Somin Book Excerpt Published in SF, LA Daily Journals

An excerpt of Professor Ilya Somin's new book, Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government Is Smarter, appeared in both the Los Angeles Daily Journal and the San Francisco Daily Journal newspapers on October 4.

In an article headlined, "Smaller is smarter when political ignorance abounds," the newspaper ran an excerpt from Somin's book that deals with countermajoritarian difficulty and judicial review.

Somin's book is available here.

Smaller is smarter when political ignorance abounds, San Francisco Daily Journal, October 4, 2013.

"Limiting and decentralizing government power can mitigate the problem of political ignorance. The institution of judicial review can also help with that task. By constraining the power of the elected branches of government, judicial review can reduce the complexity of the task facing voters, and also help empower citizens to 'vote with their feet.' Recognition of these potential advantages of judicial review also weakens the force of one of the main traditional objections to judicial invalidation of legislation: the so-called 'countermajoritarian difficulty.'

"The countermajoritarian difficulty has long been considered the most fundamental issue in American constitutional law. It is 'the central obsession of modern constitutional scholarship.' As legal scholar Alexander Bickel famously put it in his classic work The Least Dangerous Branch, 'the root difficulty is that judicial review is a counter-majoritarian force in our system.' For Bickel and innumerable later writers, judicial review was an anomaly because it enabled an unelected judiciary to override the majoritarian will of the people represented by elected legislatures. Since Bickel published The Least Dangerous Branch in 1962, a vast academic literature has addressed the countermajoritarian difficulty."