The Supreme Court and American Political Development
Edited by Ronald Kahn and Ken I. Kersch
This innovative volume explores the evolution of constitutional doctrine as elaborated by the Supreme Court. Moving beyond the traditional "law versus politics" perspective, the authors draw extensively on recent studies in American Political Development (APD) to present a much more complex and sophisticated view of the Court as both a legal and political entity.
The contributors—including Pam Brandwein, Howard Gillman, Mark Graber, Ronald Kahn, Tom Keck, Ken Kersch, Wayne Moore, Carol Nackenoff, Julie Novkov, and Mark Tushnet—share an appreciation that the process of constitutional development involves a complex interplay between factors internal and external to the Court. They underscore the developmental nature of the Court, revealing how its decision-making and legal authority evolve in response to a variety of influences: not only laws and legal precedents, but also social and political movements, election returns and regime changes, advocacy group litigation, and the interpretive community of scholars, journalists, and lawyers.
“The essays provide multifaceted, insightful analyses of the complexities of the history and future of the Supreme Court.”
—Harvard Law Review
“A unique, scholarly approach to constitutionalism using the American political development framework, and it is geared for professionals and upper-level students who desire to better understand the Supreme Court.&8212;”
—Perspectives on Political ScienceSee all reviews...
“A tremendous addition to the discipline that includes several ‘must read’ chapters. Requisite reading for any student of law and courts or political development.”
—Law and Politics Book Review
“Kahn and Kersch are well qualified to prepare this collection of essays about the interaction between the law, the judicial system, and American political development. . . . ”
“A finely realized volume that is fresh, thoughtful, learned, and provocative.”
—Ira Katznelson, author of When Affirmative Action Was White
“An important book that paints a vivid portrait of the processes and contexts of constitutional change. . . . Unusually engaging and readable.”
—Richard H. Fallon, Jr., author of The Dynamic Constitution
“A splendid collection. . . .Mandatory reading for anyone interested in American judicial politics.”
—Michael McCann, author of Distorting the Law
“Will be of tremendous value to any student of the Court. ”
—Karen Orren, founder and editor of Studies in American Political DevelopmentSee fewer reviews...
Initial chapters reexamine standard approaches to the question of causation in judicial decision-making and the relationship between the Court and the ambient political order. Next, a selection of historical case studies exemplifies how the Court constructs its own authority as it defines individual rights and the powers of government. They show how interpretations of the Reconstruction amendments inform our understanding of racial discrimination, explain the undermining of affirmative action after Bakke, and consider why Roe v. Wade has yet to be overturned. They also tell how the Court has collaborated with political coalitions to produce the New Deal, Great Society, and Reagan Revolution, and why Native Americans have different citizenship rights than other Americans.
These contributions encourage further debate about the nature and processes of constitutional change and invite APD scholars to think about law and the Court in more sophisticated ways.