New Deal Justice: The Constitutional Jurisprudence of Hugo L. Black, Felix Frankfurter, and Robert H. Jackson (Studies in American Constitutionalism Series)

New Deal Justice: The Constitutional Jurisprudence of Hugo L. Black, Felix Frankfurter, and Robert H. Jackson (Studies in American Constitutionalism Series)

by Jeffrey D. Hockett
     
 

This well-researched and engrossing book illuminates the constitutional jurisprudence of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's most notable appointees to the United States Supreme Court—Hugo L. Black, Felix Frankfurter, and Robert H. Jackson. New Deal Justice draws extensively upon the memoirs, writings, opinions, and personal papers of these justices but also

Overview

This well-researched and engrossing book illuminates the constitutional jurisprudence of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's most notable appointees to the United States Supreme Court—Hugo L. Black, Felix Frankfurter, and Robert H. Jackson. New Deal Justice draws extensively upon the memoirs, writings, opinions, and personal papers of these justices but also employs the insights of recent works on American legal, social, and political theory to dramatically alter the theoretical lens through which previous scholars have analyzed their decision making. Hockett pays particular attention to Black's controversial constitutional absolutism, Frankfurter's extraordinary deference to the decisions of legislative and administrative bodies, and Jackson's pragmatic use of the power of judicial review. The author persuasively argues that the New Deal Court was characterized by regional, cultural, and ideological tensions that manifested in the social and political theories of these three justices. This is important reading for students and scholars of constitutional judicial theory and the history of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Editorial Reviews

H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
The book is well written and has good insights.
— Richard D. Friedman, University of Michigan Law School
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
The book is well written and has good insights.
— Richard D. Friedman, University of Michigan Law School
David M. O'Brien
. . . a significant contribution to the literatures on the jurisprudence, history, and politics of the New Deal era.
Kermit L. Hall
A splendid addition to the literature on the New Deal Justices and, as importantly, to the interplay of politics, law, and culture in the judicial decision-making process of the modern Supreme Court.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online - Richard D. Friedman
The book is well written and has good insights.
American Political Science Review - William Lasser
Hockett has added a significant piece to the puzzle of the mid-twentieth-century court.
Perspectives on Political Science
Hockett presents a rich historical account of Populist and Progressive thought, appealing biographical portraits of the three justices, and a good overview of Post-New Deal landmark cases.
Judicature
. . . can serve as an important starting point for students and scholars of judicial theory and the history of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Perspectives On Political Science
Hockett presents a rich historical account of Populist and Progressive thought, appealing biographical portraits of the three justices, and a good overview of Post-New Deal landmark cases.
H-Net
The book is well written and has good insights.
— Richard D. Friedman
American Political Science Review
Hockett has added a significant piece to the puzzle of the mid-twentieth-century court.
— William Lasser
Law and History Review
New Deal Justice is tightly written and forcefully argued. It provides an excellent introduction for people interested in understanding Supreme Court decision making during the immediate postwar period. Hockett does a wonderful job of demonstrating how the tenets of both Populism and Progressivism made their way into the constitutional thought associated with the New Deal.
Howard Ball
NEW DEAL JUSTICE has, as its central focus, an explanation and a comparison of the jurisprudence of three of Roosevelt's major appointments to the Supreme Court: Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, and Robert Jackson. It is a book written, according to the author, about judicial decision-making in the pre- and post-industrial era of American history. It was expanded beyond a study of Justice Jackson because Hockett believes there is "much more to be said about the underpinnings of each man's constitutional jurisprudence" (p. ix) than has been written to-date by scholars. Hockett's contentions, certainly not earth-shattering ones, are as follows: (1) Political and jurisprudential perceptions are a consequence of the person's reactions to the political, economic, cultural, and regional forces that surrounded him or her during the formative years. (2) The values and attributes of the person, a consequence of the myriad forces present during the formative years, influence his or her political and judicial decisions. By exploring a person's ideological, regional, and cultural backgrounds, one can explain his or her subsequent judicial behavior and performance as a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Given Black's growing up during the Populist period in a hierarchical agrarian Alabama, one understands the later antihierarchial rights views he held as a U.S. Senator and as an Associate Justice. Likewise, understanding Frankfurter's maturation under the influence of Progressivism accounts for his fears of judicial abstraction and his behavior as an Associate Justice. And, of course, one can account for Jackson's judicial pragmatism by examining his growing up in a rural area of New York, without formal college education and with no formal legal training. That, in sum, is Hockett's focus and his contentions. Furthermore, he maintains that most of those researchers who have studied these three jurists (and their colleagues on their Courts) have somehow failed to understand these cultural/regional/ideological values and their impact on men and women growing up in such a pre- and post-industrial environment (late nineteenth and early twentieth century). To make his case, Hockett uses the same materials that others have used to understand and then to explain judicial behavior of the men and women who have sat and are sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court. That is, the files of the three justices at the Library of Congress, have been the primary sources for his book. He uses them as well as others who have preceded him in this archival work. He has also used, to his advantage, existing secondary sources on the lives of these three jurists. The sources used are the appropriate ones and Hockett optimally exploits them to make his points about the errors of past authors. NEW DEAL JUSTICE is a well-organized and clearly written attack on the existing literature. Hockett contends that too many scholars have simply misread Black and Frankfurter and have not really taken the time to understand Jackson. I will let readers determine how successful Hockett has been in his effort to provide fresh, new insights into the jurisprudence of Justices Black, Frankfurter, and Jackson.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780847682102
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
06/04/1996
Series:
New Deal Justice Series
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.38(h) x 0.92(d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey D. Hockett is assistant professor of political science at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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