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