Wednesday, December 6, 2017
John Cerullo Co-Authors Book on Brock Impeachment, Judicial Independence

Professor Emeritus of History John Cerullo recently published a book he co-authored with David C. Steelman, former vice president of the National Center for State Courts.

Titled The Impeachment of Chief Justice David Brock: Judicial Independence and Civic Populism, the book examines the legislative, judicial and civic consequences of the contentious effort to remove a chief justice from the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

By the end of the 1970s, the judicial branch of New Hampshire's state government had secured a much higher level of institutional autonomy than had originally been granted it by the state constitution of 1784. Over the following two decades, a series of legislative-judicial clashes deepened some legislators' hostility toward the direction the judiciary had taken.

In 2000, information regarding some of Chief Justice Brock's administrative actions and practices triggered impeachment charges against him. After a dramatic trial in the Senate, he was acquitted—but not before the citizens of New Hampshire had been afforded an opportunity to consider the purpose and nature of impeachment in democratic governance, and whether an independent judiciary is compatible with a "populist" civic culture where mistrust of "elites" runs high.

The Impeachment of Chief Justice David Brock is Cerullo's third book.  His others address a scandal involving French military justice before World War 1, and the emergence of the Society for Psychical Research in Victorian Britain.