Campaigns and the Court: The U.S. Supreme Court in Presidential Elections

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Over two centuries of American history the Supreme Court has often become a significant issue in presidential elections, with voters acutely aware that the dominance of one party at the polls may translate into that party´s dominance on the nation´s highest court. Should Americans presume that votes at the ballot box will have an effect on votes at the Supreme Court on what our Constitution means?Donald Grier Stephenson Jr. explores the periods when the Court has been an issue in elections -and when it has not­­investigating ten elections in which the Court was clearly an issue and looking also at the election of 1992, in which it could have become a major issue but did not. Drawing from four areas of political history -party evolution, presidential campaigns, as well as judicial and constitutional development -Stephenson presents a sophisticated inquiry into the relationship of the Supreme Court to the electoral process and considers whether this recurring electoral phenomenon is a beneficial feature of democratic politics -or one that ought to be met with concern.
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Editorial Reviews

Bruce Allen Murphy
As we face a presidential election at the end of this millennium which may well determine the new balance on a Supreme Court averaging in age over sixty-six years old, no book can be more timely than D. Grier Stephenson Jr.s´ Campaigns and the Courts. If the Supreme Court is not one of the major issues in the year 2000, this book will explain why it should be.
James F. Simon
With clarity and insight, Donald Grier Stephenson Jr. has analyzed the often critical relationship between presidential politics and the supreme court in American history.
Melvin I. Urofsky
If there is anyone in the United States who believes that the Supreme Court is not involved in the political process, let them read this book. Grier Stephenson deftly shows how the Court, consciously or not, has played a significant roll in presidential campaigns. This book is political science and history on a grand scale, and Stephenson does a superb job in telling the story.
Looks at the effects of judicial campaign involvement on the Supreme Court itself, and on public policy, political parties, and constitutional government generally. An introductory chapter outlines the Court's place in the constitutional system, overviews the development of political parties in the US, and offers propositions about the Court's electoral entanglement. Following chapters sketch the party system and the Court at different periods, and discuss judicial decisions and partisan warfare. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Donald Grier Stephenson Jr. is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Government at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He is author, coauthor, or editor of many books, including the textbooksAmerican Constitutional Law and American Government.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The Constitution, Politics, and the Supreme Court 1
Ch. 2 The Election of 1800: Partisan Beginnings 27
Ch. 3 The Election of 1832: Partisanship Revived 53
Ch. 4 The Election of 1860: Limits of Partisanship 81
Ch. 5 The Elections of 1896, 1912, and 1924: Partisanship Redirected 107
Ch. 6 The Election of 1936: A Constitutional Divide 136
Ch. 7 The Election of 1968: Partisanship Destabilized 163
Ch. 8 The Elections of 1980 and 1984: Whose Constitution? 190
Ch. 9 Presidential Campaigns and the Supreme Court 218
App. 1 The Presidency and Congress, 1789-1999 241
App. 2 Presidents and Justices, 1789-1999 253
Notes 261
Index 341
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