The idea for this book began to take form when my first book, Constitutional Cultures, was still a draft manuscript. At that time several readers pointed out that the "mentality" of judicial review that I was attempting to describe might be the mentality not only of the legal profession but also, at least in some ways, of ordinary citizens. I could not satisfactorily assimilate this possibility into the writing that was already underway, but the thought was planted.
Eventually some other commentators energetically attacked that book. Although I appreciated the interest and insights of these critics, I was surprised at the extent to which a few seemed to view themselves as engaged in a kind of warfare. Reflecting on this vehemence also helped me to know what I wanted to say next.
A number of individuals have generously and thoughtfully commented on sections of Judicial Power and American Character. These include Paul Campos, Mark Loewenstein, Alfred McDonnell, Christopher Mueller, Gene Nichol, James Scarboro, and Pierre Schlag. Special thanks are due to those who read the entire manuscript: Akhil Amar, Lee Bollinger, Jack Nagel, Pru Nagel, Dale Oesterle, Michael Perry, David Smith, and Steven Smith. Different segments of this book were presented at the University of Colorado Law School and New York University Law School, and twice at Northwestern University Law School. I am grateful to the participants in those events, especially to Lea Brilmayer who commented insightfully and skeptically at two of them. My thinking also benefited from conversations with Terry Eastland and William F. Nagel. Katherine Gerland contributed useful research assistance in the final stages.
The University of Colorado provided me with a research leave that was essential to this work. Just as important, the secretarial staff at the law school has been highly professional and patient.