The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement: The Battle for Control of the Lawby Steven M. Teles
Pub. Date: 02/14/2010
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Starting in the 1970s, conservatives learned that electoral victory did not easily convert into a reversal of important liberal accomplishments, especially in the law. As a result, conservatives' mobilizing efforts increasingly turned to law schools, professional networks, public interest groups, and the judiciaryareas traditionally controlled by liberals.
Starting in the 1970s, conservatives learned that electoral victory did not easily convert into a reversal of important liberal accomplishments, especially in the law. As a result, conservatives' mobilizing efforts increasingly turned to law schools, professional networks, public interest groups, and the judiciaryareas traditionally controlled by liberals. Drawing from internal documents, as well as interviews with key conservative figures, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement examines this sometimes fitful, and still only partially successful, conservative challenge to liberal domination of the law and American legal institutions.
Unlike accounts that depict the conservatives as fiendishly skilled, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement reveals the formidable challenges that conservatives faced in competing with legal liberalism. Steven Teles explores how conservative mobilization was shaped by the legal profession, the legacy of the liberal movement, and the difficulties in matching strategic opportunities with effective organizational responses. He explains how foundations and groups promoting conservative ideas built a network designed to dislodge legal liberalism from American elite institutions. And he portrays the reality, not of a grand strategy masterfully pursued, but of individuals and political entrepreneurs learning from trial and error.
Using previously unavailable materials from the Olin Foundation, Federalist Society, Center for Individual Rights, Institute for Justice, and Law and Economics Center, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement provides an unprecedented look at the inner life of the conservative movement. Lawyers, historians, sociologists, political scientists, and activists seeking to learn from the conservative experience in the law will find it compelling reading.
- Princeton University Press
- Publication date:
- Princeton Studies in American Politics: Historical, International, and Comparative Perspectives Series
- Product dimensions:
- 5.60(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Political Competition, Legal Change, and the New American State 6
Chapter 2. The Rise of the Liberal Legal Network 22
Chapter 3. Conservative Public Interest Law I: Mistakes Made 58
Chapter 4. Law and Economics I: Out of the Wilderness 90
Chapter 5. The Federalist Society: Counter-Networking 135
Chapter 6. Law and Economics II: Institutionalization 181
Chapter 7. Conservative Public Interest Law II: Lessons Learned 220
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A compelling work that not only chronicles the rise of the conservative legal movement--both in academe and in conservative public interest law--but goes a long way to explaining it. Through exhaustive research (including unusual access to organizations' archives) and adept application of political science theory, Teles debunks the myth that the conservative legal movement's ascendancy was foreordained (by its deep pockets or mastery of Machiavellian strategy), chronicling and explaining its many failures as well as its ultimate successes. What led to the success of such organizations as the Federalist Society and the Institute for Justice was a mixture of far-sighted foundation funding, entrepreneurial energy, intellectual idealism, strategic compromise regarding which issues were political and legal winners and which should be sacrificed, and not a little luck. Teles is particularly good regarding the importance of legal elitism: the fact that Law and Economics gained a foothold at schools like Yale, Harvard, and Stanford mattered much more than its ability to take over (low-status) George Mason. Highly recommended.