ERIC Number: ED231299
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May-12
Reference Count: 0
Address of the Attorney General of the United States, at the University of Southern California Law Center Graduation Ceremony (Los Angeles, California, May 12, 1983).
Smith, William French
Perspectives on the relationship of the legal profession to the changing nature of American society are discussed by Attorney General Smith. He proposes the idea that the courts, without constitutional warrant, have struck down actions by legislative bodies and brought about new rights (i.e., government by judicial decree). He suggests that government by judicial decree has promoted the view that the only avenue to justice lies through the courts. An erosion of restraint by the courts has occurred in matters of standing, ripeness, mootness, and political questions. At the same time, there has been an expansion of several doctrines by which state and federal statutes have been declared unconstitutional, in particular, the analyses that have multiplied so-called "fundamental rights" and "suspect classes." In addition, there has been an extravagant use of mandatory injunctions and remedial decrees. The lack of judicial restraint has led to a substitution of judicial judgment for legislative and executive judgment. Lawyers should urge self-restraint upon the courts and nonjudicial routes to justice. Finally, the law school curriculum should include the law and legal institutions of America's founding period. (SW)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Department of Justice, Washington, DC.