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May 1, 2009

Professor Scot Powe discusses, signs new book about history of Supreme Court, May 4, 2009

Book Cover for The Supreme Court and the American Elite

Photo of Scot Powe
Professor Lucas A. Powe, Jr.
Photo by Barbara Nelson.

Lucas A. “Scot” Powe Jr., a professor of law at the University of Texas Law School and of government at the University of Texas at Austin, will be at BookPeople Monday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m. to discuss and sign his latest book, The Supreme Court and the American Elite, 1789–2008 (Harvard University Press, 2009).

Powe, who clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas in 1970–1971, is a leading historian of the Supreme Court and a First Amendment scholar.

In his latest book, Powe provides a revealing look at the history of the Court and the close ties between its decisions and the nation’s politics at the time they were made. He renders fresh judgments on key decisions and shows the ways in which virtually every major Supreme Court ruling suited the wishes of the most powerful politicians of the time.

The story begins with the creation of the Constitution and ends with the June 2008 decisions on the rights of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The history reflects a changing Court, from the country’s early struggles over commerce and transport, to the “justifications” of slavery before the Civil War, to a post-New Deal interest in ending segregation, controlling criminal procedure and addressing questions arising from the Cold War.

Powe has written three other books, including The Warren Court and American Politics, and was a principal commentator on 2007’s four-part PBS series The Supreme Court. Powe joined the Law School faculty in 1971.

Related link:

The Supreme Court and the American Elite, 1789–2008 discussed on ShelfLife@Texas

Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or