Author: Michael Avery
Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press
Release Date: 2013-04-15
Over the last thirty years, the Federal Society for Law and Public Policy Studies has grown from a small group of disaffected conservative law students into an organization with extraordinary influence over American law and politics. Although the organization is unknown to the average citizen, this group of intellectuals has managed to monopolize the selection of federal judges, take over the Department of Justice, and control legal policy in the White House. Today the Society claims that 45,000 conservative lawyers and law students are involved in its activities. Four Supreme Court Justices--Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito--are current or former members. Every single federal judge appointed in the two Bush presidencies was either a Society member or approved by members. During the Bush years, young Federalist Society lawyers dominated the legal staffs of the Justice Department and other important government agencies. The Society has lawyer chapters in every major city in the United States and student chapters in every accredited law school. Its membership includes economic conservatives, social conservatives, Christian conservatives, and libertarians, who differ with each other on significant issues, but who cooperate in advancing a broad conservative agenda. How did this happen? How did this group of conservatives succeed in moving their theories into the mainstream of legal thought? What is the range of positions of those associated with the Federalist Society in areas of legal and political controversy? The authors survey these stances in separate chapters on regulation of business and private property; race and gender discrimination and affirmative action; personal sexual autonomy, including abortion and gay rights; and American exceptionalism and international law.
Author: Amanda Hollis-Brusky
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Release Date: 2015
Genre: Political Science
"There are few intellectual movements in American political history more successful than the Federalist Society. Created in 1982 to counterbalance what its founders considered a liberal legal establishment, the organization has now become the conservative legal establishment, and membership is all but required for any conservative lawyer who hopes to enter politics or the judiciary. It can claim 40,000 members, including four Supreme Court Justices, dozens of federal judges, and every Republican attorney general since its inception. But its power goes even deeper. In Ideas with Consequences, Amanda Hollis-Brusky, an expert on conservative legal movements, provides the first ever comprehensive documentation of how the Federalist Society exerts its influence. Drawing from a huge trove of documents, transcripts, and interviews, she presents a series of important legal questions and explains how the Federalist Society managed to revolutionize the jurisprudence for each one. Many of these questions--including the powers of the federal government, the individual right to bear arms, and the parameters of corporate political speech--had long been considered settled. But the Federalist Society was able to upend the existing conventional wisdom, promoting constitutional theories that had previously been dismissed as ludicrously radical. Hollis-Brusky argues that the Federalist Society offers several of the crucial ingredients needed to accomplish this constitutional revolution. It serves as a credentialing institution for conservative lawyers and judges, legitimizes novel interpretations of the constitution through a conservative framework, and provides a judicial audience of like-minded peers, which prevents the well-documented phenomenon of conservative judges turning moderate after years on the bench. Through these functions, it is able to exercise enormous influence on important cases at every level. With unparalleled research and analysis of some of the hottest political and judicial issues of our time, Ideas with Consequences is the essential guide to the Federalist Society at a time when its power has broader implications than ever"--
Author: Steven M. Teles
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2010-02-14
Starting in the 1970s, conservatives learned that electoral victory did not easily convert into a reversal of important liberal accomplishments, especially in the law. As a result, conservatives' mobilizing efforts increasingly turned to law schools, professional networks, public interest groups, and the judiciary--areas traditionally controlled by liberals. Drawing from internal documents, as well as interviews with key conservative figures, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement examines this sometimes fitful, and still only partially successful, conservative challenge to liberal domination of the law and American legal institutions. Unlike accounts that depict the conservatives as fiendishly skilled, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement reveals the formidable challenges that conservatives faced in competing with legal liberalism. Steven Teles explores how conservative mobilization was shaped by the legal profession, the legacy of the liberal movement, and the difficulties in matching strategic opportunities with effective organizational responses. He explains how foundations and groups promoting conservative ideas built a network designed to dislodge legal liberalism from American elite institutions. And he portrays the reality, not of a grand strategy masterfully pursued, but of individuals and political entrepreneurs learning from trial and error. Using previously unavailable materials from the Olin Foundation, Federalist Society, Center for Individual Rights, Institute for Justice, and Law and Economics Center, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement provides an unprecedented look at the inner life of the conservative movement. Lawyers, historians, sociologists, political scientists, and activists seeking to learn from the conservative experience in the law will find it compelling reading.
Author: Ann Southworth
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2009-08-01
Genre: Political Science
A timely and multifaceted portrait of the lawyers who serve the diverse constituencies of the conservative movement, Lawyers of the Right explains what unites and divides lawyers for the three major groups—social conservatives, libertarians, and business advocates—that have coalesced in recent decades behind the Republican Party. Drawing on in-depth interviews with more than seventy lawyers who represent conservative and libertarian nonprofit organizations, Ann Southworth explores their values and identities and traces the implications of their shared interest in promoting political strategies that give lawyers leading roles. She goes on to illuminate the function of mediator organizations—such as the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy—that have succeeded in promoting cooperation among different factions of conservative lawyers. Such cooperation, she finds, has aided efforts to drive law and the legal profession politically rightward and to give lawyers greater prominence in the conservative movement. Southworth concludes, though, that tensions between the conservative law movement’s elite and populist elements may ultimately lead to its undoing.
