The three most important Supreme Court Justices before the Civil War―Chief Justices John Marshall and Roger B. Taney and Associate Justice Joseph Story―upheld the institution of slavery in ruling after ruling. These opinions cast a shadow over the Court and the legacies of these men, but historians have rarely delved deeply into the personal and political ideas and motivations they held. In Supreme Injustice, the distinguished legal historian Paul Finkelman establishes an authoritative account of each justice’s proslavery position, the reasoning behind his opposition to black freedom, and the incentives created by circumstances in his private life.Finkelman uses census data and other sources to reveal that Justice Marshall aggressively bought and sold slaves throughout his lifetime―a fact that biographers have ignored. Justice Story never owned slaves and condemned slavery while riding circuit, and yet on the high court he remained silent on slave trade cases and ruled against blacks who sued for freedom. Although Justice Taney freed many of his own slaves, he zealously and consistently opposed black freedom, arguing in Dred Scott that free blacks had no Constitutional rights and that slave owners could move slaves into the Western territories. Finkelman situates this infamous holding within a solid record of support for slavery and hostility to free blacks.Supreme Injustice boldly documents the entanglements that alienated three major justices from America’s founding ideals and embedded racism ever deeper in American civic life.
|Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times|
by Joel Richard Paul (Author)
The remarkable story of John Marshall who, as chief justice, statesman, and diplomat, played a pivotal role in the founding of the United States.
No member of America's Founding Generation had a greater impact on the Constitution and the Supreme Court than John Marshall, and no one did more to preserve the delicate unity of the fledgling United States. From the nation's founding in 1776 and for the next forty years, Marshall was at the center of every political battle. As Chief...
|We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights|
by Adam Winkler (Author)
We the Corporations chronicles the revelatory story of one of the most successful, yet least known, “civil rights movements” in American history.
We the Corporations chronicles the astonishing story of one of the most successful yet least well-known “civil rights movements” in American history. Hardly oppressed like women and minorities, business corporations, too, have fought since the nation’s earliest days to gain equal rights under the...
|The Justice of Contradictions: Antonin Scalia and the Politics of Disruption|
by Richard L. Hasen (Author)
Engaging but caustic and openly ideological, Antonin Scalia was among the most influential justices ever to serve on the United States Supreme Court. In this fascinating new book, legal scholar Richard L. Hasen assesses Scalia’s complex legacy as a conservative legal thinker and disruptive public intellectual.
The left saw Scalia as an unscrupulous foe who amplified his judicial role with scathing dissents and outrageous public comments. The right viewed him as a rare principled...
|Eisenhower vs. Warren: The Battle for Civil Rights and Liberties|
by James F. Simon (Author)
The epic 1950s battle that would shape the legal future of the civil rights movement is chronicled here for the first time. The bitter feud between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Chief Justice Earl Warren framed the tumultuous future of the modern civil rights movement. Eisenhower was a gradualist who wanted to coax white Americans in the South into eventually accepting integration, while Warren, author of the Supreme Court’s historic unanimous opinion in Brown...
|A Short History of European Law: The Last Two and a Half Millennia|
by Tamar Herzog (Author)
To many observers, European law seems like the endpoint of a mostly random walk through history. Certainly the trajectory of legal systems in the West over the past 2,500 years is far from self-evident. In A Short History of European Law, Tamar Herzog offers a new road map that reveals underlying patterns and unexpected connections. By identifying what European law was, where its iterations could be found, who was allowed to make and implement it, and what the results were, she ties...
|The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President|
by Noah Feldman (Author)
A sweeping reexamination of the Founding Father who transformed the United States in each of his political “lives”—as a revolutionary thinker, as a partisan political strategist, and as a president
“In order to understand America and its Constitution, it is necessary to understand James Madison.”—Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci
Over the course of his life, James Madison changed the United...
|A Politician Thinking: The Creative Mind of James Madison (The Julian J. Rothbaum Distinguished Lecture Series)|
by Jack N. Rakove (Author)
James Madison presented his most celebrated and studied political ideas in his contributions to The Federalist, the essays that he, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay wrote in 1787–1788 to secure ratification of the U.S. Constitution. As Jack N. Rakove shows in A Politician Thinking, however, those essays do not illustrate the full complexity and vigor of Madison’s thinking. In this book, Rakove pushes beyond what Madison thought to examine how he thought, showing...
|Law and Legitimacy in the Supreme Court|
by Richard H. Fallon Jr. (Author)
Why do self-proclaimed constitutional “originalists” so regularly reach decisions with a politically conservative valence? Do “living constitutionalists” claim a license to reach whatever results they prefer, without regard to the Constitution’s language and history? In confronting these questions, Richard H. Fallon reframes and ultimately transcends familiar debates about constitutional law, constitutional theory, and judicial legitimacy.
Drawing from ideas in legal...
|Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America|
by Cass R. Sunstein (Author)
“What makes Trump immune is that he is not a president within the context of a healthy Republican government. He is a cult leader of a movement that has taken over a political party – and he specifically campaigned on a platform of one-man rule. This fact permeates “Can It Happen Here? . . . which concludes, if you read between the lines, that “it” already has.” – New York Times Book Review
"Several of the...
|The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels|
by Jon Meacham (Author)
Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jon Meacham helps us understand the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in our history when hope overcame division and fear.
Our current climate of partisan fury is not new, and in The Soul of America Meacham shows us how what Abraham Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature” have repeatedly won the day. Painting surprising portraits of Lincoln and other presidents, including Ulysses S....