The Constitution does not expressly set out a specific legal standard for impeaching a president or judge, but it does use the term “high crimes and misdemeanors” as an operative reason for removal. Certainly, it is possible for the House of Representatives to impeach a president, cabinet official, judge, or Supreme Court justice for noncriminal behavior: Gerald Ford tried this against William O. Douglas. Ford argued that “high crimes and misdemeanors” and “good behavior” was a malleable standard, one that was “whatever a majority of the House believes it to be at a given time.” In 1970, Ford failed to convince the House that Douglas merited impeachment.
It may be difficult to draw parallels between Justice Douglas and President Trump because Douglas had served on the Court for three decades and did not come into office with vast wealth (or the claim of vast wealth). Yet there is a parallel between then and now. Ford accused Douglas of unethical behavior, consorting with foreign entities, and misconduct by receiving money from the Mafia. However, there was no evidence to substantiate the latter two allegations. (Douglas may have crossed the line by publishing a book and several articles in a magazine reputed to be pornographic, and Douglas’s extramarital affairs were the basis for other impeachment demands).
Democrats who have argued for impeaching President Trump are alleging an abuse of power by coercing or aligning with the president of Ukraine to damage a political opponent. There are also investigations into his finances as well as payoffs to mistresses.
Thus there is a parallel of sorts. Of course, a president is commander in chief and generally gains office by an Electoral College vote; meanwhile, a Supreme Court justice gains office by a presidential nomination and Senate approval. But the standard for impeachment—notwithstanding Ford’s claims to the contrary—is the same. Ford acted on April 15, 1970, by demanding impeachment and claiming that the Central Intelligence Agency had “dirt” on Douglas’s foreign activities and that the Securities and Exchange Commission and Internal Revenue Services also had proof of Douglas’s malfeasance. None of these agencies produced evidence against Douglas. Nor did the Federal Bureau of Investigation or Justice Department provide evidence (even though Attorney General John Mitchell promised evidence would be forthcoming).
It appears to be the case that in our present circumstances there is evidence, by President Trump’s own admission, of seeking foreign help against a political rival. There’s also the questionable timing of President Trump withholding military aid, followed by the release of congressionally appropriated monies after the Ukrainian president promised that a new prosecutor might relook an investigation into Hunter Biden.
Bribery is a specified offense in the Constitution. There is a prima facie case of it in regard to the president. Douglas was unpopular with conservatives: he engaged in extrajudicial activities that are prohibited by codes of ethics today but were not at the time. Somewhere in all of this, it is time for the House to employ a constitutional, rather than Ford’s, standard.
Joshua E. Kastenberg is associate professor of law and the Lee and Leon Karelitz Professor in Evidence and Procedure at the University of New Mexico School of Law. His many books include To Raise and Discipline an Army: Major General Enoch Crowder, the Judge Advocate General’s Office, and the Realignment of Civil and Military Relations in World War I and Law in War, War as Law: Brigadier General Joseph Holt and the Judge Advocate General’s Department in the Civil War and Early Reconstruction, 1861–1865.
New UPK acquisitions editor Bethany R. Mowry is a proud Navy brat, a native Kansan, and an expert on maritime history. No, really.
“I understand how those things may not really go together,” she says with a laugh. “But, here I am.”
After a youth spent living on the coast until her parents’ retirement from the Navy brought the family back to Kansas, Bethany graduated from Topeka West High School, earned a BA from Washburn University in Topeka, and then moved across the country to pursue a MA at the University of Pittsburgh. It was while studying in the Steel City that Mowry’s passive interest in maritime history became a passion.
“For me, studying maritime history is all about recovering the histories of real salt-of-the-earth people,” she explains. “By looking at their songs and diaries, and the few official records they left behind, you get a real sense of who these people were—and how important their stories still are.”
Until recently, one of the nation’s leading maritime historians taught at the University of Oklahoma, so Mowry moved back to the Great Plains to work on a PhD. While at OU, Mowry was awarded a fellowship working with the University of Oklahoma Press.
“The first major project with which I assisted was a book celebrating the 125-year anniversary of OU,” she says. “That meant I spent hours in the university archives, poring over regents’ minutes and other official documents, or searching through boxes of photos in the basement. It wasn’t exactly glamorous, but that’s where I fell in love with the process of making books happen.”
When the opportunity to acquire books for the University Press of Kansas arose, Mowry knew it was time to come back home. She will be acquiring titles for multiple UPK lists, including Environment and Society, Feminist Ethics, Rural America, and regional studies.
“I’m really excited to be back in Kansas,” Mowry says with a genuine smile. “This feels like my academic life has come full circle. Kansas’s Press has a great tradition and reputation, and I’m proud to be able to work with our authors and scholars to help advance our lists.”