Author: Randy E. Barnett
Release Date: 2016-04-19
Genre: Political Science
A concise history of the long struggle between two fundamentally opposing constitutional traditions, from one of the nation’s leading constitutional scholars—a manifesto for renewing our constitutional republic. The Constitution of the United States begins with the words: “We the People.” But from the earliest days of the American republic, there have been two competing notions of “the People,” which lead to two very different visions of the Constitution. Those who view “We the People” collectively think popular sovereignty resides in the people as a group, which leads them to favor a “democratic” constitution that allows the “will of the people” to be expressed by majority rule. In contrast, those who think popular sovereignty resides in the people as individuals contend that a “republican” constitution is needed to secure the pre-existing inalienable rights of “We the People,” each and every one, against abuses by the majority. In Our Republican Constitution, renowned legal scholar Randy E. Barnett tells the fascinating story of how this debate arose shortly after the Revolution, leading to the adoption of a new and innovative “republican” constitution; and how the struggle over slavery led to its completion by a newly formed Republican Party. Yet soon thereafter, progressive academics and activists urged the courts to remake our Republican Constitution into a democratic one by ignoring key passes of its text. Eventually, the courts complied. Drawing from his deep knowledge of constitutional law and history, as well as his experience litigating on behalf of medical marijuana and against Obamacare, Barnett explains why “We the People” would greatly benefit from the renewal of our Republican Constitution, and how this can be accomplished in the courts and the political arena.
Author: Assistant Professor of American Studies and Political Science Jefferson Decker
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2016-09-01
Genre: Cause lawyers
In 1973, a group of California lawyers formed a non-profit, public-interest legal foundation dedicated to defending conservative principles in court. Calling themselves the Pacific Legal Foundation, they declared war on the U.S. regulatory state--the sets of rules, legal precedents, and bureaucratic processes that govern the way Americans do business. Believing that the growing size and complexity of government regulations threatened U.S. economy and infringed on property rights, Pacific Legal Foundation began to file a series of lawsuits challenging the government's power to plan the use of private land or protect environmental qualities. By the end of the decade, they had been joined in this effort by spin-off legal foundations across the country. The Other Rights Revolution explains how a little-known collection of lawyers and politicians--with some help from angry property owners and bulldozer-driving Sagebrush Rebels--tried to bring liberal government to heel in the final decades of the twentieth century. Decker demonstrates how legal and constitutional battles over property rights, preservation, and the environment helped to shape the political ideas and policy agendas of modern conservatism. By uncovering the history--including the regionally distinctive experiences of the American West--behind the conservative mobilization in the courts, Decker offers a new interpretation of the Reagan-era right.
Author: Bruce Allen Murphy
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2015-06-30
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
A deeply researched portrait of the controversial Supreme Court justice includes coverage of his career achievements, his appointment in 1986 and his party-dividing resolve to support agendas from an ethical, rather than political, perspective.
Author: Steven G. Calabresi
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2007-08-21
Genre: Political Science
What did the Constitution mean at the time it was adopted? How should we interpret today the words used by the Founding Fathers? In ORIGINALISM: A QUARTER-CENTURY OF DEBATE, these questions are explained and dissected by the very people who continue to shape the legal structure of our country.This is a lively and fascinating discussion of an issue that has occupied the greatest legal minds in America, and one that continues to elicit strong reactions from both those who support and those who oppose the rule of law. Steven G. Calabresi, co-founder of the Federalist Society and professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law, has compiled an impressive collection of speeches, panel discussions, and debates from some of the greatest and most prominent legal experts of the last twenty-five years.
Author: Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2018-05-07
When we think of constitutional law, we invariably think of the United States Supreme Court and the federal court system. Yet much of our constitutional law is not made at the federal level. In 51 Imperfect Solutions, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton argues that American Constitutional Law should account for the role of the state courts and state constitutions, together with the federal courts and the federal constitution, in protecting individual liberties. The book tells four stories that arise in four different areas of constitutional law: equal protection; criminal procedure; privacy; and free speech and free exercise of religion. Traditional accounts of these bedrock debates about the relationship of the individual to the state focus on decisions of the United States Supreme Court. But these explanations tell just part of the story. The book corrects this omission by looking at each issue-and some others as well-through the lens of many constitutions, not one constitution; of many courts, not one court; and of all American judges, not federal or state judges. Taken together, the stories reveal a remarkably complex, nuanced, ever-changing federalist system, one that ought to make lawyers and litigants pause before reflexively assuming that the United States Supreme Court alone has all of the answers to the most vexing constitutional questions. If there is a central conviction of the book, it's that an underappreciation of state constitutional law has hurt state and federal law and has undermined the appropriate balance between state and federal courts in protecting individual liberty. In trying to correct this imbalance, the book also offers several ideas for reform.
