Liberty Under Law: The Supreme Court in American Life

William M. Wiecek, Author Johns Hopkins University Press $30 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8018-3595-7
""The Constitution,'' said Supreme Court justice Charles Evans Hughes in 1907, ``is what the judges say it is.'' How the justices of the Supreme Court have interpreted the law over the course of the past two centuries is the theme of this lucid, well-crafted book by Wiecek (Equal Justice Under Law), a professor at Syracuse University College of Law. Wiecek traces the history of the Supreme Court against a rich backdrop of the events and issuesincluding slavery, the rise of industrialism, the New Deal and the Civil Rights movementthat shaped the institutions and politics of this country. He provides us with a concise and useful outline of the Court's ever-evolving judicial philosophy, from the early notion of natural law to today's debate between the strict constructionists on the political right, who would limit the Court's inquiry to the text of the Constitution's words and the intent of its framers, and advocates of the Conference on Critical Legal Studies on the political left, who view the law as merely another branch of politics. The author's own clear bias on the side of an activist Court somewhat taints his objectivity, but the book nonetheless remains an important lesson in the history of American jurisprudence. (April)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 244 pages - 978-0-8018-3596-4
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