Listening to White House aides such as Kevin Phillips, who urged a shift to the right on social and race issues during the 1970 midterm campaign season, President Richard Nixon attempted to lure Democrats into the Republican fold with rhetoric that channeled the frustrations and concerns shared by the voters he labeled the “great silent majority.” Just days before the election, in the wake of a raucous and violent demonstration against his speech in San Jose, California, earlier that week, Nixon pleased one Arizona crowd with his trademark tough talk. “The time has come to draw the line,” Nixon fumed against “the haters.” “The time has come for the great silent majority of Americans of all ages, of every political persuasion, to stand up and be counted against appeasement of the rock throwers and the obscenity shouters in America.” However, rather than gain seats in Congress, Nixon watched several coveted campaigns fail to provide the mandate he anticipated, instead puncturing his claim to a new majority. In retrospect, even Nixon admitted the approach went “too far overboard.” In the weeks following the 1970 election, Nixon’s staff scrambled to explain the poor showing and the shortcomings of his “law and order” appeal to America.
Ever since Nixon coined the term “silent majority” in his 1969 address concerning the Vietnam War, commentators became obsessed with debating this voting bloc’s contours and its character throughout his presidency and beyond. Rick Perlstein defined the silent majority’s amorphous impetus as follows: “The silent majority is always going to be a state of mind. It’s a feeling. It’s a feeling of dispossession. And that feeling of dispossession can come about most dramatically in times when things seem to be changing, when all that’s solid melts into air.” This vague sentiment still resonates today as President Donald Trump and his voters continually call themselves the “silent majority.” Comparing Nixon’s definition—or definitions—of the silent majority and Donald Trump’s coalition reveals similarly dubious patterns in conservatives’ claim to a majority and their explanation for this majority’s silence. Meanwhile, Cheri Bustos, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s chair of Heartland Engagement who guided 2018 candidates in twelve states, attempted to steer the silent majority in a different direction: “If you look throughout the heartland,” Bustos hoped, “there’s a Silent Majority who just wants normalcy, just wants to see that people are going to go out to Washington and fight for them in a civil way and get something done.” Unfortunately for Bustos and other Democrats borrowing this conservative phrase, even when defined in moderate terms by its civility the history behind this mythologized voting bloc demonstrates the crucial role that the concept of a silent majority plays in backlash politics.
Despite the 1970 campaign’s failures, Kevin Phillips continued to paint a backlash image of Nixon’s silent majority: “Young policemen, truck drivers, and steelworkers,” who Nixon sought to include in his constituency along with Sunbelt suburban voters, “lean towards a kind of hippie stomping, anti-intellectual, social ‘conservatism’ in the [Governor] George Wallace vein.” The secret to politics, Phillips once said, “is knowing who hates who.” In Phillips’s attempt to map a political majority, this quote meant targeting young leftists but also opposing civil rights legislation and channeling racist resentments to win white voters from the Democratic Party. As he claimed, “From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that.” Phillips’s view of the silent majority connected this voting bloc to Wallace, a firebrand segregationist, and garnered important conservative adherents within the White House such as Tom Huston and Pat Buchanan. Not all of Nixon’s aides agreed with Phillips’s assessment.
Capturing the perspective of the moderate, middle-of-the-road advisers who suggested Nixon temper his approach to court the silent majority, a revealing memo from his White House aide, Daniel P. Moynihan, offers a lens into this internal discussion. Moynihan, a Democrat in a Republican administration, understood the potential of backlash politics and encouraged Nixon’s attacks on countercultural permissiveness, but he added that Nixon should balance this tough approach with a more civil and positive embrace of patriotism and the United States’ political and cultural traditions. While Moynihan also explored a populist vision of a resentful silent majority, he maintained that these voters required finesse and demanded an intellectual defense of their traditions in the face of the 1960s challenges from the Left. Moynihan explained, “The silent majority is silent because it has nothing to say,” as he believed these voters begged Nixon for a convincing counter to the robust debate raging between the political extremes on the Right and the eft.
The real problem, according Moynihan, was that the majority of Americans had no response to the challenges to capitalism and “American virtues.” As he advised Nixon, “The adversary culture which dominates almost all channels of information transfer and opinion formation has never been stronger, and as best I can tell it has come near to silencing the representatives of traditional America.” Citing the “fourth rate minds around the administration” and worrying that the “only persons with vigor in their argument are the real right wingers,” Moynihan complained about the dearth of outspoken, effective communicators of conservative virtues that he defined as “moderation, decency, common sense, restrained ambition, attainable goals, comprehensible policies.” “You may have more troops,” Moynihan conceded, “but the other side has more firepower. Infinitely more.” Thus, Moynihan hoped that if Nixon and his administration could give these voters a moderate voice to marginalize the extremists across the political spectrum, it would provide the silent majority with the rhetoric and confidence to stand up for the middle and prove they outnumbered the “authoritarian left.” Hardly the “hippie stomping, anti-intellectual, social ‘conservatism’” Phillips advocated.
