Earlier this month Christopher Schmidt (IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law/American Bar Foundation) reviewed Jefferson Cowie, The Great Exception: The New Deal and the Limits of American Politics (2016). A taste:
In The Great Exception: The New Deal and the Limits of American Politics, Jefferson Cowie has written a slim, brisk work of historical synthesis in which he seeks to reframe how we understand twentieth-century American political history. In this essay, I describe Cowie’s insightful and provocative revisionist account of the New Deal and its place in American history. At the end of the essay, I consider some questions the book raises for legal historians.
Kerry Abrams (University of Virginia) reviewed Courtney G. Joslin, "Federalism and Family Status," published in 2015 in the Indiana Law Journal. The review begins:
Should the definition of “marriage” be federal? What about the definitions of “parent” and “child”? Courtney Joslin’s carefully written article, Federalism and Family Status, traces the history of how the law has treated family status determinations and sets forth a framework, grounded in the federalism literature, on when family status should be determined on a state-by-state basis or as a federal matter.
Jack Beerman (Boston University) reviewed Jed Handelsman Shugerman, "The Dependent Origins of Independent Agencies: The Interstate Commerce Commission, the Tenure of Office Act, and the Rise of Modern Campaign Finance," published in 2015 in the Journal of Law and Policy. From the first paragraph:
Many law review articles fail to live up to the promise of their titles or abstracts, leaving disappointed readers in their wake. Others have titles that hide the ball. Behind the wordy and somewhat bland title of Jed Shugerman’s 2015 article—The Dependent Origins of Independent Agencies: The Interstate Commerce Commission, the Tenure of Office Act, and the Rise of Modern Campaign Finance—lies a fascinating new take on the origins of independent agencies.
And, most recently, Mary Ziegler (Florida State University) reviewed Marie-Amélie George, "The Custody Crucible: The Development of Scientific Authority About Gay and Lesbian Parents," which appeared in Volume 34 of the Law and History Review (2016). Here's her take:
Marie-Amélie George’s meticulously researched, provocative study of early gay-and-lesbian custody cases focuses on the power of social science research to reshape both the law and the larger society. George takes us inside the courtroom fights, landmark parenting studies, and conservative strategies that have defined debates about the meaning and origins of homosexuality. Using published opinions, rare trial records, oral histories, personal correspondence, and social-movement records, The Custody Crucible describes how social-science arguments made the difference to gay and lesbian parents seeking to prove that their sexual orientation in no way harmed their children.