Friday, March 09, 2007

Whittington, Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy

Mark Graber

Keith Whittington's latest book, THE POLITICAL FOUNDATIONS OF JUDICIAL SUPREMACY: THE PRESIDENCY, THE SUPREME COURT, AND CONSTITUTIONAL LEADERSHIP IN U.S. HISTORY is a must read for any one interested in American constitutional law, history and politics. Unlike traditional scholars, who tell the story of American constitutional development through the lens of the Supreme Court, Whittington tells the story of American constitutional development, American judicial development, in particular, through the lens of the presidency. His work highlights how presidents in different phases of political time sometimes champion and sometimes oppose judicial power, and how the construction of judicial power in the United States is in large part the outcome of presidential efforts over time to fashion a federal judiciary that would serve a complex set of executive interests. As I say on the back of the book, "the historical evidence is complete and compelling" (Mark Tushnet uses the words "elegant, clearly presented, and persuasive"). Most important for readers interested in contemporary constitutional politics, Whittington makes clear that we will not understand the likely trajectory of the Roberts Court and the present Republican affinity for judicial activism unless we understand the reasons why the Bush administration has sought to fashion an exceptionally active judiciary, in particular one likely to be increasingly committed to executive power.

Older Posts
Newer Posts