American interest is lacking, and its interventionrnwould be misunderstood.rnThe United States, Steel writes, has “nornresponsibility to defend break-away statesrnthat unilaterally declare their independence.”rnCertainly it must not lead anyrn”global fire brigade.”rnThere is one sense in which Steel hasrnsomething in common with many isolationists;rnthis concerns his claim thatrnthreats to American security are now internal.rnAmericans suffer from a host ofrnills, ranging from illiteracy to violentrncrime. Not only is the United Statesrnfalling behind its trading partners, butrnthe gap between rich and poor at homerngrows steadily. Whole sections of ourrnmetropolises resemble those of the ThirdrnWorld. Steel writes, “Our country isrnhobbled by debt, weakened by fears forrnpersonal safety, and increasingly dividedrnbetween the skilled and the unskilled,rnthe jobholders and the unemployable.”rnIf American leaders do not look inward,rnpredicts Steel, the public will repudiaternthem.rnJustus D, Doenecke is a professor ofrnhistory at New College of the Universityrnof South Florida. His latest book, writtenrnwith John E. Wilz, is From Isolationrnto War, 1931-1941.rnParochial Formalismrnby Gregory/. SullivanrnHugo Black: A Biographyrnby Roger K. NewmanrnNew York: Pantheon Books;rn741 pp., $30.00rnI ustice Hugo Black remains somethingrnJ of an anomaly in the history of thernSupreme Court. A textualist who wasrncontemptuous of the arbitrary mysticismrnof substantive due process, he neverthelessrnadvocated the most extreme positionrnon the issue of incorporating the Bill ofrnRights against the states through thern14th Amendment, a revolutionary doctrinernthat conflicted with the original understandingrnof that amendment. In otherrnwords, there is a little something forrneveryone in Black’s legacy, which perhapsrnjustifies Jeffrey Rosen’s oxymoronicrnreference to Black in the New Republic asrna “liberal strict constructionist.”rnRoger Newman’s biography is thoroughlyrnresearched in the exhaustive wayrnthat biographies are these days—any [personrnat all connected with Black has beenrninterviewed, and every scrap of paperrnexamined. It is, however, occasionallyrnobtuse, failing to illuminate the intellectualrncontradictions that marred Black’srnjurisprudence. (And it is completely unfairrnin its relentless attacks on Justice FelixrnFrankfurter.) Newman is very goodrnon Black’s membership in the Ku KluxrnKlan. Far from a nominal involvementrnwith that organization. Black’s wasrnin fact an enthusiastic participation.rn(“Hugo could make the best anti-rnCatholic speech you ever heard,” saidrnone Klan member.)rnBlack was, of course, famous for hisrnfaith in what he viewed as the plainrnmeaning of the Constitution. This faithrnwas often misplaced, however. For example.rnBlack’s literalist, no-law-meansno-rnlaw approach to the First Amendmentrnis impossible to reconcile with thernhistory of that provision and unworkablernwithin the context of its incorporation.rnBlack’s rigid view led him expressly to rejectrnsuch necessary and historically sanctionedrnrestraints on speech as defamationrnlaws. This position was accuratelyrncharacterized by Frankfurter as “doctrinairernabsolutism.”rnTo his credit, though. Black remainedrnsteadfast in his commitment to the textrnof the Constitution even in the face ofrnthe outrages of the Warren and BurgerrnCourts. He was one of the few voices ofrnrestraint on a Court that was hell-bentrnon reading its own egalitarian preferencesrninto law. Black, for instance.rnscoffed at the notion that the deathrnpenalty violated the prohibition on cruelrnand unusual punishment found in thernEighth Amendment. “And he wouldrnhave been,” says Newman, “the most vociferousrnopponent of Roe v. Wade, thernCourt’s 1973 decision that due processrnpermits the right to abortion. Black flatlyrnopposed any constitutional recognitionrnof such a right during conference inrna I97I case.”rnA proper view of the Constitutionrndoes not permit the use of naturalrnlaw to decide a case. This position—rnwhich may be called constitutional positivismrn—is wholly consistent with a beliefrnin natural law, and it hardly representsrnwhat Hadley Arkes intemperately condemnsrn(in The Return of George Sutherland:rnRestoring a Jurisprudence of NaturalrnRights) as “indolence.” That Black was arnthoroughgoing positivist in the sensernthat he repudiated any idea of naturalrnlaw is an indication of nothing more thanrnhis own intellectual parochialism. Onerncan embrace natural law reasoning andrnhold that the proper arena for its use isrnthe legislature. Indeed, under our Constitution,rnit is entirely necessary to adoptrnthis position inasmuch as there is no authorityrnfor a jurist to reach outside therndocument and its historical context forrnhis decisions.rnGregory /. Sullivan practices law inrnTrenton, New Jersey.rnTo order these books, (24hrs, 365 days)rnplease call (800) 962-6651 (Ext. 5200)rnL I B E R A LrnPOETIC JUSTICErnAccording to an article cited in the July 27 issue of The Wanderer, Da’id Gunn, Jr., sonrnof the murdered abortionist David Gunn, faces a lawsuit filed by two women who arernupset that he received the 1993 Feminist of the Year Award, which is bestowed annuallyrnby the Feminist Majority Foundation. They allege that Mr. Gunn, who has becomerna national spokesman for feminism and the pro-choice movement, infected the twornwomen with herpes and genital warts in the course of unprotected sex, never botheringrnto inform them that he carried these diseases. “I’m just really tired of him speaking forrnmy gender when I know who he really is,” said one of the women.rnOCTOBER 1995/37rnrnrn