The Politics of Rights / Stuart A. Scheingold

This review appeared on my previous blog, Rat's Reading.

Cover of The Politics of Rights

This book I picked up for 75¢ at the Friends of the Seattle Public Library book sale last year. Stuart Scheingold wrote this treatise in 1974. The Politics of Rights is a look at the means and theoretical effectiveness of cause lawyering. Scheingold is a political scientist. This is an academic book. It’s dry. It’s boring. I skimmed some parts. Most of it was uninteresting, except for where he identifies why simply winning a rights case isn’t very effective, and but that having a judicial decision can be used as a base to energize and mobilize a constituency. Part three of the book examines the movers of shakers of activist lawyer (though not really by name). He breaks them down into three groups and then analyzes whether or not those groups will be effective in the long run. He concludes that a severe lack of excitement, numbers and funding will keep activist lawyers to a severe minority on the side of American politics. I mention this because I wonder what Sheingold thinks of this prediction 30 years later. Not sure I want to read any of his later books to find out if he changed his mind though. As I said, dry dry dry. Like the footnotes though. May go look up some of the book used in footnotes.