Lawyers of the RightProfessionalizing the Conservative Coalition

Lawyers of the RightProfessionalizing the Conservative Coalition

Ann Southworth

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226768335

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


A timely and multifaceted portrait of the lawyers who serve the diverse constituencies of the conservative movement, this book explains what unites and divides lawyers for the three major groups—social conservatives, libertarians, and business advocates—that have coalesced in recent decades behind the Republican Party. Drawing on in-depth interviews with more than seventy lawyers who represent conservative and libertarian non-profit organizations, the book explores their values and identities, and traces the implications of their shared interest in promoting political strategies that give lawyers leading roles. The book goes on to illuminate the function of mediator organizations—such as the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy—that have succeeded in promoting cooperation among different factions of conservative lawyers. Such cooperation, it finds, has aided efforts to drive law and the legal profession politically rightward and to give lawyers greater prominence in the conservative movement. The book concludes, though, that tensions between the conservative law movement's elite and populist elements may ultimately lead to its undoing.