|Title||:||Hugo Black and the judicial revolution|
|Number of Pages||:||492 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Hugo Black and the judicial revolution Reviews
Hugo Black served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court for a long time, 1937-1971, retiring a week before his death. In fact, he was and remains one of the longest-serving Justices in history. This comprehensive professional biography by Dunne spans that entire time, plus Black's rise from country lawyer in Alabama to the U.S. Senate before being named to the Court by Franklin Roosevelt. But the bulk of the book concerns his time on the Court. Dunne breezes through Black's early years, paying extra attention only when Black joins the KKK in the early 1920s. He does a thorough job of explaining, as near as one can, why Black joined that racist and terrorist group. Despite being born in Alabama, Black held - but did not advertise until much later in his life - very progressive views on race. He was even endorsed by the NAACP when his Supreme Court nomination was up for discussion by the Senate. His joining the group was mainly a political, not personal, move. KKK membership in 1920s Alabama was almost a requirement to gain a political base. This is not to excuse his joining this awful group - there really can be no excuse for that. But, as is always the case with history, the context of the place and time period must be taken into consideration when judging an individual's action. But Black was not forthcoming about his past KKK membership (he resigned it when he got elected to the Senate in 1926). Only under duress, and immediately following his confirmation, did he finally tersely admit to once being a Klansman. Had this been found out prior to the nomination, it is questionable if FDR would have went ahead with it. We will never know, but an educated guess would say no as FDR, reeling from the implosion of his attempted court-packing plan, surely would have wished to have avoided further Supreme Court controversy by nominating someone tinged by membership in a repulsive organization. Dunne then moves into Black's judicial tenure, briefly reviewing Black's decisions in case after case. Despite the book being a quick read thanks to it being well-written, the almost interminable cases begin to run together after awhile. Dunne really does not provide much background on most of the cases (Brown V. Board of Education being an important exception, so if the reader is not well-versed in Supreme Court cases from this era, it can be disorienting in trying to figure out just how and why Black voted the way that he did on each particular case. More context on some of the decisions would have been helpful, especially when he combines some cases together in terms of timing as to when they were decided. Also lacking from the book is a sense of who Black really was as a man. His first wife died around 50 years old, but Dunne does not tell us why. Nor does he say that she had been ill. She is just suddenly dead. Black's personal life is left largely untouched, although Dunne does spend a lot of time discussing Black's long-running battles with fellow Justice Felix Frankfurter. The Supreme Court and Black's decisions while on it dominate the narrative. But Dunne never explains things such as why Black enjoyed the law so much or why he was so progressive in his views on race. This is recommended for anyone with an interest in the Supreme Court in the mid-20th century. Grade: C+
this is a bad, bad, poorly written biography. run do not walk to the nearest exit.