"Justice Accused" by Robert M.              Cover

Justice Accused Antislavery and the Judicial Process Robert M. Cover

Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
10 Sep 1984
ISBN:
9780300032529
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
322 pages: 229 x 152mm

What should a judge do when he must hand down a ruling based on a law that he considers unjust or oppressive? This question is examined through a series of problems concerning unjust law that arose with respect to slavery in nineteenth-century America.
“Cover’s book is splendid in many ways. His legal history and legal philosophy are both first class. . . . This is, for a change, an interdisciplinary work that is a credit to both disciplines.”—Ronald Dworkin, Times Literary Supplement
“Scholars should be grateful to Cover for his often brilliant illumination of tensions created in judges by changing eighteenth- and nineteenth-century jurisprudential attitudes and legal standards. . . An exciting adventure in interdisciplinary history.”—Harold M. Hyman, American Historical Review
“A most articulate, sophisticated, and learned defense of legal formalism. . . Deserves and needs to be widely read.”—Don Roper, Journal of American History
“An excellent illustration of the way in which a burning moral issue relates to the American judicial process. The book thus has both historical value and a very immediate importance.”—Edwards A. Stettner, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 
“A really fine book, an important contribution to law and to history.”—Louis H. Pollak

"As a historical analysis of the cause and effect relationship between the judicial system and slavery, the work is enjoyable reading, inspiring in its legal scope and historical context and rigorous in its explanatory power. Moreover, the attention to detail, evidenced by the scrupulousness with which Cover documents developments, is an impressive testament to Cover's craftsmanship as a lawyer, historian and writer."?New York Law Forum


"What does a judge do when he must decide a case arising from a law he believes to be unjust? . . . In his close analysis of the decisions of four antislavery judges?Joseph Story, John McLean, Lemuel Shaw, and Joseph Swan?cover shows the differing ways in which these men resolved what he calls a 'formal-moral' conflict. . . . cover's argument seems to me convincing as legal history and at the same time very helpful to historians of antislavery in general. . . . This study expertly combines fine craftsmanship and theoretical resonance."?Journal of Southern History


"This is a most articulate, sophisticated, and learned defense of legal formalism and deserves to be widely read."?Don Roper, Journal of American History


"Robert M. Cover's provocative study of the antislavery bench and bar is a significant contribution to the growing literature in this field. the author focuses primarily upon the intellectual dilemma of the antislavery judge?one who would have accepted the 'characterization of slavery as oppression'?as he was forced to decide between his private conscience and application of laws favoring the institution of slavery."?James W. Ely, Jr., Washington University Law Quarterly


"This book ought to be read widely. . . . The setting of the issue is pre-Civil War litigation determining whether individual blacks were slave or free. . . . These matters should be of interest to a large number of readers, laymen as well as lawyers. What is more, cover's treatment of them is highly attractive. . . . The work is a pleasure to read. . . . Yet another attractive quality of the book is its fair-mindedness. . . . A first-rate book."?American Journal of Comparative Law


"An interesting combination of legal history and jurisprudential analysis. As legal history the book is excellent."?M.G. Abernathy, Virginia Quarterly Review


"Cover has produced a scholarly, carefully reasoned, thoroughly researched, and well-documented study."?W. Benjamin Kennedy, Georgia Historical Quarterly


"Professor Cover's book is splendid in many ways. His legal history and legal philosophy are both first class; he is a good enough historian to tell more of a story than he needs to prove a point, and a good enough philosopher to understand how complex are the points he wishes to prove. This is, for a change, an interdisciplinary work that is a credit to both disciplines."?Times Literary Supplement


"A fascinating, informative, and closely-reasoned study. To his expert grasp of legal procedures and technicalities, Robert cover brings a remarkably thorough knowledge of the literature on slavery. The result is interdisciplinary history at its best?an indispensable work for legal philosophers as well as for American historians."?David Brion Davis


"A fascinating and instructive study of judicial reaction to litigation?from manumission to fugitive slave cases?arising out of slavery. . . . The heart of this closely researched study is the moral law/formal law dilemma confronting confirmed opponents of slavery, e.g., judges Shaw and Story, and the ensuing triumph of role fidelity and mechanistic formalism."?Library Journal


"A really fine book, an important contribution to law and to history."?Louis H. Pollak


"A highly original contribution to our understanding of the laws of slavery, the anti-slavery movement, and the ante-bellum judicial system. Cover's discussion of the dilemma of northern jurists, faced with the obligation to uphold legal institutions which contained elements personally repugnant to their sense of morality, is not only a highly illuminating discussion of the nation-wide effects of slavery in nineteenth century America, but bears an uncomfortable resemblance to certain aspects of the history of our own times."?Eric Foner


"A thorough, scholarly, extremely detailed account of the performance of American state and federal judges and courts in cases involving Negro slavery between the 1780s and the outbreak of the Civil War. . . . The book is fully documented, with clarifying  bibliographical footnotes, and much biographical data in judges, including such luminaries as Joseph Story, Lemuel Shaw, John McLean, and Roger B. Taney. Recommended for all scholarly libraries, collections in civil rights and civil liberties, black studies collections, and for persons generally interested in legal and social history."?Law Books in Review


?Scholars should be grateful to Cover for his often brilliant illumination of tensions created in judges by changing eighteenth- and nineteenth-century jurisprudential attitudes and legal standards. . . . An exciting adventure in interdisciplinary history.??Harold M. Hyman, American Historical Review 


?An excellent illustration of the way in which a burning moral issue relates to the American judicial process. The book thus has both historical value and a very immediate importance.??Edwards A. Stettner, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science