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The Implosion of American Federalism Revised ed. Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195158410
ISBN-10: 0195158415
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Is the U.S. national government becoming more centralized and thus better able to reduce major political and social conflicts? In this controversial view of American federalism, (American constitutional law, Univ. of Colorado Sch. of Law) argues that "our political institutions are collapsing into the center" which isn't good. Discussing U.S. constitutional law, he considers whether current politics is "breaking down the understandings and social structures that maintain federalism." Nagel believes that this implosion of government power is leading to the centralization of authority and homogenization of society, reducing possibilities for both competition among state and national governments and different avenues of political participation. He strongly disagrees with analysts of U.S. Supreme Court federalism decisions, countering that the Court cannot support a robust federalism. Nagel's analysis of longer trends regarding U.S. government structures will interest individuals concerned with current politics and the future of American society. His thoughtful argument is highly recommended for larger public and academic libraries. Steven Puro, St. Louis Univ.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review


"His voice is conservative but with a surprising twist....[Nagel] suggests that the Court's 'new federalism' jurisprudence falls far short of restoring state government and politics to their full and proper vigor. "--The Washington Post


"A subtle and compelling analysis of the leading cases, which makes up the bulk of his splendid book, Nagel shows, first, that the Supreme Court has not really reasserted federalism but rather "domesticated" it. --The Weekly Standard


"Mr. Nagel...has produced a book that is at once scholarly and engaged...The case he makes is compelling."--The Washington Times


"No recent book matches Nagel's thoughtful and thought-provoking observations on federalism, the Supreme Court, and the state of American politics."--Michael S. Greve, AEI


"Confirms Nagel's reputation as one of the few truly radical thinkers writing on the Constitution....The book will enrage some and trouble others, but no one interested in constitutional law--or the health of the federal Republic--can afford to ignore Nagel's views."--H. Jefferson Powell, Duke University


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Revised ed. edition (November 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195158415
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195158410
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.7 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,373,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
In this book, Mr. Nagel explores an underappreciated theme; the increasing centralization of government authority ion the U.S. He attributes this to a few things; America's demand for the 'quick-fix' of the law, myths that our government was created by 'the people of America' instead of 'The people of the United States of America,' even the supreme courts fear of 'rocking the boat,' skirting around issues like abortion for fear of disturbing 'national unity.'
Mr. Nagel backs his thesis up beautifully in this crystal-clear written book, using everything from the supreme court stepping into state business, calling a state-wide attempt to ammend Colorado's constitution 'unreasonable' to the virtual consensus amongst constitutional law intellectuals to argue vehemently for 'nationalism.'
As I said this book is crystal clear and as easy to read as a book like this can be. My only complaint is that the last few chapters are muddled and rushed. His point (so far as I understand it) is to draw attention to the phenomenon of celebrity as assuaging our need for centralization by increasing our isolation from our actual neighbors, thus making us more dependent on a far-off government. This theory is not bad in itself; The problem is that it just doesn't fit with the legal arguments made in the first six chapters of the book. The last two chapters beat the hell out of the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal as an example of this and what he calls the 'Yale theory,' which is basically legalese used only to disguise lies. While this is certainly what Clinton did (and Clinton is the hallmark of political celebrity) again, this doesn't fit with the rest of the book. All in all though, the great writing, contreversial, thought-extrapolating theory and well argued case make this a pretty good book!
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Format: Paperback
I believe Nagel hits many important points in this book that we as Americans need to contemplate. His arguments are strong, and thought-provoking, which is important in this day and age when I think many of us our worried about the state of this nation. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in political philosophy and the law, independent of their political leanings. I look forward to more book by Nagel.
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