• Heritage Action
  • More

Complex Justice: Missouri v. Jenkins and the Rise of Judicial Policymaking

Recorded on April 21, 2008

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

The Missouri v. Jenkins case is a prominent example of the perils of judicial policymaking.  Federal Judge Russell Clark mandated $2 billion of improvements to the Kansas City, Missouri school district, to be supplied by judicially-imposed property tax increases.  The case remains the judiciary's most ambitious attempt to usurp legislative power and take control of education policy.  Yet all the judicially-imposed requirements achieved little.  What are the lessons to be learned from the failure of this case of judicial policymaking?  And how should these lessons about the nature of judicial power guide our thinking about ongoing efforts of the judiciary to make policy?  

Joshua Dunn is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.  He is the author of Complex Justice: The Case of Missouri v. Jenkins, which explores the judicial attempt to desegregate the Kansas City, Missouri school system.  He is co-author, with Martha Derthick, of a quarterly article on law and education for the journal Education Next.  Previously he taught at the College of William & Mary and was a fellow in contemporary history, public policy, and American politics at the Miller Center of Public Affairs in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Professor Dunn received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.