Currie, David P. 1936–2007

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Currie, David P. 1936–2007

(David Park Currie)

PERSONAL:

Born May 29, 1936, in New Orleans, LA; died of pneumonia, October 15, 2007, in Chicago, IL; son of Gillette Brainerd and Elmyr Currie; married Barbara Suzanne Flynn, December 29, 1959; children: Stephen Francis, Margaret Rose. Education: University of Chicago, B.A., 1957; Harvard University, LL.B., 1960.

CAREER:

Admitted to Bar of Illinois, 1963. U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, New York, NY, law clerk to Henry J. Friendly, 1960-61; U.S. Supreme Court, Washington, DC, law clerk to Felix Frankfurter, 1961-62; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, assistant professor, 1962-65, associate professor, 1965-68, professor of law, 1968-91, Harry N. Wyatt Professor of law, 1977-91, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law Emeritus, 1991, emeritus, 2007. Visiting professor, University of Michigan, 1964 and 1968, Stanford University, 1965, and University of Hannover, 1981. Coordinator of environmental quality, State of Illinois, 1970; chair, Illinois Pollution Control Board, 1970-72.

WRITINGS:

(Editor) Federalism and the New Nations of Africa, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1964.

Federal Courts: Cases and Materials, West Publishing (Minneapolis, MN), 1968, 3rd edition, 1981, supplements, 1977, 1978, 1985.

(With Roger C. Cramton and Herma Hill Kay) Conflict of Laws: Cases, Comments, Questions, West Publishing (Minneapolis, MN), 1968, 7th edition, Thomson/West (St. Paul, MN), 2006.

Pollution: Cases and Materials, West Publishing (Minneapolis, MN), 1975.

Federal Jurisdiction in a Nutshell, West Publishing (Minneapolis, MN), 1976, 2nd edition, 1981.

Air Pollution: Federal Law and Analysis, Callaghan (Wilmette, IL), 1981.

(With Joyce L. Stevos) The Constitution, Scott, Foresman (Glenview, IL), 1985.

The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years, 1789-1888, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1985.

The Constitution of the United States: A Primer for the People, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1988.

The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1888-1986, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1990.

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.

The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1997.

The Constitution in Congress: The Jeffersonians, 1801-1829, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2001.

The Constitution in Congress: Democrats and Whigs, 1829-1861, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2005.

The Constitution in Congress: Descent into the Maelstrom, 1829-1861, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2005.

Contributor to law journals.

SIDELIGHTS:

David P. Currie, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Chicago School Law School, was an esteemed scholar of constitutional law. He was best known in the academic world for his two-volume book on the Supreme Court's interaction with the constitution, The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years, 1789-1888 and The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1888-1986, and for his multivolume study of the constitution in Congress. According to H-Law contributor Austin Allen, Currie's work has "uncovered a multitude of constitutional issues that never came before the Court and has explored the debates that defined the meaning of the Constitution for the first few generations of American policy makers."

The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801 covers the activities of the First through Sixth Congresses, when members were working out how to implement the governmental frameworks identified in the constitution. As Currie shows, debates on these matters were passionate but scrupulously fair, knowledgeable, and principled. Congressional decisions often set constitutional precedents. Currie's discussion of the Whiskey Act of 1791 reveals the extent to which the Supreme Court tended to defer to legislative precedents. Writing in H-Law, Alan Rogers called the first volume of The Constitution in Congress a "rich, lively discourse that credits Congress or the president for creating nearly all our constitutional law before 1800." The book, Rogers concluded, is "that rare combination, a splendid work of professional history that speaks clearly to twentieth century readers."

Similar praise greeted subsequent volumes. Of The Constitution in Congress: Democrats and Whigs, 1829-1861, Historian critic M. Philip Lucas observed that Currie "painstakingly explores a myriad of constitutional issues that arose from Andrew Jackson's administration to the eve of the Civil War" and offers a "lively perspective" on the era's constitutional controversies. The first section of the book covers the Jacksonian Democrats' legislative destruction of Clay's American system of finance. The latter chapters discuss various constitutional disputes such as enumerated powers of the executive branch; constitutional grounds for impeaching federal judges; and grounds for expulsion of congress members. Though H-Law reviewer Michael F. Holt felt the book suffered from some lack of focus around a "central interpretive argument," Lucas called the volume a "a treasure trove of insights on fundamental questions of national development as well as minor issues that often meant much to the people and the states.

The time frame of The Constitution in Congress: Descent into the Maelstrom, 1829-1861 covers the fraught issues of slavery and territorial expansion. These questions dominated U.S. political debate from about 1829. Currie discusses the constitutional questions raised by the abolitionist movement, which petitioned Congress repeatedly in the 1830s; the debate over slavery in the District of Columbia; attempts to ban the dissemination of abolitionist literature through the mail; the movement to repatriate American slaves to Africa; the admissions of Arkansas and Michigan as states; and attempts by states to expel free blacks from their jurisdictions. Currie also covers issues relating to the geographical expansion of the country, including border disputes between the United States and Canada; executive actions, such as President James Polk's voiding of a treaty allowing Britain to occupy Oregon jointly with the United States, and President Franklin Pierce's decisions to terminate of a trade treaty with Denmark, authorize reprisal attacks in Nicaragua, and to intervene militarily in Panama. The book's final section looks at the country's attempts to manage the slavery issue through strategic territorial-based deals such as the Wilmot Proviso and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Samuel B. Hoff, writing in Perspectives on Political Science, deemed The Constitution in Congress: Descent into the Maelstrom, 1829-1861 as "by far the most comprehensive and compelling analysis of how Congress construed the Constitution's relevance in controversies that defined antebellum America."

In addition to his scholarly work, Currie also wrote The Constitution of the United States: A Primer for the People, a survey of the subject intended for nonspecialist readers.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, April, 1987, Maurice Baxter, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years, 1789-1888, p. 480; February, 1992, Kermit L. Hall, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1888-1986, p. 279.

American Journal of Legal History, July, 1987, L.A. Powe, Jr., review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years, 1789-1888, p. 262; April, 1992, Lino Graglia, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1888-1986, p. 218; January, 1996, Markus Dirk Dubber, review of The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, p. 107; July, 1998, Henry J. Bourguignon, review of The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801, p. 322; July, 2000, Melvin I. Urofksy, review of The Constitution of the United States: A Primer for the People, p. 340.

Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Science, March, 1992, Jack J. Van Der Silk, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1888-1986; July, 1996, Paul C. Helmreich, review of The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, p. 163.

Bookwatch, May, 1991, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1886-1986, p. 8.

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, September 17, 1991, Robert Stevens, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1886-1986.

Choice: Current Review for Academic Libraries, July, 1986, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court, p. 1732; September, 1991, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1886-1986, p. 200; October, 1997, J.B. Grossman, review of The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801, p. 372; February, 2006, E.R. Crowther, review of The Constitution in Congress: Democrats and Whigs, 1829-1861, p. 1070; December, 2006, review of The Constitution in Congress: Descent in to the Maelstrom, 1829-1861, p. 702.

Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, spring, 1982, Joel A. Mintz, review of Air Pollution: Federal Law and Analysis, p. 309.

Constitutional Commentary, winter, 1987, Charles A. Lofgren, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years, 1789-1888, p. 177; June 22, 1998, John Harrison, review of The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801, p. 383.

Economist, July 10, 1965, review of Federalism and the New Nations of Africa, p. 148.

Federal Lawyer, May, 2006, Henry Cohen, review of The Constitution in Congress: Descent into the Maelstrom, 1829-1861, p. 67.

Harvard Environmental Law Review, spring, 1982, review of Air Pollution, 435.

Harvard Law Review, May, 1970, review of Federal Courts: Cases and Materials, p. 1753.

Historian, June 22, 2006, M. Philip Lucas, review of The Constitution in Congress: Democrats and Whigs, 1829-1861, p. 339.

H-Law, April, 1998, Alan Rogers, review of The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801; July, 2005, Michael F. Holt, review of The Constitution in Congress: Democrats and Whigs, 1829-1861; June, 2006, Austin Allen, review of The Constitution in Congress: Descent in to the Maelstrom, 1829-1861.

Journal of American History, December, 1986, Francis N. Stites, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years, 1789-1888, p. 736; March, 1992, Francis N. Stites, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1888-1986, p. 1465; September, 2000, Gaspare J. Saladino, review of The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801, p. 654; June, 2006, Gerald Leonard, review of The Constitution in Congress: Democrats and Whigs, 1829-1861, p. 205; March, 2007, Peter B. Knupfer, review of The Constitution in Congress: Descent in to the Maelstrom, 1829-1861, p. 1235.

Journal of Economic History, June, 1998, Robert J. McGuire, review of The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801, p. 599.

Journal of Legal Education, June, 1996, Kenneth F. Ledford, review of The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, p. 304.

Journal of Politics, November, 1965, review of Federalism and the New Nations of Africa, p. 884.

Journal of Supreme Court History Annual, 1992, Grier Stephenson, Jr., review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1886-1986, p. 131.

Journal of the Early Republic, winter, 1997, Stan Leibiger, review of The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801, p. 698.

Journal of the History of Ideas, April, 1995, review of The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, p. 342.

Law and History Review, summer, 2006, Yonatan Eyal, review of The Constitution in Congress: Democrats and Whigs, 1829-1861, p. 465.

Law and Politics Book Review, November, 2005, J. Mitchell Pickerill, review of The Constitution in Congress: Democrats and Whigs, 1829-1861, p. 954; June, 2006, Ken I. Kersch, review of The Constitution in Congress: Descent into the Maelstrom, 1829-1861, p. 465.

Law and Social Inquiry, winter, 2002, review of The Constitution in Congress: The Jeffersonians, 1801-1829, p. 194; fall, 2005, review of The Constitution in Congress: Democrats and Whigs, 1829-1861, p. 858.

Law Librarian, September, 1998, Julian Killingley, review of The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801, p. 185.

Michigan Law Review, May, 1992, Herbert Hovenkamp, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1888-1986, pp. 1384-1391.

New Republic, June 29, 1987, Edmund S. Morgan, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years, 1789-1888, p. 25.

New York Times Book Review, July 21, 1991, Robert Stevens, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1886-1986, p. 20.

Nova Law Review, fall, 1986, Johnny C. Burris, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years, 1789-1888, pp. 251-270.

Perspective, July, 1986, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years, 1789-1888, p. 103.

Perspectives on Political Science, September 22, 1998, James R. Hurtgen, review of The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801, p. 229; June 22, 2006, Samuel B. Hoff, review of The Constitution in Congress: Descent into the Maelstrom, 1829-1861, p. 165.

Political Science Quarterly, December, 1965, review of Federalism and the New Nations of Africa, p. 660.

Presidential Studies Quarterly, spring, 1993, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1888-1986, p. 407.

Reference & Research Book News, August, 1995, review of The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, p. 39.

Review of Metaphysics, June, 1986, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years, 1789-1888, p. 760.

Review of Politics, winter, 1996, Gerard Braunthal, review of The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, p. 192.

Reviews in American History, September, 1992, Melvin I. Urofsky, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years, 1789-1888, p. 426.

Social Education, November, 2002, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1888-1986, p. 407.

Times Literary Supplement, April 29, 1965, review of Federalism and the New Nations of Africa, p. 338; September 26, 1997, Geoffrey Marshall, review of The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801, p. 28.

Trial, December, 1991, David P. White, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1886-1986, p. 58.

University of Chicago Law Review, winter, 1998, H. Jefferson Powell, review of The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801, pp. 365-386; summer, 2001, Martin S. Flaherty, review of The Constitution in Congress: The Jeffersonians, 1801-1829, pp. 1089-1111.

University Press Book News, March, 1991, review of The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The Second Century, 1886-1986, p. 28.

Yale Journal of Law and Humanities, summer, 1998, Carlton Larson, review of The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period, 1789-1801, pp. 647-655.

OBITUARIES:

ONLINE

University of Chicago, Law School Web site, http://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/currie/ (April 23, 2008), faculty profile of David P. Currie.

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Currie, David P. 1936–2007