Author: Robert Daniel Rubin
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2017-03-20
The Christian Right of the 1980s forged its political identity largely in response to what it perceived as liberal 'judicial activism'. Robert Daniel Rubin tells this story as it played out in Mobile, Alabama. There, a community conflict pitted a group of conservative evangelicals, a sympathetic federal judge, and a handful of conservative intellectuals against a religious agnostic opposed to prayer in schools, and a school system accused of promoting a religion called 'secular humanism'. The twists in the Mobile conflict speak to the changes and continuities that marked the relationship of 1980s' religious conservatism to democracy, the courts, and the Constitution. By alternately focusing its gaze on the local conflict and related events in Washington, DC, this book weaves a captivating narrative. Historians, political scientists, and constitutional lawyers will find, in Rubin's study, a challenging new perspective on the history of the Christian Right in the United States.
Author: Jack M. Balkin
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2009-05-26
The Constitution in 2020 is a powerful blueprint for implementing a more progressive vision of constitutional law in the years ahead. Edited by two of America's leading constitutional scholars, the book provides a new framework for addressing the most important constitutional issues of the future in clear, accessible language. Featuring some of America's finest legal minds--Cass Sunstein, Bruce Ackerman, Robert Post, Harold Koh, Larry Kramer, Noah Feldman, Pam Karlan, William Eskridge, Mark Tushnet, Yochai Benkler and Richard Ford, among others--the book tackles a wide range of issues, including the challenge of new technologies, presidential power, international human rights, religious liberty, freedom of speech, voting, reproductive rights, and economic rights. The Constitution in 2020 calls on liberals to articulate their constitutional vision in a way that can command the confidence of ordinary Americans.
Acclaimed journalist Jeffrey Toobin takes us into the chambers of the most important—and secret—legal body in our country, the Supreme Court, revealing the complex dynamic among the nine people who decide the law of the land. An institution at a moment of transition, the Court now stands at a crucial point, with major changes in store on such issues as abortion, civil rights, and church-state relations. Based on exclusive interviews with the justices and with a keen sense of the Court’s history and the trajectory of its future, Jeffrey Toobin creates in The Nine a riveting story of one of the most important forces in American life today.
Author: Erwin Chemerinsky
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2010-09-28
Over the last few decades, the Supreme Court and the federal appellate courts have undergone a dramatic shift to the right, the result of a determined effort by right-wing lawmakers and presidents to reinterpret the Constitution by reshaping the judiciary. Conservative activist justices have narrowed the scope of the Constitution, denying its protections to millions of Americans, exactly as the lawmakers who appointed and confirmed these jurists intended. Basic long-standing principles of constitutional law have been overturned by the Rehnquist and Roberts courts. As distinguished law professor and constitutional expert Erwin Chemerinsky demonstrates in this invaluable book, these changes affect the lives of every American. As a result of political pressure from conservatives and a series of Supreme Court decisions, our public schools are increasingly separate and unequal, to the great disadvantage of poor and minority students. Right-wing politicians and justices are dismantling the wall separating church and state, allowing ever greater government support for religion. With the blessing of the Supreme Court, absurdly harsh sentences are being handed down to criminal defendants, such as life sentences for shoplifting and other petty offenses. Even in death penalty cases, defendants are being denied the right to competent counsel at trial, and as a result innocent people have been convicted and sentenced to death. Right-wing politicians complain that government is too big and intrusive while at the same time they are only too happy to insert the government into the most intimate aspects of the private lives of citizens when doing so conforms to conservative morality. Conservative activist judges say that the Constitution gives people an inherent right to own firearms but not to make their own medical decisions. In some states it is easier to buy an assault rifle than to obtain an abortion. Nowhere has the conservative assault on the Constitution been more visible or more successful than in redefining the role of the president. From Richard Nixon to George W. Bush, conservatives have sought to significantly increase presidential power. The result in recent years has been unprecedented abuses, including indefinite detentions, illegal surveillance, and torture of innocent people. Finally, access to the courts is being restricted by new rulings that deny legal protections to ordinary Americans. Fewer lawsuits alleging discrimination in employment are heard; fewer people are able to sue corporations or governments for injuries they have suffered; and even when these cases do go to trial, new restrictions limit damages that plaintiffs can collect. The first step in reclaiming the protections of the Constitution, says Chemerinsky, is to recognize that right-wing justices are imposing their personal prejudices, not making neutral decisions about the scope of the Constitution, as they claim, or following the "original meaning" of the Constitution. Only then do we stand a chance of reclaiming our constitutional liberties from a rigid ideological campaign that has transformed our courts and our laws. Only then can we return to a constitutional law that advances freedom and equality.