Furthering his contrast to Phillips’s backlash thesis, Moynihan warned Nixon about the dangers of wading into student politics. Especially after the Ohio Army National Guard’s traumatic shooting of four unarmed students during a Kent State demonstration in 1970, Moynihan feared that “the general impression is that we have been running against the kids.” After all, William Scranton’s Presidential Commission on Campus Unrest reported that Kent State’s student body “are predominantly the children of middle class families, both white collar and blue collar, and in the main go on to careers as teachers and as middle-level management in industry.” These students belied the notion that all protesters were fringe radicals, or a minority. Still, even though Moynihan urged caution when confronting the “sons and daughters of the silent majority,” he demonstrated the racial limits of moderation when he supported Nixon’s targeting of “black militants” and “racial extremists.” Despite Moynihan’s distinctions, conservatives often conflated black and white protesters to separate both groups from the majority.
While Nixon and his advisers debated the silent majority’s significance, conservative activists on campus targeted antiwar voices and dismissed them as a minority. One conservative group at the University of Tennessee distributed a flyer on campus during the (predominantly white) student strike following Kent State, asking, “Who helped these long haired, unintelligent, dark skinned, poorly dressed . . . protesters?” The term “silent majority” always carried racial connotations because the word “majority” claimed political power and appealed to white fears that the minority gained preferential treatment under LBJ’s Great Society and urban programs to combat poverty. As Perlstein points out, “To say majority is to say minority, and everyone knows who minorities are. They are people in America who are not white.”
The term “silent majority” continues to prove resilient and influential because it motivates a conservative voting constituency’s political identity in contrast to the Left. As one Trump supporter complained, “The reason why we’re silent is because we’re not allowed to talk.” He continued, “My favorite thing about Trump is that he wants to get rid of political correctness.” Though similar to Moynihan’s claim that that the silent majority lacked a voice, Trump’s version of this coalition leans more toward the anti-intellectual, vitriolic strain Phillips identified and blames the Left more directly for intentionally muzzling conservative perspectives. Even this more recent claim that the silent majority has been silenced is rooted in racial politics. In fact, Trump’s rhetoric reveals the exact expressions of patriotism and white identity politics that his voters feel unable to discuss in what Moynihan called “terms that will win a respectful hearing.” For example, due to this revived sense of “dispossession,” loyal Trump supporters believe the president’s racist appeals work with the predominantly white silent majority today. Greg Gallas, a county GOP chairman in Minnesota, recently bragged that Trump’s targeted criticism of Representative Ilhan Omar is “awakening a ‘silent majority’ of supporters.” As he gushed, “I love it. It’s called winning.”
From its inception, the silent majority’s racial boundaries—who it included and their interests—have been shaped and debated by political experts. Van Jones, a liberal commentator on CNN, recently challenged the contemporary vision of a backlash-driven silent majority when after Trump’s rally in North Carolina where supporters chanted “send her back” he claimed, “I think there’s a silent majority of people who have been getting increasingly uncomfortable with what Trump is up to.” However, Jones and other Democrats looking to borrow the phrase also espouse the same emphasis on civil moderation that Moynihan exaggerated, and they overlook the crucial role race, resentment, and alienation played in framing the silent majority. Thus, while these voters aren’t always silent nor a majority, they always stand in opposition to a minority that is perceived as disproportionately influential and growing, no matter the reality. Certainly, considering its history, asking the silent majority to resist Trump’s politics seems a quixotic exercise.
Seth Blumenthal is a senior lecturer at Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences. His work has appeared in the Journal of Policy History and The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture.
 Richard Nixon, “Remarks at Phoenix, Arizona,” October 31, 1970, John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, The American Presidency Project, https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/remarks-phoenix-arizona.
 Kevin Phillips, “‘Kidlash’ a Possibility: Important Changes Could Come from Vote of 18–21 Year Olds,” Post-Crescent, May 2, 1971.
 Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Memorandum for the President,” November 13, 1970, Nixon Library, https://www.nixonlibrary.gov/sites/default/files/virtuallibrary/documents/jun09/111370_Moynihan.pdf.
 President’s Commission on Campus Unrest, “The Report of the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest” (Washington, DC: US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Institute of Education, 1970), https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED083899.pdf.
 Flyer, University of Tennessee Special Collections, Folder: Student Unrest 1970s.
