Cass Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard. His new books, Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas and Why Nudge?, will appear in March. (December 2013)
Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir
Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman by Jeremy Adelman
Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism by Sarah Conly
Grand Inquests: The Historic Impeachments of Justice Samuel Chase and President Andrew Johnson by William H. Rehnquist
The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change? by Gerald N. Rosenberg
Many of the biggest battles of the day—over health care reform, financial reform, environmental protection, workplace safety, civil rights—will ultimately be settled in court by lower-court judges in rulings that will get little public attention. The Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act, but some of the rules that are necessary to implement it may turn out to be vulnerable. Unlike presidents, judges often stay in their jobs for decades, and any president is in a position to shift the judiciary in major ways. Of course it is true that the 2012 presidential election will help to establish the meaning of the Constitution. Perhaps equally important, it will help to establish the fate of numerous rules designed to protect public safety, health, and the environment.