The Constitution in Congress series has been called nothing less than a biography of the US Constitution for its in-depth examination of the role that the legislative and executive branches have played in the development of constitutional interpretation. This third volume in the series, the early installments of which dealt with the Federalist and Jeffersonian eras, continues this examination with the Jacksonian revolution of 1829 and subsequent efforts by Democrats to dismantle Henry Clay’s celebrated “American System” of nationalist economics. David P. Currie covers the political events of the period leading up to the start of the Civil War, showing how the slavery question, although seldom overtly discussed in the debates included in this volume, underlies the Southern insistence on strict interpretation of federal powers. Like its predecessors, The Constitution in Congress: Democrats and Whigs will be an invaluable reference for legal scholars and constitutional historians alike.
Presents a history of the U.S. Congress, describing its powers, structure, and functions, its relationship with other branches of government, and the influence that politics and well-known legislators have on its agenda.
The Supreme Court today exercises power over the lives of citizens that, in important respects, exceeds that of other branches of the federal government. Life-tenured justices wield this enormous power for two or three decades and the only process that provides some accountability to the people occurs as new appointments regenerate the Court. Because justices now serve so long, that process occurs only rarely and irregularly and may be affected by a justice's desire to have a successor appointed by a like-minded president. Some presidents have great influence on the Court's future decisions by the happenstance that they receive three or more appointments; other presidents have little or no influence because no vacancies arise during their terms. This collection of essays by eminent legal scholars provides a comprehensive, balanced, and compelling examination of a largely neglected, but very important, subject. What are the harmful consequences of the lengthening tenure of Supreme Court justices? Do those consequences suggest that reform is necessary or desirable? Can the problem be remedied by congressional enactments or is a constitutional amendment required?