 Sam Sanders, “Trump Champions the ‘Silent Majority,’ but What Does That Mean in 2016?” NPR, January 22, 2016, https://www.npr.org/2016/01/22/463884201/trump-champions-the-silent-majority-but-what-does-that-mean-in-2016.
 Judy Keen, “Trump-Omar Sparring Influences the Fight for Minnesota in 2020,” StarTribune, July 29, 2019, http://www.startribune.com/trump-s-feud-with-rep-ilhan-omar-influences-the-fight-for-minnesota-in-2020/513297212/.
 Ian Schwartz, “Van Jones: Silent Majority of People Uncomfortable with What Trump Is Up To,” RealClear Politics, July 19, 2019, https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/07/19/van_jones_silent_majority_of_people_uncomfortable_with_what_trump_is_up_to.html.
UPK author Ernest McGowen III’s tremendous 2017 book African Americans in White Suburbia; Social Networks and Political Behavior studies how, despite decades of progress, African Americans living in largely white affluent suburbs still often find themselves caught between the two worlds of race and class. High economic status has afforded them considerable employment opportunities and political resources—but not necessarily neighbors, coworkers, or local candidates or office holders who share or even understand their concerns. How does such an environment affect the political behavior of African Americans who have strong racial identifications and policy preferences?
McGowen recently discussed his book with the New Books Network. The 20+ minute conversation relates McGowen’s work with the modern political environment. Give it a listen.
Ernest B. McGowen III is associate professor of political science, University of Richmond.
The Federalist proposes the electoral college and the system of checks and balances as safeguards against demagoguery in the American presidency. In a Washington Post OpEd of July 11, David Lay Williams, a professor at Chicago’s DePaul University, reports that Donald Trump’s administration has made his students doubt Publius’s claims and, therewith, the wisdom of the U.S. Constitution itself.
The current state of public-opinion polling makes it hard to say whether the views of Professor Williams’s students reflect a broader public opinion. Gallup reports that confidence in the national government has declined from 51% in 2007 to 41% in 2019, and the latest Rasmussen Report on the public’s view of the Constitution shows that support for some measure of constitutional change (from “minor” to “major”) rose from 39% in 2007 to 41% in 2015 and 52% in 2017.
Standing alone, these figures needn’t reflect solely on the Trump administration, for no administration acts in a vacuum and a different administration might have generated comparable numbers. What these figures do suggest is that the public’s attitude toward the national government will eventually affect public attitudes toward the Constitution. This is as it should be, for the Constitution is more than a collection of restraints on government; the Constitution is primarily a plan of government. The government is the “Constitution in practice,” in Jack Balkin’s phrase, and as support for the government declines, we should expect declining support for the Constitution.
In any case, David Williams’s OpEd, is worth dwelling upon, for it suggests that something good may come from the tragedy that dawned in the United States in November, 2016. The good in question would be the restoration of Publius’s constitutionalism to the status of a public philosophy. By Publius’s constitutionalism I mean the fundaments of his constitutional philosophy, as distinguished from the institutional strategies that became “supreme Law” in 1789. The latter include the electoral college and the so-called system of checks and balances, both of which have long failed Publius’s aspirations for the country. The governing principles of Publius’s constitutionalism are worth recovering not because they occupy some “originalist” moment or “original position,” but because they define the only constitutionalism that makes sense.
When Professor Williams’s students decry the Constitution’s failure either to prevent demagoguery or to expel it, they assume a crucial distinction, one on which everything turns, that between the public interest and the public’s inclinations. They assume corollaries of that distinction, namely, that the public can be wrong about its interests and that a good constitution designs a government to meet this problem. They imply agreement with a forgotten passage of the Federalist Papers, the 2nd paragraph of No. 71. Here Publius holds that elected officials have a constitutional duty to serve the public’s true interests, even at the expense of the public’s momentary displeasure. Williams’s students also assume the truth of a related statement in Federalist 57 (3rd paragraph), namely, that a good constitution is designed to fill political offices with persons wise enough to discern and courageous enough to pursue the common good of society — the public’s true interest, not its momentary inclinations. Such are the fundaments of Publius’s constitutionalism; where they influence political thinking, demagoguery fails.
The nation has lost Publius’s constitutionalism. Most Americans, including most constitutional scholars, hold that the Constitution designs a government to reflect public opinion, not educate it, save perhaps to the extent that public opinion threatens selected individual and minority rights. Ours is a constitution of negative rights, it is said, not positive benefits – rights like liberty from government, not liberty from private power, and no constitutional right to the blessings of liberty in a well-governed society. Negative constitutionalists admit that positive benefits make up the list of ends in the Constitution’s preamble, but, they say, the pursuit of these ends is a matter of discretionary policy, not constitutional imperative. Negative constitutionalists say policy pursuits depend ultimately on what the electorate wants or thinks it wants, not what some intellectual or moral elite says it ought to want or even what it would want if its constituents could discipline their impulses long enough to think straight. Such is the new constitutionalism that has replaced Publius’s old constitutionalism.
