The Truman Court: Law and the Limits of Loyalty

The Truman Court: Law and the Limits of Loyalty

by Rawn James Jr.
The Truman Court: Law and the Limits of Loyalty

The Truman Court: Law and the Limits of Loyalty

by Rawn James Jr.


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Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of Harry S. Truman’s presidency is his judicial legacy, with even the finest of Truman biographies neglecting to consider the influence he had on the Supreme Court. Yet, as Rawn James lays out in engaging detail, president Harry Truman successfully molded the high court into a judicial body that appeared to actively support his administration’s political agenda. In rulings that sparked controversy in their own time, the Supreme Court repeatedly upheld Truman’s most contentious policies, including actions to restrict free speech, expand civil rights, and manage labor union unrest.

The Truman Court: Law and the Limits of Loyalty argues that the years between FDR’s death in 1945 and Chief Justice Earl Warren’s confirmation in 1953—the dawn of the Cold War—were, contrary to widespread belief, important years in Supreme Court history. Never before or since has a president so quickly and completely changed the ideological and temperamental composition of the Court. With remarkable swiftness and certainty, Truman constructed a Court on which he relied to lend constitutional credence to his political agenda.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780826222299
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
Publication date: 06/04/2021
Edition description: 1
Pages: 316
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Rawn James, Jr. has practiced law in Washington, D.C. for 20 years.  His previous books are Root and Branch: Charles Hamilton Houston, Thurgood Marshall and the Struggle to End Segregation and The Double V: How Wars, Protest and Harry Truman Desegregated America's Military.

Table of Contents

Prologue xi

Chapter 1 "We Must Have Steel." 3

Chapter 2 Justice Harold Burton 11

Chapter 3 Attorney General Tom Clark 23

Chapter 4 The Court Truman Inherited and a Justice Abroad 31

Chapter 5 "The Very Nearly Indispensable Man" 43

Chapter 6 Death of a Chief Justice 51

Chapter 7 "The General Utility Man of Government" 61

Chapter 8 Open Warriors and Assassins 65

Chapter 9 "A Man to Trust" 73

Chapter 10 Meatless On-Strike Midterm Elections 79

Chapter 11 Labor's Troubled Waters 87

Chapter 12 The Chief Takes Charge 95

Chapter 13 A Civil Service 103

Chapter 14 Truman at the Lincoln Memorial 111

Chapter 15 Shelley v. Kraemer. The Judicial Revolution Begins 119

Chapter 16 Justice Douglas and the 1948 Presidential Election 129

Chapter 17 The Vinson Mission 137

Chapter 18 Justice Tom Clark 147

Chapter 19 Justice Sherman Minton 159

Chapter 20 Civil Liberties and Loyalty 165

Chapter 21 The Path to Brown: First Steps 181

Chapter 22 The Path to Brown: Unanimous Progress 189

Chapter 23 Caution in the Wind 199

Chapter 24 Monongahela River Valley Hope 205

Chapter 25 The District Court Hearing 215

Chapter 26 The Supreme Court Hearing 223

Chapter 27 Conference and Resolution 233

Chapter 28 "Zone of Twilight" 241

Chapter 29 A President's Nadir 247

Chapter 30 The Truman Court 255

Notes 259

Index 289

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