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- DescriptionWinner of the Henry Adams Prize from the Society for the History of the Federal GovernmentA Washington Post Notable Work of NonfictionA Slate Best Book of 2014 The inside story of the Supreme Court decisions that brought true democracy to the United StatesAs chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Earl Warren is most often remembered for landmark rulings in favor of desegregation and the rights of the accused. But Warren himself identified a lesser kwn group of cases-Baker v. Carr, Reylds v. Sims, and their companions-as his most important work. J. Douglas Smith's On Democracy's Doorstep masterfully recounts the tumultuous and often overlooked events that established the principle of one person, one vote in the United States.Before the Warren Court acted, American democracy was in poor order. As citizens migrated to urban areas, legislative boundaries remained the same, giving rural lawmakers from sparsely populated districts disproportionate political power-a power they often used on behalf of influential business interests. Smith shows how activists ranging from city boosters in Tennessee to the League of Women Voters worked to end malapportionment, incurring the wrath of chambers of commerce and southern segregationists as they did so. Despite a conspiracy of legislative inaction and a 1946 Supreme Court decision that instructed the judiciary t to enter the political thicket, advocates did t lose hope. As Smith shows, they skillfully used the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause to argue for radical judicial intervention. Smith vividly depicts the unfolding drama as Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy pressed for change, Solicitor General Archibald Cox cautiously held back, young clerks pushed the justices toward ever-bolder reform, and the powerful Senate Mirity Leader Everett Dirksen obsessively sought to reverse the judicial revolution that had upended state governments from California to Virginia.Today, following the Court's recent controversial decisions on voting rights and campaign finance, the battles described in On Democracy's Doorstep have increasing relevance. With erudition and verve, Smith illuminates this neglected episode of American political history and confronts its profound consequences.
- Author BiographyJ. Douglas Smith is the author of Managing White Supremacy: Race, Politics, and Citizenship in Jim Crow Virginia, which received the 2003 Library of Virginia Literary Award in Nonfiction. He is the director of humanities at the Colburn Music Conservatory and the executive director of the Los Angeles Service Academy, a program that teaches students how the political, social, and environmental infrastructure of metropolitan Los Angeles works. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.
- Author(s)J Douglas Smith
- PublisherHill & Wang
- Date of Publication23/06/2015
- FormatPaperback / softback
- SubjectGovernment & Constitution
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintHill & Wang
- Weight454 g
- Width147 mm
- Height218 mm
- Spine30 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US),Unsewn / adhesive bound
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