Demagoguery finds a home in this new constitutionalism. Because it recognizes no standard of truth or right beyond public opinion, the new constitutionalism has no real basis for condemning the demagogue’s fraudulent manipulation of public opinion. Confounding truth and opinion, the new constitutionalism can’t really condemn the liar, for the liar may yet persuade public opinion. Powerful forces support this new constitutionalism, including academic value-neutrality and historicism. More powerful support comes from an economic philosophy committed to growth through the relaxation of moral and aesthetic constraints on consumption. As powerful as this new constitutionalism is, however, its doom is assured by the hard facts of humanity’s situation in a world ultimately beyond human control. One example may suffice: If no person on earth faces the facts of global warming, if none endures the sacrifices needed to avoid its worst effects, those effects will still dawn, probably faster. A constitutionalism that reduces truth to opinion, scorns moral and intellectual competence as elitism, and promotes self-indulgence over self-restraint has no chance against problems like global warming, income inequality, and advancing oligarchy.
Though Publius’s old constitutionalism is the only defensible constitutionalism, returning to it is almost impossible precisely because of the forces arrayed against it. But where there’s life there’s hope, and some of the forgotten constitutionalism survives in the revulsion against demagoguery, like that somewhere on DePaul’s campus.
Sotirios A. Barber is professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of several books including Constitutional Failure, Welfare and Constitution, On What the Constitution Means, and The Fallacies of States’ Rights.
CHICAGO, July 9, 2019— Military historian, professor, and author Dr. John H. Morrow, Jr. is the 13th recipient of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing.
The Pritzker Literature Award—which includes a gold medallion, citation, and $100,000 honorarium—recognizes and honors the contributions of a living author for a body of work dedicated to enriching the understanding of military history and affairs. Museum & Library Founder & Chair Jennifer N. Pritzker, a retired colonel in the Illinois National Guard, will formally present Morrow with the award at the organization’s annual Liberty Gala on November 2 at the Hilton Chicago, where he will be joined by past recipients.
“I am truly honored to accept the 2019 Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing,” said Dr. Morrow. “Receiving the award after nearly fifty years of historical writing, teaching, and consulting constitutes the ultimate affirmation of my career as a scholar of the history of modern war and society.”
Author or co-author of 8 publications, Morrow is an accomplished military historian and respected professor. His work includes The Great War: An Imperial History, The Great War in the Air, Harlem’s Rattlers and the Great War (co-authored with Jeffrey T. Sammons), German Airpower in World War I and A Yankee Ace in the RAF among others. He has gained recognition for his ability to demonstrate how the past and the present intertwine inextricably.
“The screening committee’s recommendations and Colonel Pritzker’s selection speaks to Dr. Morrow’s years of dedication to the field of Military History,” stated Dr. Rob Havers, President and CEO of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. “For the depth of his writing and research, his years of dedication and service to the field of military history, for his academic achievements including his commitment to shaping the minds of the next generation of military historians, Dr. Morrow stands as a deserving recipient of the 2019 Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. We are grateful for his devotion to the field and are proud to shine a light on his exemplary work in military history.”
Now in its thirteenth year, the Pritzker Literature Award was first presented to historian James McPherson in 2007. Past recipients – several of whom served as members of the award’s 2019 screening committee – are Dennis Showalter, Peter Paret, Sir Hew Strachan, David Hackett Fischer, Sir Antony Beevor, Tim O’Brien, Max Hastings, Carlo d’Este, Rick Atkinson, Gerhard Weinberg, and Allan Millet.
A graduate of the Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania and a recipient of the U.S Department of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, Morrow has been a guiding force for the study of history for numerous military and civic institutions. In addition to serving as the Franklin Professor and Chair of the History Department at University of Georgia where he teaches courses on the history of Modern Europe and of warfare and society, Morrow has also contributed to the education of faculty and students at the National War College, the Air War College, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Morrow was previously head of the history department at the University of Tennessee. Following his successful teaching career, the university named in his honor a lecture series and an award for Excellence in military history. He has chaired the History Advisory Committee to the Secretary of the Air Force, the Research Advisory Committee of the National Museum of American History. He has most recently served on the History Advisory Committee of the Department of the Army, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s Legacy Committee, and the First Flight Centennial Federal Advisory Board.
The Pritzker Literature Award is sponsored by the Pritzker Military Foundation. To learn more about the award or the selection process, or to watch the 2010 Literature Award recipient, Rick Atkinson, announce John Morrow, Jr. as this year’s winner, visit pritzkermilitary.org.
