the shortcomings of politicians. This is especially acute in the field of human rights. For instance, who should decide on abortion or prisoners' rights to vote, elected politicians or appointed judges?

Expanding on arguments first laid out in the 2019 Reith Lectures, Jonathan Sumption argues that the time has come to return some problems to the politicians.
By:   Jonathan Sumption
Imprint:   Profile
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   Main
Dimensions:   Height: 204mm,  Width: 138mm,  Spine: 17mm
Weight:   248g
ISBN:   9781788163729
ISBN 10:   1788163729
Pages:   128
Publication Date:   05 November 2019
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Out of Print

Jonathan Sumption, Lord Sumption, is a British judge and historian. He served as a Justice of the Supreme Court from 2012 to 2018. He has written several books of Medieval history including The Age of Pilgrimage, the Albigensian Crusade, and four books on the Hundred Years' War, the third of which, Divided Houses, won the 2009 Wolfson History Prize. His previous books were published by Faber & Faber.

Reviews for Trials of the State: Law and the Decline of Politics

brisk, entertaining, brilliant ... one of the great lawyers of our time -- Bryan Appleyard * the Sunday Times * magisterial -- Edward Fennell * the Times * The book is hard going, but rewarding. Sumption.... leads his readers persuasively to positions which, when they stop to think, they may not find comfortable -- Michael Fry * The National (Scotland) * Elegant and crisply argued (Best Politics and Current Affairs Books of 2019) -- Robbie Millen * The Times * Sumption examines the increasingly difficult relationship between government and the courts... a former Supreme Court judge,[he] seems rather gloomy about democracy's future, but has produced a very readable analysis (The best current affairs and politics books of 2019) -- Roland White * The Sunday Times *

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