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The Federalist Society: How Conservatives Took the Law Back from Liberals Hardcover – April 16, 2013
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"Avery and McLaughlin have written an important, highly informative book about the role of the Federalist Society in shaping jurisprudence and public policy over the last 30 years. [...] Recommended."
"...clear and engaging..."
--Los Angeles Review of Books
"...it’s possible, given the volume of information in this book, to reconstruct a thesis about why the Federalist Society was so effective in changing the legal debate in America. [...] With striking clairvoyance, it outlined an incrementalist strategy for narrowing the right to reproductive choice and predicted, accurately, that the expansive jurisprudence of personal autonomy, recognized in cases like Roe v. Wade, might eventually lead to the judicial recognition of gay marriage."
--The New York Times Book Review
"...illuminating and important..."
--Washington Independent Review of Books
"Much of what The Federalist Society covers will be familiar to readers who closely follow law or politics, but even those readers will find value in its straightforward mix of history, case studies, and legal arguments. For others, it serves as an introduction to a long-term story that has slowly and quietly--but dramatically--changed the American legal system."
"Fascinating, well-written and hard-hitting piece of writing underscoring the importance of the federal judiciary in our democracy. The politicization of the courts is a topic more relevant than ever in these partisan times, and Avery and McLaughlin's concise, incisive style does it justice."
--Nan Aron, President and Founder, Alliance for Justice
"Michael Avery and Danielle McLaughlin have written a compelling book about how the Federalist Society came to prominence, its tremendous influence in Republican presidential administrations especially in the selection of judges, and its conservative ideology on major issues of constitutional law. It is a story of how ideas, money, and careful planning came together to change the legal landscape. This well-written book is a must read for all who want to understand the conservative movement in law, its views and those advancing them."
--Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Distinguished Professor, University of California, Irvine School of Law
"A compelling intellectual history of the rise of the powerful Federalist Society, this is a thoughtful recounting of all the ways in which the group has impacted and influenced legal doctrine, and a roadmap of what's to come should their ascendancy continue. Anyone who cares about the courts or the law will find The Federalist Society a stark reminder of the power of abstract ideas to effect real and lasting change for decades."
--Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor, Slate.com
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Chapter 2 is slanted in a different direction. Instead of ranting about the Takings Clause, the Chapter instead focuses on a single scholar-Professor Richard Epstein. Epstein was the Dean at the University of Chicago Law School while then young lawyer Barack Obama claimed he was a "professor of Constitutional Law" there. Epstein embarrassed both Obama and his supporters by pointing out that now President Obama was never a "professor" at all, and that he never taught "Constitutional Law." ABA rules, in fact, prohibit a non-professor from teaching core courses like Constitutional Law. Obama's position was closer to that of a adjunct professor teaching a specialized course in civil rights. While a course in civil rights might include Supreme Court cases, so would a course in Anti-Trust or Securities Regulation. That doesn't make instructors in those courses "professors of Constitutional Law" either.
Having embarrassed President Obama with the truth, the authors set out to embarrass Epstein by inaccurately characterizing his scholarship on the Takings Clause. Epstein is a sort of pragmatic libertarian who himself frequently criticizes "small-government libertarians" who he alternatively refers to with the adjectives "stark," "die-hard"' "pure", "restrictive"," or "strong," and as being unwilling to accept "forced exchanges" in return for some kind of "just compensation."
The authors then pillory Epstein as a symbol of The Federalist Society--a sort of trial by innuendo.
I won't go on because there is little redeeming character remaining in this book, except for those who know little. However, the more you know, the less you'll accept what you read here after page 21.