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The People's Courts: Pursuing Judicial Independence in America Hardcover – February 6, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


This is an important book on a vastly important topic--the indispensable source for anyone interested in how the United States arrived at the 'peculiar institution' of judicial elections. (John Fabian Witt, Yale Law School)

The People's Courts is the first comprehensive history of judicial elections, an exciting work that sharply challenges how we usually think about courts, constitutionalism, and democracy. For a long time to come this is going to be the definitive book on elected judiciaries. (Robert W. Gordon, Stanford Law School)

A powerfully framed and comprehensive exploration of how judges and politicians (often politician-judges) responded to the apparent tensions between popular democracy and judicial independence. The People's Courts will be essential reading for everyone interested in the political history of the judiciary. (Hendrik Hartog, Princeton University)

Shugerman looks at changes in how judges have been appointed and elected over the years, and how battles over judges and judicial elections have increased in recent years...Well worth reading for those interested in legal history as well as for those interested in how politics and society shape the legal system. (S. A. Merriman Choice 2012-09-01)

About the Author

Jed Handelsman Shugerman is Assistant Professor at Harvard Law School.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (February 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674055489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674055483
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #921,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Charles B. Schudson on June 3, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Superb! "The People's Courts" is a masterful, scholarly work. Comprehensively, it provides the history of judicial selection in America. Analytically, it disabuses the reader of any simplistic notion of the relative advantages and disadvantages of appointive, elective, and merit selection systems. Fascinating and, for a definitively detailed work of this nature, surprisingly readable. Professor Shugerman ... thank you!

Charles B. Schudson
Wisconsin Reserve Judge Emeritus
Adjunct Professor of Law
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