Justices, Presidents, and Senators: A History of the U.S. Supreme Court Appointments from Washington to Bush II / Edition 5

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Revised to include the last eight years of Supreme Court decisions and nominations, this updated classic is the most comprehensive and accessible history of the first 110 members of the U.S. Supreme Court ever written. Henry J. Abraham, one of the nation's preeminent scholars of the judicial branch, addresses the vital questions of why individual justices were nominated to the highest court, how their nominations were received by legislators of the day, whether the appointees ultimately lived up to the expectations of the American public, and the legacy of their jurisprudence on the development of American law and society. Abraham's insights into the history of the Supreme Court are unrivaled by other studies of the subject, and among his numerous observations is that fully one-fifth of its members were viewed as failures by the presidents who appointed them. Enhanced by photographs of every justice from 1789 to 2007, Abraham's eloquent writing and meticulous research guarantee that this book will interest both general readers and scholars.

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Editorial Reviews

Barbara A. Perry
Dr. Abraham's up-to-date classic is THE DEFINITIVE book on Supreme Court appointments. No wonder it graces the shelves of the justices' libraries! All Court observers will relish its eloquent, insightful, vivid descriptions of judicial politics and history.
Keith J. Bybee
Everyone agrees that the selection of Supreme Court justices is important, but there is far less agreement about how the selection process is run and whether it actually yields good justices. Henry Abraham's magisterial Justices, Presidents, and Senators has long supplied a stable point of reference in this stormy debate over how the high bench is staffed and how well its members do their jobs. His updated and revised survey of presidential motivations, senatorial maneuvering, and judicial performance is sweeping in its scope, surefooted in its analysis, and will shape scholarly debate and informed public discussion for years to come.
Lee Epstein
I consult Justices, Presidents, and Senators on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Without question, it is the most balanced, the most accurate, and the most authoritative treatment of appointments to the Court. With this new edition, the inimitable Henry Abraham has pulled off what only he could do: improve on perfection.
David M. O'Brien
A definitive and fascinating study of the political history of Presidents appointing and the Senate confirming (or not) Supreme Court justices.
Herbert Kritzer
Justices, Presidents. and Senators is the standard reference book for anyone interested in understanding how the selection of Supreme Court justices has evolved over the course of American history. The new edition of Professor Abraham's book does not disappoint. Whether one agrees or disagrees with his analytic framework, the core information Professor Abraham provides is essential for anyone interested in the politics of judicial selection including scholars, policy actors, and informed citizens.
Mark Graber
Justices, Presidents, and Senators is the rare classic that has remained a classic for almost a half century. Every student of constitutional law, politics, history, and development has read this book and looks forward to each new edition.
Keith E. Whittington
This book has long been the essential starting point for any informed citizen or student hoping to learn about Supreme Court appointments. It is full of lively details and thick with insights about the long history of the sometimes uneasy relationships between presidents, justices, and senators.
Timothy R. Johnson
Henry Abraham illuminates the Supreme Court in a way that is accessible to legal academics, political scientists, and more general court watchers alike. His insights into the choices presidents made for their appointments to the bench are first rate, as is his analysis of the impact and success of those chosen to sit on the nation’s highest Court. For anyone seeking a comprehensive history of the Supreme Court, as well as of its nomination and confirmation process, Justices, Presidents, and Senators is a must read.
Christine L. Nemacheck
Henry Abraham's seminal work on US Supreme Court appointments is essential reading for anyone interested in the appointment of Supreme Court justices over the course of US history. Abraham's identification of criteria important in the appointment process has laid the groundwork for much of the continuing scholarship on judicial appointments. His historically rich discussion of the appointment of justices by Presidents from Washington to Bush will fascinate scholars and generally interested readers alike.
Nancy Maveety
The updated edition of Abraham's Justices, Presidents, and Senators affirms its status as a classic in the field of judicial politics. Providing historical context for the timely question of new appointments to the Supreme Court, Abraham offers a sophisticated and richly detailed analysis of the process of federal judicial selection and the political and legal factors that influence nomination and confirmation of judicial candidates.
Kevin T. McGuire
No book has done more to illuminate the history and the politics of appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court than Henry J. Abraham's Justices, Presidents, and Senators. Every page reveals Abraham's in-depth knowledge of how the major players and their goals have combined with the institutional constraints of an evolving selection system to determine the composition of the Court. It is replete with the kind of detail that one rarely finds in a single volume, all presented in Abraham's brilliant prose. The book is an indispensable reference —- and a pleasure to read!
Wendy L. Martinek
Based on a meticulously constructed and engagingly written historical narrative, Professor Abraham offers keen observations on the justices of the Supreme Court, the presidents who nominated them, and the senators who confirmed them. Justices, Presidents, and Senators provides readers with unique insights into the politics of judicial selection as well as the success (or failure) of individual justices in putting their imprimatur on the Court's jurisprudence. The result is a book that students will love and scholars will wish they had written.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742558953
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/24/2007
  • Edition description: Fifth Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 1,346,343
  • Product dimensions: 7.09 (w) x 10.05 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry J. Abraham, one of the country's most respected scholars of the U.S. Supreme Court, is James Hart Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs, Emeritus, at the University of Virginia and the author of numerous works. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 1. Introductory Reflections: Of Criteria, Evaluations, and Judgements Chapter 2 2. The Nixon Era: A Turbulent Case Study Chapter 3 3. How They Get There: Appointing Supreme Court Justices Chapter 4 4. Why They Get There: Qualifications and Rationalizations Chapter 5 5. The First Forty Years: From George Washington to John Quincy Adams, 1789-1829 Chapter 6 6. The Next Forty Years: From Andrew Jackson to Andrew Johnson, 1829-1869 Chapter 7 7. The Balance of the Nineteenth Century: From Ulysses S. Grant to William McKinley, 1869-1901 Chapter 8 8. Into the Twentieth Century: From Theodore Roosevelt to Herbert Hoover, 1901-1933 Chapter 9 9. The Court Alters Course: FDR and Truman, 1933-1953 Chapter 10 10. The Warren Court: From Ike to LBJ, 1953-1969 Chapter 11 11. The Burger Court: From Nixon to Reagan, 1969-1986 Chapter 12 12. The Rehnquist Court: Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton, 1986-2005 Chapter 13 13. The Roberts Court: 2005- Chapter 14 14. Epilogue Chapter 15 Appendix A: Rating Supreme Court Justices Chapter 16 Appendix B: Rating Presidents Chapter 17 Appendix C: Statistical Data on Supreme Court Justices

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