Friday, November 2, 2018

The Long Reach of the Sixties

Laura Kalman (University of California, Santa Barbara), The Long Reach of the Sixties: LBJ, Nixon, and the Making the Contemporary Supreme Court (Oxford University Press, 2018).

“The 2016 election removed the last shred of doubt that the Supreme Court has become an important spoil of electoral success. But this is not truly a brand new phenomenon. Laura Kalman demonstrates the role that the presidencies of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon--- those quintessential figures of the turbulent 1960s---played in this process. Drawing on many newly available primary sources, she sets out in wonderfully accessible prose the way that Supreme Court appointments became a key aspect of presidents’ attempt to realize their agendas for the nation. In turn, the presidents’ opponents felt empowered to mobilize as never before in order to defeat appointments. This is not only a seminal work in American history; it also enables us to understand why nominations are likely to generate ever more bitter contention.”  

Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair, University of Texas School of Law