Repugnant Laws: Judicial Review of Acts of Congress from the Founding to the Present

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Product Details

University Press of Kansas
Publish Date
6.4 X 1.4 X 9.3 inches | 1.75 pounds

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About the Author

Keith E. Whittington is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University. His many books include Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy, Speak Freely, and, also from Kansas, Constitutional Interpretation.


"Whittington here offers a thorough rejoinder to the often-repeated notion that the Supreme Court's exercise of judicial review is counter majoritarian. He also offers novel and thought-provoking analyses of famous cases, placing them in new light. There may be no better time to seek a fuller understanding of how judicial independence (whether in the form of activism or otherwise) can arise in different forms. Whittington's book is sure to inform those discussions. Highly recommended."--Choice
"As contemporary judicial selection politics amplify the urgency of discussions regarding judicial activism, the Court's legitimacy, and the relationship between party and judicial office, Whittington's study reminds readers that the Supreme Court has long acted as a nation-builder and an arm of the national state, operating within partisan politics. In stressing 'the conditional quality of judicial independence, ' Whittington offers the counsel of perspective on our current era of partisan polarization and strained inter-branch relations."--Nancy Maveety, author of Queen's Court: Judicial Power in the Rehnquist Era

"Keith Whittington's invaluable and comprehensive survey of Supreme Court decisions striking downmdash;and upholding--federal statutes carefully maps the complex relations between the Court and the political coalitions that produce, support, or sometimes abandon the laws the Court reviews. Bringing insights from American political development to bear, Whittington has supplanted Robert Dahl's classic work while preserving its core. Everyone interested in American political development and the Supreme Court must now take this work into account."--Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

"Any book by Keith Whittington is an important book, and this one is no exception. Facts matter and this book provides them. From now on, no discussion of the practice of judicial review can ignore its empirical findings. The most cynical political scientist will need to come to grips with its conclusion that 'the justices are not lapdogs, and they have often bitten the hand of the party that put them on the bench.' At the same time, idealists will need to incorporate its findings that the 'justices have proven themselves to be allies of [their] political coalition leaders.' Simply a must-read for any serious student of our Constitution and how it actually works."--Randy E. Barnett, director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution; author of Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People