In her new book, University of Colorado Law Professor Emily Calhoun examines the obligations of Supreme Court justices to losing parties in constitutional rights disputes.
"Losing Twice" (Oxford University Press) argues that justices have an obligation to avoid and ameliorate harm to citizens whose arguments about constitutional meaning are rejected. Building on that straightforward proposition, Calhoun shows how the justices' failure to satisfy their obligation inflicts unjust harm on constitutional losers. She moves beyond debates about judicial activism to construct a novel legal framework for evaluating the legitimacy of the work of Supreme Court Justices.
The book draws on insights from many academic disciplines, but is directed at a general readership as well as academic audiences. It examines real-world constitutional rights disputes using language and concepts that will help any reader better understand why the Justices' resolutions of abortion, gay rights, and racial discrimination disputes can provoke such outrage.
With the book, Calhoun aims to remind readers of the relationship that ought to exist among members of a political community committed to equality and government-by-consent. She questions assertions that justices should be thought of as umpires in an athletic contest or as mere elite, legal technicians.