Democracy of Dollars
Where Natural and Constitutional Rights Go To the Highest Bidder
Author: Richard O. Jacobs
Genre: Political Science – US History
Word Count: 88,000
Page Count: 394
Library of Congress Control Number: 2020943261
A Call to Action
America’s Democracy of Dollars is about a “legal” problem we have today in America. But it is not a law book written for lawyers. Nor is it a political book, taking sides with either conservatives or progressives. It is a book written for us Americans, to aid us in understanding a problem that affects each of us so each of us can choose to do something about it.
It is also a book about context, not theory. What is the context of our times?
As a society, we have morphed from a Democracy of People into a Democracy of Dollars. Two political institutions of our federal government, the Legislative and the Executive Branches, designed to protect and serve all Americans, have become servants to special interests who, in today’s pricey politics, have bought their way to the head of the line.
But our national government has a co-equal third institution, the Judiciary Branch, the federal judiciary headed by the Supreme Court. The Judiciary Branch is intended by our Constitution’s Framers to be independent and non-political — and, most importantly, the Judiciary Branch is intended to provide a check and balance on the other two Branches. However, in today’s Democracy of Dollars, that mission has been failing. Our Supreme Court must assume a different role, a role it occupied in the past when times were equally as difficult and uncertain as today’s times.
What does all this have to do with you and me? We don’t vote for federal judges, they’re appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. However, public influence, over time, has a dynamic effect on the Court. Over time, in response to public outcries, unmet human needs, and changing circumstances, the Court has, among its accomplishments, modernized the definition of cruel and unusual punishment, and, perhaps, in its most shining hour, decided that “separate but equal” education facilities do not provide black children with an equal education.
In this book, we illustrate the Democracy of Dollars plight we face through three examples: First, we focus on the Supreme Court’s deference through judge-made rules to the two political branches of government, particularly the Executive Branch, the effect of which is to deny too many people their Rights. Then, we focus on the plight of voters whose effectiveness is diluted by partisan gerrymandering. Finally, we focus on the effect of our Legislative Branch’s uncontrolled delegation to the Executive Branch, which has resulted in the unfettered growth of our “Fourth Branch” of government, the administrative state, creating the “Era of Presidential Administration,” driven by lobbies and special interests and not the will of the People. These examples led to the important conclusion: we each must be involved citizens.
America’s Democracy of Dollars is a call to action to each of us. We can, and we must influence the return of America to a Democracy of People. That effort requires each of us to pitch in and help.
In celebration of his 90th birthday, Richard "Dick" Jacobs's publisher has released his new book, Democracy of Dollars. The book grew out of Dick's own experiences in being thwarted in problem-solving environmental issues by government inaction when action was needed. The book is a call to action for all Americans to return our nation to a "democracy of people".
Dick and his wife, Joan, have made a generous gift and a significant portion of their estate to establish the Dick and Joan Jacobs Public Interest Environmental Law Clinic and the Institute for Environmental Justice at Stetson University College of Law. The Institute will provide governmental organizations, as well as legal and non-legal communities, with a wide variety of environmental law-related public interest services — while molding law students to become the difference makers to care for Mother Earth. Additional funds are needed to secure the Institute in order for it to produce the long-term, positive results the Jacobs’s envision.
To encourage others with a similar passion for the environment to financially support the Institute, the couple has donated autographed copies of Democracy of Dollars to be distributed to donors who make a minimum gift of $500 to support of their vision. Simply use the link below to make your gift and a copy of Dick’s latest book will be delivered to your door.
“Let me congratulate you on a most complete, concise reporting of an incredible range of subjects and problems which have evolved in out system of governing since our forefathers set this great idea in motion.
From your insightful look at partisan gerrymandering to the chaotic results of shadow lobbyists and administrative agencies run amuck, you have managed to enlighten, encourage and certainly interest not only the legal field, I’m sure, but additionally clarified such events and circumstances even to a lay person like me.
Many thanks for your incredible efforts.” - Joyce Beltz
Basing his argument on a wealth of historical and contemporary support, Jacobs makes a strong case for his argument that deference by federal courts to the political branches of government through their political question and standing doctrines is unconstitutional and denies individuals access to the courts to address violations of their most fundamental human and constitutional rights. Using the Juliana case as his primary example, Jacobs convincingly argues that we have reached a point to where only monied interests have effective access to the courts. His solution points to a difficult process of uniting the diverse voices of the American populace. An important and inspiring book for anyone interested in reclaiming fundamental human rights for the American people.
Lance N. Long
Professor of Law
Stetson University College of Law
Many writers have explored the negative impact of monied, special interests on American government, but Jacobs provides a unique perspective by focusing on the judicial branch and how it has become overly deferential to its political counterparts in recent decades. As evidenced by Jacobs’ ample historical support, that deference means the courts no longer function how the founders intended – as a check on the branches more susceptible to special interests. Highlighting contemporary cases such as Juliana, Jacobs explores specifically how deference through the standing and political question doctrines denies ordinary citizens access to the courts, and how failure to review harmful political actions by acquiescing to those doctrines could likely be in itself unconstitutional. Refusing to accept the status quo, Jacobs proposes a return to proper judicial review as means to protect individual rights and ensure America is no longer a Democracy of Dollars moving forward.
Stetson University College of Law
Candidate for Juris Doctor 2022
Stetson Law Review | Associate Member
Stetson Democrats | Secretary