ABOUT THE PRITZKER MILITARY MUSEUM & LIBRARY
The Pritzker Military Museum & Library is open to the public and features an extensive collection of books, artifacts, and rotating exhibits covering many eras and branches of the military. From its founding in 2003, it is a center where citizens and soldiers come together to learn about military history and the role of the military in a democracy. The Museum & Library is a non-partisan, non-government information center supported by its members and sponsors.
Today is Production Editor Larisa Martin’s last day at the University Press of Kansas. For 16 years her eagle eye has helped authors produce their best work and her magnetic personality filled our halls. As she lounges by the pool, we will be busy wondering how to replace her immense talent (and the sound of her laughter echoing from the other end of the building).
“Not only has it been a great pleasure to work alongside Larisa at the Press, but it has been an honor to get to her know bubbly personality that resonates wherever she goes. She has touched the Press with her energy in such a way that we will miss that lovely, loud laugh down the halls, we will miss the stories of living in Communist Romania, and her amazing ability to make anyone smile. She will be missed greatly, but I know she has an amazing adventure in retirement ahead of her. Cheers my dear friend and colleague!” – Andrea Laws, Administrative Assistant/Permissions Coordinator
“Everyone who has had the fortune of working with Larisa knows her laugh is infectious, her smile worthy of celebration, and that her general demeanor and warmth radiates through the Press halls and into each and every book she works on. The Press will miss her dedication and tremendous talents. I feel fortunate to know Larisa and when I think of her, I recall the ways in which she embodies the following principles, every single day:
Recognize and celebrate accomplishments.
Bring positivity and passion to your life and work —enough to share with others.
Offer help, advice, and words of encouragement when you can.
Worries are best forgotten and replaced with successes, music, travel, friends, positive life experiences, or something yummy to snack on.
It’s never too early for Prosecco.
Cheers to you, Larisa!” – Becca Murray, former Publicity and Social Media Manager, University Press of Kansas
“Larisa warmly welcomed me to Kansas. I remember fondly many wonderful parties at her home, her great sense of humor, and her kindness. She is an accomplished professional in her work, leading adaptation to the many changes in the way books are produced over her time at Kansas, and is a favorite of her many authors. Larisa is a great colleague. Larisa strongly supported her junior colleague’s promotion to managing editor believing that this was the best decision for the Press. Indeed everything she does is for the good of the Press and her authors. As a side note, I learned a great deal about Romania from her. I know she will be missed at the Press and I wish her the best in her retirement.” – Charles Myers, Assistant Editorial Director at the University of Chicago Press and former Director of the University Press of Kansas
“Despite having lived in Romania when it was part of the Soviet Union, Larisa has a joie de vivre that is an inspiration. It’s difficult to whine when you know someone who survived that era! Our authors have told me how much they like working with Larisa, and I know they will miss her as much as I will. I have no doubt that she will continue to enjoy life as fully as she did pre-retirement. Here’s to you, Larisa!” – Joyce Harrison, Editor in Chief
“You are a smart, kind, funny, insightful person who has lived through and experienced so much, and I know retirement will bring exciting adventures, good conversation, and new friends. I sincerely hope retirement is everything you want it to be and that you get to spend tons of time with your grandchildren, explore Belize, eat delicious meals, and relax as much as you can.” – Colin Tripp, Assistant Production Editor
“From learning about Larisa’s life and work in Romania to being a part of her life and work in Kansas, it’s been a joy to have Larisa at UPK for the past sixteen years. Her enthusiasm for her job, for the authors and their manuscripts, for bringing people together to talk and to celebrate an occasion, and her bubbly personality will be missed. Cheers to her! Dus dar nu uitat! (I think that’s the Romanian translation for “gone but not forgotten.”) Let me know if that’s correct, Larisa.” – Debra Diehl, Direct Mail and Exhibits Manager
“Larisa has been both patient mentor and trusted colleague. She’s cleaned up many a messy manuscript, deftly evaluated questionable art, skillfully negotiated with freelancers and vendors, and valiantly accelerated production schedules—and she did it all with her characteristic good humor. I’ll miss her amusing stories and boisterous laughter in our office halls. Larisa has long been such an ebullient presence at UPK, showing optimism and dedication even during the most difficult of circumstances. I’m truly thankful for all of the good work she’s done and good advice she’s given. Cheers to your retirement, Larisa!” – Kelly Chrisman Jacques, Managing Editor
“The Larisa I worked with was (and still is!) a force of nature with an irrepressible personality, infectious laugh, a deep sense of loyalty to the Press, and relentless can-do spirit that made for the kind of terrific teamwork that’s needed to produce truly successful books. UPK was lucky to have her for as long as it did and I for one certainly miss the daily interactions we once had in pursuit of the press’s greater glory. But new horizons beckon and adventures await for someone who’s truly earned this moment.” – Michael Briggs, former Editor in Chief, University Press of Kansas
In her retirement, Larisa plans to freelance edit, travel to Belize and continue to celebrate life. All of us at UPK raise a glass of Prosecco and wish her a splendid retirement.
