Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Robertson on Mississippi's constitutional history

Heroes, Rascals, and the Law: Constitutional Encounters in Mississippi History by James L. Robertson came out in 2018 with the University Press of Mississippi. From the publisher:
Heroes, Rascals, and the Law - Constitutional Encounters in Mississippi History
James L. Robertson focuses on folk encountering their constitutions and laws, in their courthouses and country stores, and in their daily lives, animating otherwise dry and inaccessible parchments. Robertson begins at statehood and continues through war and depression, well into the 1940s. He tells of slaves petitioning for freedom, populist sentiments fueling abnegation of the rule of law, the state’s many schemes for enticing Yankee capital to lift a people from poverty, and its sometimes tragic, always colorful romance with whiskey after the demise of national Prohibition. Each story is sprinkled with fascinating but heretofore unearthed facts and circumstances.
Robertson delves into the prejudices and practices of the times, local landscapes, and daily life and its dependence on our social compact. He offers the unique perspective of a judge, lawyer, scholar, and history buff, each role having tempered the lessons of the others. He focuses on a people, enriching encounters most know little about. Tales of understanding and humanity covering 130 years of heroes, rascals, and ordinary folk—with a bundle of engaging surprises—leave the reader pretty sure there’s nothing quite like Mississippi history told by a sage observer.
A few blurbs:

 "Readers of all political persuasions will be entertained, enlightened, and even dumbfounded by what litigants and courts have gotten themselves into, and only sometimes out of, during 130 years of Mississippi history. The book is a triumph of storytelling." - Leslie H. Southwick

"As a law student at Ole Miss, I was easily bored with the study of constitutional law. However, I did not have the benefit of studying under a gifted storyteller like Jimmy Robertson (he taught me federal civil procedure). This collection is a delightful romp through the highs and lows of Mississippi’s struggle to govern itself." - John Grisham

"Judge Robertson provides a rare conceptual view of complex historical legal issues with constitutional relevance that have occurred in Mississippi. In a skillful, scholarly, readable context, he puts people into history in an interesting storytelling style, making this book quite useful in academia from many perspectives, especially interdisciplinary teaching and learning." - Beverly Wade Hogan

Further information is available here.

--Mitra Sharafi