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A tiny, ebullient Jew who started as America's leading liberal and ended as its most famous judicial conservative. A Klansman who became an absolutist advocate of free speech and civil rights. A backcountry lawyer who started off trying cases about cows and went on to conduct the most important international trial ever. A self-invented, tall-tale Westerner who narrowly missed the presidency but expanded individual freedom beyond what anyone before had dreamed. Four more different men could hardly be imagined. Yet they had certain things in common. Each was a self-made man who came from humble beginnings on the edge of poverty. Each had driving ambition and a will to succeed. Each was, in his own way, a genius. They began as close allies and friends of FDR, but the quest to shape a new Constitution led them to competition and sometimes outright warfare. SCORPIONS tells the story of these four great justices: their relationship with Roosevelt, with each other, and with the turbulent world of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. It also serves as a history of the modern Constitution itself.
For more than fifty years, Robert G. McCloskey’s classic work on the Supreme Court’s role in constructing the US Constitution has introduced generations of students to the workings of our nation’s highest court. As in prior editions, McCloskey’s original text remains unchanged. In his historical interpretation, he argues that the strength of the Court has always been its sensitivity to the changing political scene, as well as its reluctance to stray too far from the main currents of public sentiment. In this new edition, Sanford Levinson extends McCloskey’s magisterial treatment to address developments since the 2010 election, including the Supreme Court’s decisions regarding the Defense of Marriage Act, the Affordable Care Act, and gay marriage. The best and most concise account of the Supreme Court and its place in American politics, McCloskey's wonderfully readable book is an essential guide to the past, present, and future prospects of this institution.
The Constitution denies to Congress the right to create titles of nobility or to allow any citizen the right to a foreign title of nobility. Yet, perhaps to gain the respect due their calling, judges, unlike any other office holders, are permitted to adorn themselves with black robes and conduct their trials in court houses of stately grandeur. These judges are indeed of a different pattern then other public servants. These judges are looked upon in virtual reverence and their judgments are added to those great volumes of decisions that make up our legal if not moral heritage. But what would be the consequences to our ordered society if judges found not the constraints of an ordered rule of law, but found instead that they had instead the ability to and passion to formulate the law without reference to peoples will? Such jurists could with such power become tyrants of an entirely different order.
Introduction: Lawyering in the civil rights era -- Prologue: the long night of Jim Crow -- The road to Sweatt v. Painter -- Brown v. Board of Education -- Making the case for segregation -- They had a dream -- Whose victory? Whose defeat? -- Legal academics and civil rights lawyering -- Conclusion: Politics or law? Legacies of lawyering in the civil rights era
James M Landis – scholar, administrator, advocate and political adviser – is known for his seminal contribution to the creation of the modern system of market regulation in the USA. As a highly influential participant in the politics of the New Deal he drafted the statute which was to become the foundation for securities regulation in the US, and by extension the founding principle of financial market regulation across the world. He was also a complex and in some ways tragic figure, whose glittering career collapsed following the revelation that he had failed to pay tax for a five year period in the 1950s. The oversight was to cost possible elevation to the Supreme Court, forced prosecution and sentencing in 1963 to one month's imprisonment, commuted to forced hospitalisation, and subsequent suspension of licence to practise. This candid and revealing book sets his life in the context of his work as an academic, legislative draftsman, administrator and Dean of Harvard Law School. In rescuing from history Landis's battles and achievements in regulatory design, theory and practice, it speaks directly to the perennial problems in financial market regulation - how to deal with institutions deemed too big to fail, how to regulate the sale of complex financial instruments and what role can the professions play as gatekeepers of market integrity. It argues that in failing to learn from the lessons of history we limit the capacity of regulatory intervention to facilitate cultural change, without which contemporary responses to financial crises are destined to fail.
Priests of Our Democracy tells of the teachers and professors who battled the anti-communist witch hunt of the 1950s. It traces the political fortunes of academic freedom beginning in the late 19th century, both on campus and in the courts. Combining political and legal history with wrenching personal stories, the book details how the anti-communist excesses of the 1950s inspired the Supreme Court to recognize the vital role of teachers and professors in American democracy. The crushing of dissent in the 1950s impoverished political discourse in ways that are still being felt, and First Amendment academic freedom, a product of that period, is in peril today. In compelling terms, this book shows why the issue should matter to everyone.
American constitutional law has undergone a transformation. Issues once left to the people have increasingly become the province of the courts. Subjects as diverse as abortion rights and firearms regulations, health care reform and counterterrorism efforts, not to mention a millennial presidential election, are more and more the domain of judges. What sparked this development? In this engaging volume, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson argues that America's most brilliant legal minds have launched a set of cosmic constitutional theories that, for all their value, are undermining self-governance. Thinkers as diverse as Justices William Brennan and Antonin Scalia, Professor John Hart Ely, Judges Robert Bork and Richard Posner, have all produced seminal interpretations of our Founding document, but ones that promise to imbue courts with unprecedented powers. While crediting the theorists for the sparkling quality of their thoughts, Judge Wilkinson argues they will slowly erode the role of representative institutions in America and leave our children bereft of democratic liberty. The loser in all the theoretical fireworks is the old and honorable tradition of judicial restraint. The judicial modesty once practiced by Learned Hand, John Harlan, and Oliver Wendell Holmes has given way to competing schools of liberal and conservative activism seeking sanctuary in Living Constitutionalism, Originalism, Process Theory, or the supposedly anti-theoretical creed of Pragmatism. Each of these seemingly disparate theories promises their followers an intellectually respectable route to congenial political outcomes from the bench. Judge Wilkinson calls for a plainer, simpler, self-disciplined commitment to judicial restraint and democratic governance, a course that alas may be impossible so long as the cosmic constitutionalists so dominate contemporary legal thought.

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