Friday, March 19, 2021

Hollis-Brusky & Wilson, "Separate but Faithful: The Christian Right's Radical Struggle to Transform Law & Legal Culture"

 Oxford University Press has published Separate but Faithful: The Christian Right's Radical Struggle to Transform Law & Legal Culture (Oct. 2020), by Amanda Hollis-Brusky (Pomona College) and Joshua C. Wilson (University of Denver). A description from the press:

Fueled by grassroots activism and a growing collection of formal political organizations, the Christian Right became an enormously influential force in American law and politics in the 1980s and 90s. While this vocal and visible political movement has long voiced grave concerns about the Supreme Court and cases such as Roe v. Wade, they weren't able to effectively enter the courtroom in a serious and sustained way until recently. During the pivot from the 20th to the 21st century, a small constellation of high-profile Christian Right leaders began to address this imbalance by investing in an array of institutions aimed at radically transforming American law and legal culture.

In Separate But Faithful, Amanda Hollis-Brusky and Joshua C. Wilson provide an in-depth examination of these efforts, including their causes, contours and consequences. Drawing on an impressive amount of original data from a variety of sources, they look at the conditions that gave rise to a set of distinctly "Christian Worldview" law schools and legal institutions. Further, Hollis-Brusky and Wilson analyze their institutional missions and cultural makeup and evaluate their transformative impacts on law and legal culture to date. In doing so, they find that this movement, while struggling to influence the legal and political mainstream, has succeeded in establishing a Christian conservative beacon of resistance; a separate but faithful space from which to incrementally challenge the dominant legal culture.

Both a compelling narrative of the rise of Christian Right lawyers and a trenchant analysis of how institutional networks fuel the growth of social movements, Separate But Faithful challenges the dominant perspectives of the politics of law in contemporary America.

Advance praise:

"Separate But Faithful is a fascinating, exhaustively researched, and highly readable story of the rise and challenges faced by three ultraconservative religious law schools-Ave Maria, Liberty, and Regent-and their mission driven faculty and students. It is also theoretically rich, focusing especially on 'support structure' theory in relation to social movements and law, and full of insights about legal hierarchies, the structure of legal education, and the role of law in social change. In short, it is a superb contribution as narrative and theory-builder." -- Bryant Garth

"Hollis-Brusky and Wilson's book, Separate But Faithful, is a comprehensive account of a legal movement on the rise, and one that has obtained significant positions of authority in government, including the courts. Their book is a must read for those seeking to understand the direction of the courts and the law, and how legal change happens." -- Leah Litman

More information is available here. And you can listen to an interview with the authors here, at New Books Network.

-- Karen Tani