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Judicial Review and American Conservatism
Christianity, Public Education, and the Federal Courts in the Reagan Era


Part of Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society

  • Date Published: May 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107060555

£ 44.99

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About the Authors
  • The Christian Right of the 1980s forged its political identity largely in response to what it perceived as liberal 'judicial activism'. Robert Daniel Rubin tells this story as it played out in Mobile, Alabama. There, a community conflict pitted a group of conservative evangelicals, a sympathetic federal judge, and a handful of conservative intellectuals against a religious agnostic opposed to prayer in schools, and a school system accused of promoting a religion called 'secular humanism'. The twists in the Mobile conflict speak to the changes and continuities that marked the relationship of 1980s' religious conservatism to democracy, the courts, and the Constitution. By alternately focusing its gaze on the local conflict and related events in Washington, DC, this book weaves a captivating narrative. Historians, political scientists, and constitutional lawyers will find, in Rubin's study, a challenging new perspective on the history of the Christian Right in the United States.

    • Examines the role of constitutional politics in recent US history to give a greater understanding of how different groups responded to the 'rights revolution' of the 1960s
    • Examines the hostility toward federal judges in the recent American Right to give insight into a neglected aspect of recent political history
    • Makes copious use of interviews to show that real individuals, and not just ideas, drove the events in the story
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Rubin's original and insightful book covers important new ground. I'm impressed with his thought-provoking analysis, clear command of the material, and strong writing. In focusing on one particular region and set of court cases, he sheds new light on the history of the conservative legal movement and tells a fascinating story that will be of interest to many readers.' Daniel K. Williams, University of West Georgia and author of Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement before Roe v. Wade

    'Robert Daniel Rubin's well-researched and clearly-argued book is a must read for those interested in how 'religious liberty' became a legal concept that conservative Christian litigants have used to wage a culture war against liberal and judicial overreach. His exhaustive account of the Alabama church-state cases of the 1980s, presided over by Judge Brevard Hand, illuminates our fraught contemporary judicial struggles.' Andrew Hartman, author of A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars

    'Judicial Review and American Conservatism tells a fascinating and timely story. In a wide-ranging and well-told tale about the battle between a parent and the Mobile, Alabama schools over prayer in the classroom, Robert Daniel Rubin insightfully chronicles the rise of legal conservatism in 1970s America.' Michael Grossberg, Indiana University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107060555
    • length: 354 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.63kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction. Conservatism and the Constitution
    1. Massive resistance
    2. The moral majority of Alabamians
    3. Justice made political
    4. Accommodation
    5. Showdown
    6. The trouble with secularism
    7. Religion by any other name
    Conclusion. The Constitution and the people.

  • Author

    Robert Daniel Rubin
    Robert Daniel Rubin is an independent scholar.

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