First Principles: The Jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas

Overview

Clarence Thomas is one of the most vilified public figures of our day. To date, however, his legal philosophy has received only cursory treatment. First Principles provides a portrait of Thomas based not on the justice's caricatured reputation, but on his judicial opinions and votes, his scholarly writings, and his public speeches.

The paperback edition includes a provocative new Afterword by the author bringing the book up to date by assessing Justice Thomas's performance, and ...

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Overview

Clarence Thomas is one of the most vilified public figures of our day. To date, however, his legal philosophy has received only cursory treatment. First Principles provides a portrait of Thomas based not on the justice's caricatured reputation, but on his judicial opinions and votes, his scholarly writings, and his public speeches.

The paperback edition includes a provocative new Afterword by the author bringing the book up to date by assessing Justice Thomas's performance, and the reaction to his decisions, during the last five years.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"...An excellent and balanced review of the justice's first years on the Court."

-National Review,

"Gerber is scrupulously honest in dissecting Thomas' opinions, their legal background, and their place in the Court's jurisprudence, and he demonstrates his own excellent capabilities as an objective, fair, thoughtful, and thorough scholar."

-The Federal Lawyer,

"The virture of Scott Gerber's new study ... is that it puts in better perspective Thomas's whole career."

-The Weekly Standard,

"Gerber's book is a breath of fresh air, because it treats Justice Thomas and his work with respect and intellectual curiosity."

-Ideas on Liberty,

"...the most comprehensive and incisive account of Thomas' political philosophy to date."

-First Things,

Howard Ball
Scott Gerber’s book is a sincere — and fair — effort to try objectively to go beyond the dramatic Senate hearings and vicious attacks on candidate-then-Judge Thomas; to explain away the condemnation of the Justice; and to cull Thomas's first principles from his written opinions (mostly concurring), handed down in his first five Terms....Certainly, Professor Gerber has given us a good, somewhat objective account of Thomas’s first five years on the Court.
Jurist: The Law Professors' Network
Booknews
Gerber has written before on the US Supreme Court of the past, but here he turns to a current Justice. His goal is to dismiss the barrage of political and personal criticism that surrounds Thomas and create a portrait of him based on his judicial opinions and votes, his scholarly writings, and his public speeches. Gerber says both supporters and opponents of Thomas may be surprised. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
First Things
...First Principles: The Jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas provides the most comprehensive and incisive account of Thomas political philosophy to date.
Howard Ball
Scott Gerber’s book is a sincere — and fair — effort to try objectively to go beyond the dramatic Senate hearings and vicious attacks on candidate-then-Judge Thomas; to explain away the condemnation of the Justice; and to cull Thomas's first principles from his written opinions (mostly concurring), handed down in his first five Terms....Certainly, Professor Gerber has given us a good, somewhat objective account of Thomas’s first five years on the Court.
Jurist: The Law Professors' Network
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814731000
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2002
  • Pages: 305
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Douglas Gerber, Ph.D., J.D., is author of To Secure These Rights: The Declaration of Independence and Constitutional Interpretation and editor of Seriatim: The Supreme Court before John Marshall, both available from New York University Press. He teaches at Ohio Northern University College of Law.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 1
Introduction 3
I Politics
1 Judging Thomas 11
2 The "Natural Law Thing" 36
II Law
3 Civil Rights 69
4 Civil Liberties 113
5 Federalism 163
III Law and Politics
6 Conclusion 191
App. I Justice Thomas and the Freshman Effect Hypothesis 205
App. II Justice Thomas's Voting Behavior 211
Notes 217
Index 271
About the Author 281
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