Cover image for Justices, presidents, and senators : a history of the U.S. Supreme Court appointments from Washington to Clinton
Justices, presidents, and senators : a history of the U.S. Supreme Court appointments from Washington to Clinton
Abraham, Henry J. (Henry Julian), 1921-
New and revised edition.
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiii, 429 pages : portraits ; 26 cm
General Note:
Rev. ed. of: Justices and presidents. 3rd ed. 1992.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF8742 .A72 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
KF8742 .A72 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
KF8742 .A72 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Available in paperback for the first time since the 1970s, this totally revised and updated classic is the most comprehensive and accessible history of the first 108 members of the U.S. Supreme Court ever written. Henry J. Abraham, one of the nation's preeminent scholars of the judicial branch, addresses the vital questions of why individual justices were nominated to the highest court, how their nominations were received by legislators of the day, whether the appointees ultimately lived up to the expectations of the American public, and the legacy of their jurisprudence on the development of American law and society. Abraham's insights into the history of the Supreme Court are unrivaled by other studies of the subject, and among his numerous observations is that fully one-fifth of its members were viewed as failures by the presidents who appointed them. Enhanced by photographs of every justice from 1789 to 1999, Abraham's eloquent writing and meticulous research guarantee that this book will interest both general readers and scholars.

Author Notes

Henry J. Abraham is the James Hart Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs Emeritus at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Written by one of America's greatest Court watchers, this is a revised edition of a book that in another form went through several editions, and in fact has long been one of the standard references on Supreme Court justices and the presidents who nominated them. This edition is current through President Clinton's appointment of Stephen Bryer in 1994. Loosely organized around "eras" in American political history or a distinct period of the Court itself, each chapter reviews the process of selecting each new justice, discusses considerations of the presidents in this process, identifies major issues before the Court during the period, and examines the most salient controversies or issues addressed by or at the Court during the period. Additional chapters offer brief discussions of the "ratings" of justices and presidents and general background on the Court. There is a useful bibliography. More anecdotal than analytic, nevertheless this book is a convenient reference and is chock full of useful information about the Court, the justices, and the behind-the-scenes considerations in the process of selecting justices. It should be of great use to high school and college students interested in the history of this important American institution. M. M. Feeley; University of California, Berkeley

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Preface to the First Editionp. xi
1 Introductory Reflections: Of Criteria, Evaluations, and Judgmentsp. 1
2 The Nixon Era: A Turbulent Case Studyp. 9
3 How They Get There: Appointing Supreme Court Justicesp. 17
4 Why They Get There: Qualifications and Rationalizationsp. 35
5 The First Forty Years: From George Washington to John Quincy Adams, 1789-1829p. 53
6 The Next Forty Years: From Andrew Jackson to Andrew Johnson, 1829-1869p. 71
7 The Balance of the Nineteenth Century: From Ulysses S. Grant to William McKinley, 1869-1901p. 95
8 Into the Twentieth Century: From Theodore Roosevelt to Herbert Hoover, 1901-1933p. 117
9 The Court Alters Course: FDR and Truman, 1933-1953p. 157
10 The Warren Court: From Ike to LBJ, 1953-1969p. 189
11 The Burger Court: From Nixon to Reagan, 1969-1986p. 251
12 The Rehnquist Court: Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, 1986-p. 291
13 Epiloguep. 327
Notesp. 331
Appendix A Rating Supreme Court Justicesp. 369
Appendix B Rating Presidentsp. 373
Appendix C Statistical Data on Supreme Court Justicesp. 377
Bibliographyp. 383
General Worksp. 384
Works about or by Individual Justicesp. 388
Photo Acknowledgmentsp. 411
Index of Casesp. 415
Index of Namesp. 419
About the Authorp. 429