June 12, 2007

Summer Reading List

I’m sure the whole country is engrossed in Al Gore’s new book, Assault on Reason, but for those of you who are more interested in constitutional law and the judicial nominations process than what is going on inside Al Gore’s head here are three books that come at least partially recommended by three different conservatives:

First, in City Journal Harry Stein reviews Charles Pickering’s new book A Price Too High, and recounts his contentious fight for a seat on the Fifth Circuit when, as Stein puts it, “Democrats and their press enablers trashed his record and reputation.”

Meanwhile, in The Weekly Standard (subscription needed), Ed Whelan has a review of Benjamin Wittes’s Confirmation Wars: Preserving Independent Courts in Angry Times. Though Whelan’s review is generally very favorable, he does have several problems with the book. “In the end,” Whelan writes, “the confirmation wars that Wittes decries are only a symptom of a deeper illness--not, as Wittes asserts, the mere growth of judicial power, but rather the judicial usurpation of American citizens' power of self-governance on a broad range of issues that the Constitution, fairly construed, leaves to the political processes.”

Finally, Powerline blogger John Hinderaker suggests we all take a look Say What?: The Manhandling of the Constitution by Jim Dueholm. The book “traces the history of constitutional interpretation in the Supreme Court, and explains how, over the decades, we have moved farther and farther away from the Constitution that the framers wrote.” Furthermore, the book “is intended for lay readers, not just legal specialists. If you're looking for a clear, accessible and entertaining account of how the Supreme Court went wrong, written by a very smart lawyer, this is it.”