Monday, March 19, 2012

Marshall reviews Farhang, "The Litigation State"

The Law & Politics Book Review has released a review of The Litigation State: Public Regulation and Private Lawsuits in the United States (Princeton University Press), by political scientist Sean Farhang.

Reviewer Anna-Maria Marshall (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) introduces the book as follows:
In his fascinating book, Sean Farhang asks a big question – what is the role of the civil litigation system in the American regulatory state? Politicians from both ends of the ideological spectrum frequently bemoan the fact that the United States is a litigious society, but in those debates, they rarely admit that private lawsuits are sometimes the only way for people to claim the rights granted to them by law. Other political systems relegate law enforcement primarily to command and control agencies, yet American skepticism about bureaucracy and regulation renders such enforcement regimes politically controversial. Thus, in many realms of regulation, Congress makes ordinary citizens “private attorneys general,” authorizing them to implement the law when and where they see fit. Farhang’s analysis seeks to explain the institutional context that gives rise to these enforcement mechanisms.
Read on here.