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University of Tulsa College of Law




In two important books, The Republic of Choice and The Horizontal Society, published in 1990 and 1999 respectively, Lawrence M. Friedman presents his theories of a massive social transformation which occurred in the last century. I wish to examine these theories through the prism of two cases: Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow3 and Hamdi v. Rumsfeld,4 both decided in the spring of 2004. Both Newdow and Hamdi have been at the center of public controversy for many months; each case carries many of the ingredients presented in Friedman's The Republic of Choice and The Horizontal Society. I shall present these cases, show how they reflect themes explored in The Republic of Choice and The Horizontal Society, and pose some questions about the horizons of the explanatory powers of Friedman's theory.

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