Thursday, October 13, 2011

New H-Law reviews: Reid, Watson, Taylor, Weber

H-Law has circulated three new book reviews, covering judicial independence, forensic medicine, and the philosophy of John Rawls:

John Phillip Reid, Legislating the Courts: Judicial Dependence in Early National New Hampshire (Northern Illinois University Press, 2008). Here's a snippet of the review, by Dominic DeBrincat (Southern Connecticut State University):
Reid seeks to dislodge two flawed tropes in early American judicial histories: Americans have always believed that legal success depends on a truly independent judiciary, and federal courts offer the best theater for studying judicial history. Instead, he shows that debates over state courts and judges--in particular, those in New Hampshire--also reveal deep concerns over judicial independence.
In DeBrincat's final assessment, the book is a "magnificently efficient and lucid study of judicial identity crises in the decades following the American Revolution." Read more here.

Katherine D. Watson, Forensic Medicine in Western Society: A History (Routledge, 2010). According to reviewer Lynne Curry (Eastern Illinois University), "Watson has produced a superb synthetic work of medical and legal history that is sweeping in its narrative scope while at the same time attentive to manifold key differences in legal and medical thought and practice, both among nations and over time." Read more here.

Robert S. Taylor, Reconstructing Rawls: The Kantian Foundations of Justice as Fairness (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011) and Eric Thomas Weber, Rawls, Dewey, and Constructivism: On the Epistemology of Justice (Continuum, 2010). Here's how reviewer Nicholas Tampio (Department of Political Science, Fordham University) fits the two together:
Philosophers for over three decades have been debating whether one can combine Kantian and Deweyan materials to build a sturdy theoretical edifice. Taylor and Weber, in the excellent books under consideration here, answer no, though, intriguingly, from opposite sides of the spectrum on which Rawls tried to place himself in the middle.
The full review is here.