Topeka, KS – Last week State Librarian Eric Norris announced the 14th annual selection of Kansas Notable Books. The fifteen books feature quality titles with wide public appeal, either written by a Kansan or about a Kansas-related topic.
“I am proud to present the 2019 Kansas Notable Book list. Choosing only 15 books is no easy task,” said Eric Norris, State Librarian. “The selection committee began with a pool of nearly 100 submitted titles and worked diligently to identify the year’s best works by Kansas authors and illustrators, as well as those works that highlight our history and heritage. Kansans are encouraged to visit their local public library and celebrate the artists and the artistry of Kansas.”
Three University Press of Kansas books were selected.
Far from the coastal centers of culture and politics, Kansas stands at the very center of American stereotypes about red states. In the American imagination, it is a place LGBT people leave. No Place Like Home is about why they stay. The book tells the epic story of how a few disorganized and politically naïve Kansans, realizing they were unfairly under attack, rolled up their sleeves, went looking for fights, and ended up making friends in one of the country’s most hostile states.
In 1854, after recently arriving from England, twenty-two-year-old Reuben Smith traveled west, eventually making his way to Kansas Territory. There he found himself in the midst of a bloody prelude to the Civil War, as Free Staters and defenders of slavery battled to stake their claim. The young Englishman wrote down what he witnessed in a diary where he had already begun documenting his days in a clear and candid fashion. As beautifully written as they are keenly observant, these diaries afford an unusual view of America in its most tumultuous times, of Kansas in its critical historical moments, and of one mans life in the middle of it all for fifty years.
The upper Arkansas River courses through the heart of America from its headwaters near the Continental Divide above Leadville, Colorado, to Arkansas City, just above the Kansas-Oklahoma border. Max McCoy embarked on a trip of 742 miles in search of the rivers unique story. Part adventure and part reflection, steeped in the natural and cultural history of the Arkansas Valley, Elevations is McCoy’s account of that journey.
Kansas Notable Books is a project of the Kansas Center for the Book, a program of the State Library. The Kansas Center for the Book is a state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Throughout the award year, the State Library promotes and encourages the promotion of all titles on this year’s list at literary events, and among librarians and booksellers.
An awards ceremony will be held at the Kansas Book Festival, Saturday, September 14, 2019, at the State Capitol to recognize the talented Notable Book authors. The public is invited.
For more information about Kansas Notable Books, call 785-296-3296, visit kslib.info/notablebooks or email email@example.com.
The International Latino Book Awards are produced by Latino Literacy Now, a nonprofit organization co-founded in 1997 by Edward James Olmos and Kirk Whisler. A full list of finalists is available here.
Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on September 21, 2019, in Los Angeles.
This year has already emerged as the year that anti-abortion activists have achieved their greatest triumphs since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade (1973). As of this writing, eight state legislatures–mainly in the South and Midwest–have passed laws in the last five months hostile to a woman’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy. Some of these laws have limited the grounds for abortion; some have stipulated that an abortion may only legally be performed in the very early weeks of a pregnancy; some have criminalized a physician’s performance of abortions; and others have placed onerous burdens in the path of women’s seeking abortions. A number of additional states are presently considering the passage of similar legislation.
Emboldened by the statements of President Donald Trump, who regularly voices the rhetoric of the right to life movement, and strengthened by the recent appointment and confirmation of over 100 “pro-life” federal judges, the constitutionally-established right of a woman to end a pregnancy is in question as it has not been for almost a half century.
Roe v. Wade would not have come to pass without a precedent enunciated in a 1965 Supreme Court decision known as Griswold v. Connecticut. About 20 years ago I became interested in the Griswold case, eventually completing a book published by the University Press of Kansas in 2005. In light of the current challenges to Roe v. Wade and the right to an abortion, it makes sense to recall the Griswold decision, its role in the run-up to Roe v. Wade, and the current state of constitutional issues serving as the foundation for both decisions.
Griswold emerged from a successful legal challenge to an 1879 statute forbidding the use of birth control in the state of Connecticut. The named plaintiffs in the case were Estelle Griswold, the director of the Planned Parent League of Connecticut (PPLC), and Lee Buxton, a Connecticut physician and Yale Medical School professor.
