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The Warren Court
Constitutional Decision as an Instrument of Reform
Archibald Cox
Harvard University Press
The appointment of Earl Warren as Chief Justice of the United States in 1953 marked the opening of a new era in the nation’s constitutional development. As Archibald Cox points out in his Preface, during the next fifteen years the Supreme Court rewrote, with profound social consequences, major constitutional doctrines governing race relations, the administration of criminal justice, and the operation of the political process. The extent and the rapidity of these changes raise grave questions concerning the nature and function of constitutional adjudication and the proper role of the Supreme Court in the national life.In these lectures, originally given in somewhat shorter form in Honolulu in the summer of 1967 under the joint auspices of Harvard Law School and the University of Hawaii, Mr. Cox describes the main lines of constitutional development under the Warren Court. He analyzes the underlying pressures involved and the long-range institutional consequences in terms of the distribution of governmental power. The central theme of Mr. Cox’s book is embodied in his examination of the American paradox that invests the judicial branch with the responsibility of deciding “according to law” our most pressing and divisive social, economic, and political questions.Although not uncritical of the grounds on which several of the court’s crucial decisions have been reached, Mr. Cox comes to the conclusion that the trend of the rulings has been “in keeping with the mainstream of American history—a bit progressive but also moderate, a bit humane but not sentimental, a bit idealistic but seldom doctrinaire, and in the long run essentially pragmatic—in short, in keeping with the true genius of our institutions.”

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We Shall Build Anew
Stephen S. Wise, the Jewish Institute of Religion, and the Reinvention of American Liberal Judaism
Shirley Idelson
University of Alabama Press, 2022
How Rabbi Stephen S. Wise changed the trajectory of American Reform Judaism over the course of the twentieth century and well into the twenty-first

In 1922, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, a leader of the Zionist movement, established the Jewish Institute of Religion (JIR), a nondenominational rabbinical seminary in New York City. Having already founded the thriving Free Synagogue movement and the American Jewish Congress, he intended to revolutionize American liberal Judaism. Wise believed mainstream American Jewish institutions had become outdated, and he championed a progressive Jewish nationalism that would fight alongside America’s leading proponents of social and economic justice.

We Shall Build Anew tells the little-known story of how Wise changed the trajectory of American Judaism for the next century. Through JIR, he trained a new cadre of young rabbis who shared his outlook, charged them with invigorating and reshaping Jewish life, and launched them into positions of leadership across the country. While Wise earned the ire of many mainstream Jewish leaders through his disregard for denominational distinctions, JIR became home to faculty and students of widely divergent religious and political viewpoints.

We Shall Build Anew is the first book dedicated exclusively to the history of the Jewish Institute of Religion. The story of Wise’s vision for American liberal Judaism is now more important than ever. As American Jewry becomes increasingly polarized around debates concerning religious doctrine as well as Zionism and Israel, the JIR model offers hope that progressives and conservatives, Zionists and non-Zionists, and Jews representing the full spectrum of religious life cannot only coexist but also work together in the name of a vibrant Judaism and a just and peaceful world.

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Welfare Realities
From Rhetoric to Reform
Mary Jo Bane and David T. Ellwood
Harvard University Press, 1994
Mary Jo Bane and David Ellwood examine the American welfare system—its recipients, its providers, and the swirl of policy ideas surrounding it—with objectivity and clarity. Focusing on the AFDC Program (Aid to Families with Dependent Children), they examine the composition of the populations receiving assistance, the duration of that assistance—who receives benefits for a long time and who only briefly, during important transitional periods—and the prospects facing AFDC recipients within the administrative culture of the system. The authors identify three models that have been used to explain “welfare dependency” and test them against an accumulating body of evidence They offer suggestions for identifying potential long-term recipients so that resources can be targeted to encourage self-sufficiency. Finally, they review policy options.

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Why Congressional Reforms Fail
Reelection and the House Committee System
E. Scott Adler
University of Chicago Press, 2002
For decades, advocates of congressional reforms have repeatedly attempted to clean up the House committee system, which has been called inefficient, outmoded, unaccountable, and even corrupt. Yet these efforts result in little if any change, as members of Congress who are generally satisfied with existing institutions repeatedly obstruct what could fairly be called innocuous reforms.

What lies behind the House's resistance to change? Challenging recent explanations of this phenomenon, Scott Adler contends that legislators resist rearranging committee powers and jurisdictions for the same reason they cling to the current House structure—the ambition for reelection. The system's structure works to the members' advantage, helping them obtain funding (and favor) in their districts. Using extensive evidence from three major reform periods—the 1940s, 1970s, and 1990s—Adler shows that the reelection motive is still the most important underlying factor in determining the outcome of committee reforms, and he explains why committee reform in the House has never succeeded and probably never will.

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Working the Street
Police Discretion and the Dilemmas of Reform
Michael K. Brown
Russell Sage Foundation, 1981
Now available in paperback, this provocative study examines the street-level decisions made by police, caught between a sometimes hostile community and a maze of departmental regulations. Probing the dynamics of three sample police departments, Brown reveals the factors that shape how officers wield their powers of discretion. Chief among these factors, he contends, is the highly bureaucratic organization of the modern police department. A new epilogue, prepared for this edition, focuses on the structure and operation of urban police forces in the 1980s. "Add this book to the short list of important analyses of the police at work....Places the difficult job of policing firmly within its political, organizational, and professional constraints...Worth reading and thinking about." —Crime & Delinquency "An excellent contribution...Adds significantly to our understanding of contemporary police." —Sociology "A critical analysis of policing as a social and political phenomenon....A major contribution." —Choice

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Writings on Church and Reform
Nicholas of CusaTranslated by Thomas M. Izbicki
Harvard University Press, 2008

Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464), widely considered the most important original philosopher of the Renaissance, was born in Kues on the Moselle River. A polymath who studied canon law and became a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, he wrote principally on speculative theology, philosophy, and church politics. As a political thinker he is best known for De concordantia catholica, which presented a blueprint for peace in an age of ecclesiastical discord.

This volume makes most of Nicholas’s other writings on Church and reform available in English for the first time, including legal tracts arguing the case of Pope Eugenius IV against the conciliarists, theological examinations of the nature of the Church, and writings on reform of the papacy and curia. Among the works translated are an early draft of De concordantia catholica and the Letter to Rodrigo Sanchez de Arevalo, which discusses the Church in light of the Cusan idea of “learned ignorance.”


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