A highly interpretive and eminently readable study of the Supreme Court during the period in which Melvin Fuller was Chief Justice, offering a complete account of the cases the Court saw during one of the most tumultuous times in U.S. history. The legacy of the Supreme Court at the turn of the century has largely been negative: decisions such as Lochner v. New York (1905), Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. (1895), In re Debs (1895), and Plessy v. Ferguson have been seen by subsequent generations of lawyers and judges as embodying a judicial method and philosophy that should be avoided at all costs. This book places these decisions in their historical context. It rejects the crude instrumental interpretation of these decisions and explains them as the expression of a conception of liberty that has its roots in the founding of the nation.
Owen M. Fiss is Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, a B.Phil. from Oxford University, and a LLB from Harvard University. Prior to teaching, he clerked for Thurgood Marshall, then a judge on the Second Circuit, and later for William J. Brennan, a justice of the Supreme Court. He taught at the University of Chicago from 1968 to 1974 and has taught at Yale Law School since 1974 to the present. Professor Fiss's most recent books include: Liberalism Divided (1996); The Irony of Free Speech (1996); A Way Out: America's Ghetto and the Legacy of Racism (2003); and The Law as it Could Be (2003).
Part I. The Legacy of Negative Examples: 1. Legitimacy and history; 2. The identity of the institution; Part II. Class Conflict and the Supreme Court: 3. Debs and the maintenance of public order; 4. Pollock - the redistributive function denied; Part III. The Response to Progressivism: 5. The Antitrust campaign; 6. Labor legislation and the theory of Lochner; 7. Rate regulation: the assault on Munn v. Illinois; Part IV. The Concept of the Nation: 8. The American empire?; 9. Federalism and liberty; Part V. Liberty Dishonored: 10. The Chinese cases: citizenship and the claims of procedure; 11. The early free speech cases; 12. Plessy, alas; 13. The end of a tradition?