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The Supreme Court and the American Elite, 1789-2008 By Lucas A. Powe

The Supreme Court and the American Elite, 1789-2008

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In this engaging-and disturbing-book, a leading Court historian reveals the close fit between its decisions and the nation's politics. Drawing on over four decades of thinking about the Supreme Court and its role in the U.S. political system, this book offers a new, clear, and troubling perspective on American jurisprudence, politics, and history.
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The Supreme Court and the American Elite, 1789-2008 Summary


The Supreme Court and the American Elite, 1789-2008 by Lucas A. Powe

"The Supreme Court follows the election returns," the fictional Mr. Dooley observed a hundred years ago. And for all our ideals and dreams of a disinterested judiciary, above the political fray, it seems Mr. Dooley was right. In this engaging-and disturbing-book, a leading historian of the Court reveals the close fit between its decisions and the nation's politics. The story begins with the creation of the Constitution and ends with the June 2008 decisions on the rights of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Rendering crisp (and often controversial) judgments on key decisions from Marbury v. Madison to the War on Terror, Lucas Powe shows how virtually every major Supreme Court ruling, however deftly framed in constitutional terms, suited the wishes of the most powerful politicians of the time. This history reflects a changing Court, from the country's early struggles over commerce and transportation to the torturous justifications of slavery before the Civil War, to a post-New Deal interest in ending segregation, controlling criminal procedure, and addressing knotty questions arising from the Cold War. Through all of this the Court emerges as part of a ruling regime, doing its best to implement the regime's policies. Drawing on more than four decades of thinking about the Supreme Court and its role in the American political system, this book offers a new, clear, and troubling perspective on American jurisprudence, politics, and history.

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The Supreme Court and the American Elite, 1789-2008 Reviews


A leading historian of the Supreme Court, Powe decries what he calls the Imperial Court, which he sees as overly concerned with solidifying its primacy through a series of pretentious opinions. He details a litany of cases in which the Rehnquist Court overturned positive, progressive, and proactive legislation designed to protect and improve society, instead turning to rigid interpretation in an overreaching attempt to stifle congressional authority, as granted by the Constitution. Powe links the Supreme Court's late 20th-century mindset change with the ascendancy of a Republican majority in Congress, which began with the 1994 elections and continued until the mid-term election of 2006. As the author convincingly argues, surfing waves of electoral sentiment is a bad move for a Court cognizant of its historical legacy, and it may some day regret its decisions to invalidate the Violence Against Women Act, strike down the Gun Free School Zones Act, and abrogate damage-remedy provisions under both the Age Discrimination and Americans with Disabilities Acts. -- Philip Y. Blue Library Journal 20090415 Powe has certainly written a book that is entertaining, quirky, idiosyncratic, fun to read, and more than occasionally insightful. It does blend together legal doctrine and American politics, and as a result the history is richer--and more complete--than the usual account. -- Lawrence M. Friedman American Prospect 20090401

About Lucas A. Powe


Lucas A. Powe, Jr. holds the Anne Green Regents Chair at the University of Texas, where he teaches in the School of Law and the Department of Government.

Table of Contents


* Preface * Very Modest Beginnings * The Court in a Two-Party Republic * The States and the Republic * The Sectional Crisis and the Jacksonian Court * Civil War and Reconstruction * Industrializing America * Progressivism, Normalcy, and Depression * After the New Deal Constitutional Revolution * Reforming America * An Uneasy Status Quo * An Imperial Court * Chronology * Notes * Selective Bibliography * Index of Cases * General Index

Additional information

CIN000304831
The Supreme Court and the American Elite, 1789-2008 by Lucas A. Powe
Lucas A. Powe
Used - Very Good
Paperback
Harvard University Press
2011-05-10
432
0674060415
9780674060418
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.