There are few intellectual movements in modern American political history more successful than the Federalist Society. Created in 1982 to counterbalance what its founders considered a liberal legal establishment, the organization gradually evolved into the conservative legal establishment, and membership is all but required for any conservative lawyer who hopes to enter politics or the judiciary. It claims 40,000 members, including four Supreme Court Justices, dozens of federal judges, and every Republican attorney general since its inception. But its power goes even deeper.
In Ideas with Consequences, Amanda Hollis-Brusky provides the first comprehensive account of how the Federalist Society exerts its influence. Drawing from a huge trove of documents, transcripts, and interviews, she explains how the Federalist Society managed to revolutionize the jurisprudence for a wide variety of important legal issues. Many of these issues-including the extent of federal government power, the scope of the right to bear arms, and the parameters of corporate political speech-had long been considered settled. But the Federalist Society was able to upend the existing conventional wisdom, promoting constitutional theories that had previously been dismissed as ludicrously radical. As Hollis-Brusky shows, the Federalist Society provided several of the crucial ingredients needed to accomplish this constitutional revolution. It serves as a credentialing institution for conservative lawyers and judges and legitimizes novel interpretations of the constitution that employ a conservative framework. It also provides a judicial audience of like-minded peers, which prevents the well-documented phenomenon of conservative judges turning moderate after years on the bench. As a consequence, it is able to exercise enormous influence on important cases at every level.
A far-reaching analysis of some of the most controversial political and legal issues of our time, Ideas with Consequences is the essential guide to the Federalist Society at a time when its power has broader implications than ever.
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press|
|Series:||Studies in Postwar American Political Development Series|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Amanda Hollis-Brusky is Assistant Professor of Politics at Pomona College where she teaches courses in Constitutional Law, Legal Institutions, and American Politics. She has written on the conservative legal movement, the Christian Lawyering movement, Originalism, and Executive power. Her articles have appeared in journals such as Law and Social Inquiry and Studies in Law, Politics, and Society.
Table of Contents
1. Understanding Federalist Society Network Influence
Part I: The State Exists to Preserve Freedom
2. The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms: Lost and Found
3. Judicial Activism, Inc.: The First Amendment, Campaign Finance, and Citizens United
Part II: The Separation of Governmental Powers is Central to Our Constitution
4. Federalism and the Commerce Power: Returning to "First Principles"
5. State Sovereignty and the Tenth Amendment: The Anti-Commandeering Doctrine
Part III: It is Emphatically the Province and Duty of the Judiciary Branch to Say What the Law Is, Not What It Should Be
6. Saying What the Law Is: The Federalist Society and the Conservative Counterrevolution
Appendix A - An Agenda for Future Research: Looking Back, Looking Forward
Appendix B - List of Interviews