In June I was guest blogger over at Legal History Blog, created and maintained by Mary L. Dudziak, the Judge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Professor of Law, History and Political Science, University of Southern California. I decided to use the opportunity as a kind of diary of my academic activities since the end of classes. Here is a digest with links to the more substantial posts.
I attended two conferences in May. Early in the month I commented as a "dream mentor" at a "Fellows Conference" of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. The fellow in question was Jefferson Decker, a doctoral candidate in the history department at Columbia University, who has been studying the rise of the conservative legal movement. The comment provided an occasion for reviewing other recent work on the subject, including a book by the political scientist Steven Teles. My post and a link to a webcast of Decker's paper and my comment are at "Conservative Legal Movement: Take Two."
Later in the month I attended the Policy History Conference held near St. Louis, Missouri. Although I chaired an interesting panel on administrative law and agencies in the Twentieth-Century United States, I ended up blogging on a session on the political economy of antebellum America, which included two papers on the Warehousing Act of 1846--the most attention the legislation had received, one panelist ventured, since it was originally before the House Ways and Means Committee. My report on the session and the turn to transnationalism by nineteenth-century policy historians is at "Warehouses: Who Knew?"
I spent some of the month revising my course on American Legal History. Two posts addressed questions that came up in my class and how I resolved them. One, "Hughes at Elmira," was the seeming contradiction that Charles Evans Hughes took as governor of New York and Chief Justice of the United States on the question of judicial review of agency fact finding. The other, "Bureaucracy for Law Students," discussed how to help my students imagine life within a public bureaucracy.
Other posts were new or revised notes and documents from my course materials. Two discussed corporation lawyers in the early twentieth century: "Stone versus Swaine" and "James Dill: Corporation Law without Regret." "Jerome Frank Hires Some Lawyers" was a three-part series on the conflict that ensued when Jerome Frank tried to bring the same hiring practices of large New York City law firms to the Agricultural Adjustment Act at the start of the New Deal. The three linked posts start here. And "An OPA Lawyer Has His Doubts" was a two-part post on the reaction of a lawyer in a field office of the Office of Price Administration to the flood of regulations issuing out of the agency's headquarters in Washington. It begins here.
In the middle of June, with the support of a grant from Georgetown's Reynolds Family Faculty Research Fund), I traveled to several libraries for my on-going research on the history of New Deal lawyers. Several posts were on documents I wasn't likely to use in my own work but which were too interesting to keep to myself. "Jerold Auerbach Interviews Louis Jaffe" describes a sharp exchange between a historian-critic of the New Deal lawyers and one of their number, the great administrative law scholar Louis Jaffe. "Felix Frankfurter and the Revolving Door" describes some previously unremarked-upon correspondence in which Frankfurter, as a young lawyer, was advised by one of his Harvard law professors not to tarry too long in public service. "Legal Realism and International Law, 1938" described a quarrel between two leading legal realists, Jerome Frank and Felix Cohen, over whether the United States was obligated under international law to lift its embargo of arms to the combatants in the Spanish Civil War.
A few posts can only be termed miscellaneous. In "Documents in Search of Historians," I drew attention to two collections in Georgetown's Edward Bennett Williams Library, the National Equal Justice Library and the papers of the federal judge Oliver Gasch. (This one was picked up on by the blog of the American Historian Association, so maybe we'll get some takers.) In "Who Will Write the History of the Women's Court?" I put on my hat as co-editor of Studies in Legal History, a book series of the University of North Carolina Press, sponsored by the American Society for Legal History, and explained why I thought the women's court deserved historical study at book length.
Finally, I led a discussion on the nineteenth-century labor case In re Debs at an institute for high school teachers at the Federal Judicial Center, sponsored by the Center and the Public Education Division of the American Bar Association. The experience led me to reflect on how a "great case" can provide a distorted view of the typical case in a given field, and this led to the post, "Teaching the Great Case."