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Executive Disorder: The Subversion of the United States Supreme Court, 1914-1940 Paperback – June 23, 2010
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A very well-researched history, and a valuable view over our shoulders as we face similar ends-versus-means debates today.
But you have almost certainly never heard the compelling and powerful story of that era as seen through the eyes of one of the "Four Horsemen"--the four Supreme Court Justices who consistently opposed FDR's expansion of the breath and scope of the federal government's grasp. The recently released book titled Executive Disorder: The Subversion of the United States Supreme Court, 1914-1940 tells this important story. This breezy yet gripping narrative carefully recounts--using the writings of Justice James Clark McReynolds and others--the events that led to the dismantling of substantive due process and the broadened perceived reach of the Commerce Clause. The following excerpt from Justice McReynolds' opinion in Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52 (1925) succinctly summarizes his view of these issues:
If the phrase `executive power' infolds the one now claimed, many others heretofore totally unsuspected may lie there awaiting future supposed necessity, and no human intelligence can define the field of the President's permissible activities. A masked battery of constructive powers would complete the destruction of liberty.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the author of Executive Disorder, Ann McReynolds Bush, for providing us with this fascinating account. It is a "must read" for students of constitutional history and libertarian philosophy.
A good read.