Because Ideas Matter...
The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences presents
The United States
District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan: People, Law,
by David Gardner Chardavoyne, Wayne State University Press,
Reviewed by George Geib
America's federal district and circuit
courts have been actively working to record their history. David
Chardavoyne adds an excellent volume to that output with this
study. The court had jurisdiction for all of Michigan until
separated east and west in 1863. The author strives to develop
topics that allow the court to be placed in its larger state and
national contexts. Biographies of judges and other court personnel
are the basis for a look at the people of the court. The
complexities of the court's relation to other intermediate federal
courts are particularly well handled. Selected cases allow us to
see the workings of federal law in admiralty, bankruptcy, civil
rights, wartime emergency, and other matters of public and private
concern. The procedures and motives of judicial appointments are
placed within the changing state and national scenes, and the
longer term consequences of those appointments are discussed.
District court histories normally strive to identify particular
economic and social features of the district, and to evaluate the
ways the court has responded to these features. Chardavoyne does
this with special attention to automotive manufacture, immigration
patterns, and social unrest. His treatments of ethnicity and its
role in the civil rights years are particularly interesting.
- George Geib is Professor of History at Butler University.