Griswold and Buxton saw injustices to Connecticut women presented by the old state anti-abortion law. For example, the law did not prohibit contraception out-right: it permitted efforts to block pregnancies for the purpose of preventing the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), but it did not allow women to seek reproductive hegemony over their own bodies through medically-prescribed artificial efforts or devices. What this disjunction meant, in fact, was that a man or woman could walk into a gas station and, without any oversight or advice, purchase a condom from a dispenser for the purpose of preventing an STD; but a married couple could not seek a prescription from a licensed Connecticut physician for a diaphragm or birth control pills for the purpose of family planning. One of the least publicized services provided by the PPLC was to drive, in their personal automobiles, financially-strapped married couples to a state that permitted physician-supervised birth control (usually New York) to obtain contraceptive counseling.
Griswold and Buxton wanted to take birth control out of the shadows and make it routinely available to married couples. So, in 1961, they opened a birth control clinic in New Haven. They were shortly arrested for violating the state anticontraception statute and the clinic was shut down. The Connecticut courts upheld the conviction and Griswold and Buxton appealed their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The ultimate Supreme Court ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut was one of the most unusual and debated decisions of the 1960s. The Court’s 7-2 majority, in an opinion written by Justice William Douglas, held that the 19th century Connecticut anti-abortion law was unconstitutional as a violation of a newly enunciated “right of privacy.” Although privacy is not explicitly guaranteed by the words of the U.S. Constitution or its amendments, Douglas found that the “penumbras” and “emanations” of some of the Bill or Rights afforded a constitutionally-protected right of privacy. For example, Douglas wrote, a right of privacy was implied by the Fourth Amendment’s protections against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Justices joining Douglas in the majority found that the right of privacy could be teased out of other provisions of the Constitution, such as the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or the “certain rights . . . retained by the people” in the Ninth Amendment. A few years after Griswold, the right of privacy was extended to unmarried individuals seeking birth control information and prescriptions.
Ultimately, in Roe v. Wade, Justice Harry Blackmun ruled that the right of privacy in the first three months of a woman’s pregnancy was protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Since Roe in 1973, the Court has revisited the constitutional right to an abortion on several occasions. Notably, in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a Court majority determined that state regulations of the right to an abortion could not impose “undue burdens” on women seeking termination of pregnancies. Despite the nuances of Supreme Court abortion decisions of the last generation, the essential core of Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land.
Back to the present: What’s to make of the recent spate of anti-abortion legislation and the future of Roe v. Wade? Based upon my research on the right of privacy and Griswold v. Connecticut, I have some observations.
Is Roe v. Wade in jeopardy?Probably not. The precedent is well-established and, at the same time, malleable. The “undue burden” modification of the right to an abortion, for example, gives states some additional latitude to modify Roe. In addition, some of the new laws are more predicated on the language of state constitutions than the federal constitution. So, it bears watching whether the challenges to Roe emerge from state supreme courts or the federal courts. At the Supreme Court level, my guess is that the strong institutional leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts will serve as a last gasp source of protection for what some have termed the “super precedent” of Roe v. Wade. Also, of course, any assault on the legitimacy of Roe v. Wade will be met by the resistance of well-financed and well-organized interest groups which will be quick to remind the justices that public opinion polls consistently show majority popular support for a woman’s right to an abortion.
Is the right of privacy imperiled by anti-abortion sentiment sweeping the country? In spite of the rather shaky emergence of the right of privacy in the “penumbra” language of Justice Douglas in Griswold, the right has found, in recent decisions, a more stable mooring in the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. The right of privacy has also gained traction in appellate court decisions involving LGBTQ rights; such protections would be hard to undercut or undo at this time in our nation’s history. Americans will not give up without a major legal battle their recently-obtained right of privacy.
Even if Roe v. Wade survives impending legal challenges, has damage to abortion rights from the 2019 statutes already taken a toll? A qualified yes. Planned Parenthood is currently on the defensive, being forced by public and legal pressure in some states to curtail its reproductive health services. As of this writing, Missouri is about to shutter its Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, leaving no abortion providers in the state. Many largely rural states, such as Nebraska, now only offer abortions in small urban corridors. Moreover, ghastly accounts of rare late term abortions have somewhat undercut the support for reproductive rights among Americans. In addition, pregnant women with limited financial resources are finding it increasingly difficult to travel hundreds of miles to seek out a dwindling number of abortion-providers. Nevertheless, no matter what transpires in constitutional tests of the recently-enacted anti-abortion laws, organizations that support a woman’s right to control her own body will have powerful legal and emotional issues to present to the electorate in 2020 and beyond.
John Johnson is an emeritus professor of History at the University of Northern Iowa. In his 46-year academic career, he taught courses on Recent U.S. History, American Civil Liberties, and Critical Thinking. He is also the author of a number of books and articles, including Griswold v. Connecticut: Birth Control and the Constitutional Right of Privacy (University Press of Kansas, 2005).