Book on Nixon Court Named to Choice’s 2012 List of Outstanding Titles

Kevin McMahon

Kevin McMahon

Choice, a leading source for reviews of books of interest to people in higher education, has selected Nixon’s Court: His Challenge to Judicial Liberalism and Its Political Consequences as one of its 2012 Outstanding Academic Titles. The book was written by Kevin J. McMahon, John R. Reitemeyer Professor of Political Science at Trinity.

The University of Chicago Press, in its synopsis of the book, noted that Nixon’s Court refutes conventional wisdom. Many political analysts assessed Richard Nixon’s challenge to the judicial liberalism of the Earl Warren-led court as a failure or “a counterrevolution that wasn’t.” But McMahon’s book reveals a president whose public rhetoric was more conservative than his administration’s actions and whose policy toward the high court was more subtle than previously recognized.

At the beginning of every year, Choice, a magazine published by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), picks books reviewed in the prior year as Outstanding Academic Titles. The selection includes about 10 percent of the approximately 7,000 books reviewed annually.

In its description of McMahon’s book, Choice said: “Nixon’s Court provides the most definitive account yet written of the reasoning behind President Nixon’s choices for Supreme Court justices and the legal and electoral consequences of those choices. Against conventional wisdom, McMahon argues that Nixon did not try to make the Supreme Court decisively conservative, which it did not become, but instead successfully selected nominees that would bring formerly Democratic voters into the Republican fold.”

McMahon’s first book, Reconsidering Roosevelt on Race, which was similarly published by the University of Chicago Press, won the American Political Science Association’s Richard E. Neustadt Award.