The Florida Bar

Florida Bar Journal

Democracy of Dollars: Where Natural and Constitutional Rights Go To The Highest Bidder

By Richard Jacobs Book Reviews

Democracy of DollarsIn Democracy of Dollars, author and former lawyer Richard Jacobs takes a novel approach from the standpoint of the judicial system to discuss the issue of greed in the American government. Yet, it isn’t a political statement, neither does it side with either end of the political spectrum. Instead, Jacobs argues that the nation has changed from being a democracy of the people into a democracy of dollars.

Specifically, Jacobs articulates that the judicial branch of our federal government has shifted away from its original intended purpose of providing a check and balance to the other two branches of government and now serves lobbying groups and other special interests. Jacobs examines the issue of having a democracy of dollars through three examples:

First, Jacobs looks at how the Supreme Court shows favor to the judgment of the other two branches of government, particularly the executive branch, through their rulings. By showing such deference, the Supreme Court limits the rights of too many people.
Jacobs then shifts his focus to the longstanding issue of partisan gerrymandering and how it, like the effect of Supreme Court judge-made rulings, compromises the effectiveness of voters.

The author ends with the legislative branch’s delegation to the executive branch and how it changes the landscape of the federal government by essentially creating a fourth branch — the administrative state. This shift in the federal government’s landscape, in turn, creates the “Era of Presidential Administration,” which is driven by lobbies and special interests instead of by the people.

Democracy of Dollars is an eye-opening statement that the American government no longer represents the will of the people. Jacobs clarifies that the issue of having a democracy of dollars is something that all Americans should care about and calls for us to become involved citizens. This is essential reading for all those who advocate for the return of America to a democracy of the people.

Claire Hancock of Tampa is a member of The Florida Bar.