The Strange Career of Legal Liberalism

The Strange Career of Legal Liberalism

by Laura Kalman
     
 

Legal scholarship is in a state of crisis, argues Laura Kalman in this history of the most prestigious field in law studies, constitutional theory. Since the New Deal, Kalman says, most law scholars have identified themselves as liberals who believe in the power of the Supreme Court to effect progressive social change. In recent years, however, new political and… See more details below

Overview

Legal scholarship is in a state of crisis, argues Laura Kalman in this history of the most prestigious field in law studies, constitutional theory. Since the New Deal, Kalman says, most law scholars have identified themselves as liberals who believe in the power of the Supreme Court to effect progressive social change. In recent years, however, new political and interdisciplinary perspectives have undermined the tenets of legal liberalism, and liberal law professors have enlisted other disciplines in the attempt to legitimize their beliefs. Such prominent legal thinkers as Cass Sunstein, Bruce Ackerman, and Frank Michelman have incorporated the work of historians into their legal theories and arguments, turning to eighteenth-century republicanism - which stressed communal values and an active citizenry - to justify their goals. Kalman, a historian and a lawyer, suggests that reliance on history in legal thinking makes sense at a time when the Supreme Court repeatedly declares that it will protect only those liberties rooted in history and tradition. There are pitfalls in interdisciplinary argumentation, she cautions, for historians' reactions to this use of their work have been unenthusiastic and even hostile. Yet lawyers, law professors, and historians have cooperated in some recent Supreme Court cases, and Kalman concludes with a practical examination of the ways they can work together more effectively as social activists.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300076479
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
08/28/1998
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.82(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue: Faith of Our Fathers1
Pt. IThe Spell of the Warren Court
Ch. 1Times to Remember13
Ch. 2"Law And"60
Ch. 3Interlude: Thinking about Thinking94
Ch. 4Crisis101
Ch. 5The Turn To History132
Pt. IILawyers and Historians
Ch. 6Lawyers v. Historians167
Ch. 7Trading Places191
Epilogue: Liberalism, History, and Law Professors230
Notes247
Index361

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