History at the Bar of the Supreme Court
Posted July 16th, 2008 by Kurt X. Metzmeier
The as yet not completely dismantled LA Times has an interesting article on the spate of Supreme Court cases that seemed to turn on the justices view of historical as much as legal writings. Reporter David G. Savage's article focuses mostly on the habeas corpus and Second Amendment cases, but he notes that even the Exxon Valdez case dipped into history (Souter's majority cited Hammurabi's code of 1760 BC--about as an old of a precedent as you can get). The article has comments from historians who give the court low marks for its use of the past, although I would note that the scholars they cite (Jack Rakove, Mark Tushnet) tend to be inveterate amicus brief signers themselves.