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The Return of George Sutherland Paperback – April 22, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0691016283 ISBN-10: 0691016283

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (April 2, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691016283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691016283
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,113,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

Clearly and cogently and even dramatically done.... Hadley Arkes leads us into the deepest jungles of constitutional thought.... His is a stimulating safari.

From The New Yorker

Arkes's work is a welcome addition to this emerging body of constitutional thought. If given the attention it deserves, it may well fulfill both objectives embodied in its title.

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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
Despite the fact that constitutional historians rank George Sutherland among the 'near-greats" of the Supreme Court, the first-and only -Supreme Court Justice from Utah has been largely forgotten. If he is remembered at all, he it is only as the most able of that notorious reactionary quartet, the "Four Horsemen"-Sutherland, Van Devanter, Butler, and McReynolds- who stuggled in vain to overturn The New Deal.This is a pity, and not only because to be remembered as the most able of the Four Horsemen is akin to being remembered as the most able Italian General of World War Two. Sutherland was no blind reactionary ( And, to be fair, neither was the technically brilliant, but inarticulate Van Devanter), but a creative, often insightful jurist, whose contributions to legal theory still affect our lives today. Almost all of Modern zoning law, for example, comes from his decision in Euclid vs.Ambler, while His eloquent opinion in Powell vs.Alabama ( the 'Scottsboro Boys'case)helped to blaze the trail for the modern understanding of fair trials. Also, his opinions in U.S. vs. Curtis-Wright amnd Humphreys executor contributed much to our understanding of the scope and limits of Presidential power. If Arkes' book were merely an reminder of George Sutherlands many contributions to Constitutional law, it would be welcome. However, it is more than that, much more. The only previous scholarly study of Sutherland and his career, Douglas Paschal's A Man Versus the State, while largely sympathetic, had cast the Justice as an a disciple of Herbert Spencer and John Stuart Mill-a libertarian Social Darwinist.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Samuel J. Sharp on November 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the Return of George Sutherland, Professor Arkes argues for Sutherland's place in the catalog of great Supreme Court justices. Arkes portrays a judge misunderstand by scholars of today. Rather than impose a rigid economic worldview to the cases before him, Sutherland in fact applied a consistent search for moral truths, most of which preexisted, and are thus not found in, the Constitution. In this willingness to look beyond the text for answers to pressing legal questions, Sutherland actually, in a strange jurisprudential twist, is the father of modern liberal interpretation of the Constitution.

Much of the book is devoted to Arkes rearguing the cases of years past using Sutherland, sometimes, as a guide. In fact, Sutherland disappears from long stretches of the text which is unfortunate. This is not a traditional biography. As Arkes states in the Preface, "My purpose in this book is not to write a chronicle of the life of George Sutherland but to give an account of him in the part of his life that marks the central work . . . the task of this book is to understand his reasoning and give account of his jurisprudence." Arkes does this well, but the book ultimately is a fuller account of Arkes's view of natural rights than Sutherland's.
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