Political Scientists and the Public Law Tradition

Louis Fisher

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Presidency

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199238859
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

Political Scientists and the Public Law Tradition

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It is rare for a political scientist or historian to dissect a judicial opinion and find its legal reasoning deficient. Political scientists are unlikely to be called before a congressional committee to testify on constitutional and legal matters or even to be solicited for advice on those issues. The public debate about the legality of the war centered around comments not from attorneys or political scientists but from three historians: Henry Steele Commager, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Edward S. Corwin. The first two strongly supported President Harry Truman; the third did not. Commager and Schlesinger did great damage to public law by defending a war that violated basic constitutional principles. In time, they admitted their errors. Legal standards suffered also from the writings of political scientist Richard Neustadt. Political scientists have a duty to keep alive an appreciation for the values that made America unique.

Keywords: Henry Steele Commager; Arthur M. Schlesinger; Edward S. Corwin; President Harry Truman; Richard Neustadt; public law

Article.  8840 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Politics and Law

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