Dominic McCaffrey: The 1990s: Conservatives and their Battle for the Law and Politics

man in suit sitting in front of Harvard University banner

Hey guys! Since my visit to the George W. Bush Presidential Library Archives at the end of May, I have been immersing myself in the 1990s as much as possible. I have been reading books, journal articles, newspaper sources, and watching videos so as to allow me to better grasp, understand, and situate the events which preceded the nomination of David Souter to the Supreme Court.


David Souter at his alma matter  (Matthew Hutchins, Harvard Law Record)

At the same time as doing the above, I have also been organising the information I gathered at the library into a coherent narrative, which I will then situate within a framework I plan on developing from the secondary and non-library primary source material.

My paper is due to take the form of an assessment of the conservative political and legal movement at the time President Bush nominated Souter, thus also analysing why and how Souter was nominated as opposed to any of the other considered candidates. From there, dependent upon time left in summer vacation, I may continue to assess Souter’s legacy on the court and compare it to the hopes of his nominators.

I have enjoyed the research process so far, however at times it can be a little much constantly reading the same information on the same subject. Because of this, I am going to do everything I can to ensure that my paper contributes new knowledge to the field in an interesting way, as opposed to simply rehashing already ready available information as so many works I have encountered do.

I’m looking forward to finally getting a draft of the paper hammered out, and in turn preparing for the conference presentation. I fully understand that my topic could be seen as dry and boring to those not interested in politics and the law, so I’m going to start thinking about ways in which I can engage a wider audience and broaden its appeal. After alll, the judgements made by David Souter affect all of us, even to this day!

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These two pieces of scholarship have been invaluable during the whole research process