Bomb Throwing, Democratic Theory, and Basic Values—A New Path to Procedural Harmonization?

Marcus, Richard | January 1, 2013

From the beginning of his career, Marty Redish has been something of a bomb thrower, repeatedly challenging legal orthodoxy. During the last decade, democratic theory has been at the center of many of his challenges to widely accepted procedural rules. Meanwhile, American proceduralists are gradually waking up to the reality that the rest of the world handles procedure quite differently. Redish’s theoretical challenge to U.S. procedure—premised on political theory—therefore also corresponds to efforts to harmonize American procedure more closely with that of the rest of the world. But the United States remains stubbornly resistant to that harmonization, and even limited shifts in the direction Redish endorses excite very vigorous opposition. This Article recognizes the ways in which Redish’s democratic theory could lead to greater harmonization with the rest of the world, but contrasts several other political theory explanations for American exceptionalism that support retaining our current methods. It concludes by recognizing that this tension presents considerable challenges to American rulemakers.