The Supreme Court and McCarthy-Era Repression

The Supreme Court and McCarthy-Era Repression : One Hundred Decisions

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The 1950s "Red Scare" marks one of the stormiest periods in U.S. Supreme Court history. Robert M. Lichtman provides the definitive history of the high court's decisions in every one of the "Communist" cases it decided, placing each within the context of the time and revealing the broad range and impact of McCarthy-era repression. Making extensive use of the justices' papers, Lichtman examines the dynamics of the Court's changes in direction, from the Vinson Court's rubber-stamping of government action against subversives to the Warren Court's more liberal rulings and the subsequent retreat led by Felix Frankfurter. Lichtman's account details the Court's surprising vulnerability to popular and political attack and reveals the behind-the-scenes relationships and rivalries among justices. At the same time, he recounts in devastating detail the injuries inflicted by McCarthyism on individuals and the nation.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 312 pages
  • 154 x 232 x 22mm | 379.99g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0252080963
  • 9780252080968

Review quote

"A thoroughly researched, easily readable, and highly useful overview of the US Supreme Court's handling of Communist-related cases during the years 1948-1967."--The Historian "In describing every Communist decision by the Supreme Court during the McCarthy era, Robert M. Lichtman illuminates the incredible breadth of the anti-communist programs and the injuries they inflicted on the individuals affected and the nation as a whole."--Lucas A. Powe Jr., author of The Warren Court and American Politics "A masterful piece of painstaking legal research and measured analysis. Lichtman demonstrates dramatically the vulnerability of our most revered national institutions in the face of strong political and popular pressures, while at the same time revealing an impressive array of legal maneuvers judges can use to stave off permanent wounds to our constitutional heritage."--Patricia M. Wald, former Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit (ret.) "An overwhelmingly detailed, well-documented analysis of the reactions, attitudes, and decisions of the various Supreme Court justices in McCarthy-era cases. The many interesting historical, political, and biographical vignettes will attract readers interested in legal history, political science, and communications."--Daniel J. Leab, editor of American Communist History and author of Orwell Subverted: the CIA and the Filming of Animal Farm"A comprehensive reference work on the Court, with an excellent bibliography and abundant endnotes. . . . invaluable."--History News Network "In its vivid portrayal of the Court's attempts to balance liberty and order under severe pressures, The Supreme Court and McCarthy-Era Repression tells the story of a Court in turmoil that still managed to lay the foundation for the protection of civil rights."--Harvard Law Review "A concise yet comprehensive. . . .tool for historians seeking to understand the flow of anticommunist jurisprudence over more than a decade."--Journal of American Historyshow more

About Robert M. Lichtman

Robert M. Lichtman, a Washington, D.C. lawyer for nearly thirty years, has practiced in San Francisco since 1986. He is coauthor of Deadly Farce: Harvey Matusow and the Informer System in the McCarthy Era.show more

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