Gerald Rosenberg (University of Chicago, USA), The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring about Progressive Social Change?

On 18 September 2017, we received Gerald Rosenberg, from the University of Chicago and author of the influential book “The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change?”.
Professor Rosenberg began questioning how courts can promote progressive social reforms. He argued that there are three major constrains for this: the limited nature of constitutional rights, the hesitation of courts to make decisions that do not have broad support from the Legislative and the Executive and the Judiciary’s lack of power of implementation of its decisions. However, as Rosenberg contended, courts can still be effective producers of social reforms if there are ample precedent of change, substantial support for changes both in the Legislative and Executive branches and incentives to comply with judicial decisions.
Professor Rosenberg concluded that judicial strategies to promote social change will make little difference unless courts become partners of political branches that intend to implement reforms.

Virgílio Afonso da Silva
Author: Virgílio Afonso da Silva

Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Sao Paulo.