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October 30, 2009

Professors Jeffrey Abramson and Lucas A. Powe Jr. present their latest books at Texas Book Festival, October 31–November 1, 2009

Professors Jeffrey Abramson and Lucas A. “Scot” Powe Jr., both law and government professors at the University of Texas at Austin, will discuss their latest books at the Texas Book Festival in Austin on Saturday, October 31, 2009, and Sunday, November 1, 2009.

Abramson and Powe are among the 220 of the nation’s most accomplished authors with recently published works that will be featured at the two-day, free festival at the Texas State Capitol this weekend. The talks are free and open to the public. Following each session, participants can buy books and have them signed by authors in a book signing tent.

Abramson will discuss his book, Minerva’s Owl: The Tradition of Western Political Thought (Harvard University Press 2009), on Saturday, October 31, 2009 in the Capitol Extension Room E2.028 from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. He is a professor of government and law and fellow of the Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Chair in Government at the University. His previous book is titled We, the Jury: The Jury System and the Ideal of Democracy. (Harvard University Press, 2000.)

Informal in tone yet serious in content, Minerva’s Owl serves as a lively and accessible guide for readers discovering the tradition of political thought that dates back to Socrates and Plato. Because the arguments of the great philosophers are nearly eternal, even those long schooled on politics will find that this book calls on recurring questions about morality and power, justice and war, the risk of democracy, the necessity for evil, the perils of tolerance, and the meaning of happiness.

Abramson will be introduced by UT professor Paul Woodruff who teaches philosophy and classics and serves as the dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies. His books include Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue (2001), First Democracy: The Challenge of an Ancient Idea (2005), and The Necessity of Theater (2008).

On Sunday, November 1, 2009, Powe will discuss his book, The Supreme Court and the American Elite, 1789–2008 (Harvard University Press, 2009), in the Capitol Extension Room E2.106 from 11 to 11:45 a.m. Introducing Powe at the session will be Thomas R. Phillips, a partner in the Austin office of Baker Botts, LLP and the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas from 1988–2004.

In Powe’s The Supreme Court and the American Elite, 1789–2008, he reveals the close fit between its decisions and the nation’s politics. Rendering crisp (and often controversial) judgments on key decisions from Marbury v. Madison to the War on Terror, Powe shows how virtually every major Supreme Court ruling, however deftly framed in constitutional terms, suited the wishes of the most powerful politicians of the time.

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. He currently is a professor of government and holds the Anne Green Regents Chair in Law at UT.

His three award-winning books were American Broadcasting and the First Amendment (California 1987), The Fourth Estate and the Constitution (California 1991), and The Warren Court and American Politics (Harvard 2000).

In addition, UT Law Dean Larry Sager will serve as the introducer to author Michael Sandel on Saturday, who will talk about his book, Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?, at the Paramount Theatre on Saturday, October 31. Sandel teaches government at Harvard University.

Directions to and a schedule can be found on the Texas Book Festival website. The festival was established in 1995 to honor Texas authors, promote the joys of reading and benefit the state’s public libraries.

Related links:
Texas Book Festival Author, Jeffrey Abramson

Texas Book Festival Author, Lucas A. Powe Jr.

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

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