A novelist with a law degree explores the effects of legal minds on the presidency in this new book released by Dog Ear Publishing.
Everybody knows a lawyer joke or two, but what’s not as well known is the effect of the legal mind on the U.S. presidency. That’s a problem, author Albert Lebowitz points out in his new book, because 27 of the 44 presidents since the nation’s founding have been lawyers. For instance, although hundreds of books and articles have been written about Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, little emphasis has been placed on both of them earning degrees from Ivy League law schools, being constitutional law professors and having wives who also graduated from Ivy League law schools and practiced law.
“The Legal Mind and the Presidency” explores what Lebowitz calls a “deep, persistent, historical American hostility toward being governed by law and lawyers,” even as the American people revel in the fact that even the president is not above the law. Legal dramas like Watergate serve to highlight constitutional violations and threaten the people with those who have real power: lawyers. Lebowitz writes that the U.S. form of government requires an “enlightened and educated lawyer group to fuel its checks, to provide its balances.” He believes having someone with legal training as president can be a good thing, noting that non-lawyers rely more heavily on intuitive, simplistic decisions based on an elusive sense of right and wrong.
Lebowitz breaks down different types of lawyers who have occupied the White House, summarizing each type and providing an in-depth analysis and examples. The first section is lawyer rule-skepticism and includes presidencies of John and Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, James Polk and Richard Nixon. The second section is lawyer moralism in the presidency and its adherents including Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The third section features lawyer formalism and the presidencies of men such as Martin Van Buren, Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft Clinton and Obama. This book brings a fresh perspective on the legal minds who have held the nation’s highest office.
This is the fourth book for author Albert Lebowitz, whose collection of short stories, “A Matter of Days,” was published by the Louisiana State University Press. His other books, published by Random House, are the novels “Laban’s Will” and “The Man Who Wouldn’t Say No.” Lebowitz, who has a law degree from Harvard Law School and a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis, wrote an article on the Supreme Court for the Akron Law Review. He is already working on his next novel.
The Legal Mind and the Presidency
ISBN: 978-1-4575-1798-3 216 pages $15.95 US
Available at Ingram, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere.