Powell, Thomas Reed (1880–1955)

views updated


Constitutional lawyer and political scientist Thomas Reed Powell taught for twenty-five years at Harvard Law School. He was a prolific writer of articles on constitutional law and especially on the issues of state taxation of commerce and intergovernmental immunities from taxation. His published analyses of constitutional doctrines and Supreme Court decisions frequently influenced the future course of constitutional law, as, for example, in reducing the protection from taxation afforded by the original package doctrine. He was also a commentator on the activities of the Supreme Court: he was critical of its anti-new deal decisions in the 1930s, of the proliferation of separate opinions in the 1940s, and of the prevalence of rhetorical excess over rigorous logic at all times. His last public lectures were published in 1956 as Vagaries and Varieties in Constitutional Law.

Dennis J. Mahoney

About this article

Powell, Thomas Reed (1880–1955)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article