The Intersection of Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure: Review of Wholesale Justice—Constitutional Democracy and the Problem of the Class Action Lawsuit

Douglas G. Smith | March 31, 2010

Much ink has been spilled over the class action device. Commentators have thoroughly analyzed both the plain language and intent behind the federal rules authorizing the aggregation of claims in a single lawsuit as well as the policy implications of the class action in both theory and practice. Seldom does a work break new ground in a field that has been plowed as often as that of class actions. Martin Redish’s Wholesale Justice: Constitutional Democracy and the Problem of the Class Action Lawsuit is the rare exception. In Wholesale Justice, Professor Redish provides a thorough analysis of the constitutional implications of the class action mechanism. Unlike prior commentators and courts, which have focused mainly on limited constitutional issues arising in class action cases, Professor Redish’s analysis sweeps more broadly. In the process, he brings to bear principles of constitutional law that have long lain dormant in the field of class action practice. His insights demonstrate that more than mere practical or policy concerns arise when class action procedures are used. Rather, they implicate—and often infringe—fundamental principles of constitutional law.