The Company They Keep: How Partisan Divisions Came to the Supreme Court


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Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.3 X 0.9 inches | 1.3 pounds

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About the Author

Neal Devins is Sandra Day O'Connor Professor of Law and Professor of Government at the College of William and Mary. He is the author of numerous books and articles discussing the intersection of law and politics, including The Democratic Constitution (Oxford 2015, 2nd edition) and articles in theYale, Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California law reviews. He has also written opinion pieces for Slate, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Lawrence Baum is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Ohio State University. He is the author of several books on judicial decision making and other topics, including Ideology in the Supreme Court (Princeton 2017), The Battle for the Court (Virginia 2017), and Judges and Their Audiences(Princeton 2006). He has published articles on a range of subjects in journals in political science and law.


"Preserving [the Supreme Court's] independence has grown far more difficult for reasons ably explored in Neal Devins and Lawrence Baums' The Company They Keep, a carefully argued and disturbing portrait of how partisan politics threaten to engulf the Court." -- New York Review of Books

"Drawing on the methodologies of social psychology and political science, Professors Neal Devins and Lawrence Baum argue that the ideological stances of Supreme Court Justices are informed by a more subtle force than party loyalty or changing public norms... Rather than framing the judiciary as politicians in robes, Devins and Baum's analysis seeks to expose the Justices of the Supreme Court as something perhaps more sinister - that is, as humans seeking validation." -- Harvard Law Review

"This fascinating book draws not only on political science and legal scholarship but on social psychology to bring us important new insights into the behavior of the Supreme Court justices whose decisions shape our constitutional order."-Linda Greenhouse, Lecturer, Yale Law School

"The Company They Keep is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand today's Supreme Court. Drawing upon a wide range of material from political science and American history, Neal Devins and Lawrence Baum carefully explain how partisan polarization has come to the Supreme Court. Their discussions of networks of legal elites and of the Republican Party's somewhat more effective use of those networks are particularly illuminating."-Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

"In a fascinating new book titled The Company They Keep to be published early next year, two prominent students of judicial behavior, Neal Devins and Lawrence Baum, explore the Supreme Court's current polarization through the lens of social psychology...It's a fresh observation of an old phenomenon." - Linda Greenhouse, The New York Times

"The Company They Keep breaks from the literature on Supreme Court decision-making by describing judicial partisanship as a social phenomenon -- a consequence, in part, of justices wanting approval from their elite peers. Devins, a law professor at William & Mary, and Baum, a political scientist at Ohio State, develop their argument by importing insights from social psychology. Devins and Baum put Supreme Court watchers on the right track by focusing on the justices not simply as individuals, but as members of teams that play in partisan political leagues... The Company They Keep reminds us that today's Supreme Court justices, far from calling balls and strikes, are very much in the game. And they're playing to win." -Mark A. Graber, Washington Monthly

"In the Company They Keep, Neal Devins and Lawrence Baum write an compelling, elegant, and permanent addition to the political science on the Court. In their view, the Court is substantially more influenced by elite than by popular opinion. The great strength of their book flows from arguments supported both by theory and empirics." - John McGinnis, Balkinization

"[The Company They Keep is] a book we're reading. It examines the elite social and political environment that surrounds justices and makes the powerful point that the growth of the Federalist Society has created a welcoming, reaffirming environment that helps conservative justices from drifting to the left and that contributed to the polarization of the court." - Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro, National Law Journal