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Constitutional thought

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The Texas Supreme Court: A Narrative History, 1836–1986 (Book Review), Michael S. Ariens Jan 2014

The Texas Supreme Court: A Narrative History, 1836–1986 (Book Review), Michael S. Ariens

Faculty Articles

The historical material and resources available for American legal historians is both too much and too little. Hundreds of published case opinions became thousands of opinions by the end of the 1820s, leading lawyers to conclude that no one could know the entirety of the law. Yet this cascade of information is also too little, because the work of treatise writers and magazine editors of the time was ruthlessly focused on then-existing legal concerns.

For these reasons, James L. Haley works within difficult strictures in his book, The Texas Supreme Court: A Narrative History, 1836–1986. Because his story is about …


Father, Son, And Constitution: How Justice Tom Clark And Attorney General Ramsey Clark Shaped American Democracy, By Alexander Wohl (Book Review), Vincent R. Johnson Jan 2014

Father, Son, And Constitution: How Justice Tom Clark And Attorney General Ramsey Clark Shaped American Democracy, By Alexander Wohl (Book Review), Vincent R. Johnson

Faculty Articles

In Father, Son, and Constitution, Alexander Wohl brings to life two major figures of American law: Tom C. Clark and his son, Ramsey Clark. The story focuses primarily on the middle third of the twentieth century and the many heated constitutional challenges that arose during that era.

With an engaging literary style, Wohl perceptively examines not merely the lives and careers of Tom and Ramsey Clark, but the key roles they played in the issues of their day. The story proceeds from Pearl Harbor and World War II, to the Cold War, to desegregation, to the problems that beset President …


Surprised By Law, Emily A. Hartigan Jan 1993

Surprised By Law, Emily A. Hartigan

Faculty Articles

This year’s Association of American Law Schools convention provided a genuinely engaging panel discussion between Michael Sandel and Judge Stephen Reinhardt. Michael Sandel, Harvard philosopher of community and the “encumbered self,” delivered his defense of an ethics of appreciation which goes beyond mere toleration, arguing for honor for persons rather than mere dignity. Reinhardt countered by characterizing Sandel’s stuff as the sort of academic theorizing which has nothing much to do with the world, and raised with almost unconscious elegance the main issue, and a deeply troubling concrete dilemma.

Reinhardt noted that Sandel’s portrait of the person did not work …


Constitutional Law And The Myth Of The Great Judge, Michael S. Ariens Jan 1993

Constitutional Law And The Myth Of The Great Judge, Michael S. Ariens

Faculty Articles

One of the enduring myths of American history, including constitutional history, is that of the “Great Man” or “Great Woman.” The idea is that, to understand the history of America, one needs to understand the impact made by Great Men and Women whose actions affected the course of history. In political history, one assays the development of the United States through the lives of great Americans, from the “Founders” to Abraham Lincoln to John F. Kennedy. Similarly, in constitutional history, the story is told through key figures, the “Great Judges,” from John Marshall to Oliver Wendell Holmes to Earl Warren. …


Ordinary Sacraments, Emily A. Hartigan Jan 1993

Ordinary Sacraments, Emily A. Hartigan

Faculty Articles

Richard Parker is a true force in constitutional thought, and his Populist commitment finds fertile landscape. However, there is something missing from his account of populism—the role of reflection and the fear of God in human affairs. Parker never deals with the fact that “the people” believe in God. Despite the intellectualist drive to separate God from politics, most Americans do not maintain such a wall. Whether under a stultifying separationist doctrine or in a more open pluralism, the people are God-fearing in an increasingly fractured and fascinating way—they are recognizably, fundamentally religious. Parker advocates being in touch with what …