Inside the Supreme Court's Assault on the Constitution
Author: David A. Kaplan
Category: Political Science
In the bestselling tradition of The Nine and The Brethren, The Most Dangerous Branch takes us inside the secret world of the Supreme Court. David A. Kaplan, the former legal affairs editor of Newsweek, shows how the justices subvert the role of the other branches of government—and how we’ve come to accept it at our peril. With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court has never before been more central in American life. It is the nine justices who too often now decide the controversial issues of our time—from abortion and same-sex marriage, to gun control, campaign finance and voting rights. The Court is so crucial that many voters in 2016 made their choice based on whom they thought their presidential candidate would name to the Court. Donald Trump picked Neil Gorsuch—the key decision of his new administration. The next justice—replacing Anthony Kennedy—will be even more important, holding the swing vote over so much social policy. Is that really how democracy is supposed to work? Based on exclusive interviews with the justices and dozens of their law clerks, Kaplan provides fresh details about life behind the scenes at the Court – Clarence Thomas’s simmering rage, Antonin Scalia’s death, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s celebrity, Breyer Bingo, the petty feuding between Gorsuch and the chief justice, and what John Roberts thinks of his critics. Kaplan presents a sweeping narrative of the justices’ aggrandizement of power over the decades – from Roe v. Wade to Bush v. Gore to Citizens United, to rulings during the 2017-18 term. But the arrogance of the Court isn’t partisan: Conservative and liberal justices alike are guilty of overreach. Challenging conventional wisdom about the Court’s transcendent power, The Most Dangerous Branch is sure to rile both sides of the political aisle.
Author: Bernard Schwartz
Publisher: Oxford University Press
A comprehensive history of the United States Supreme Court from its ill-esteemed beginning in 1790 to one of the most important and controversial branches of the Federal government.
Author: Erwin Chemerinsky
Publisher: Penguin Books
Both historically and in the present, the Supreme Court has largely been a failure In this devastating book, Erwin Chemerinsky—“one of the shining lights of legal academia” (The New York Times)—shows how, case by case, for over two centuries, the hallowed Court has been far more likely to uphold government abuses of power than to stop them. Drawing on a wealth of rulings, some famous, others little known, he reviews the Supreme Court's historic failures in key areas, including the refusal to protect minorities, the upholding of gender discrimination, and the neglect of the Constitution in times of crisis, from World War I through 9/11. No one is better suited to make this case than Chemerinsky. He has studied, taught, and practiced constitutional law for thirty years and has argued before the Supreme Court. With passion and eloquence, Chemerinsky advocates reforms that could make the system work better, and he challenges us to think more critically about the nature of the Court and the fallible men and women who sit on it.
Author: Kermit L. Hall,James W. Ely,Joel B. Grossman
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
The second edition of this authoritative guide on the impact of the Supreme Court's decisions on American society includes updated entries on key cases over the past thirteen years, as well as a fully revised treatment of areas of constitutional law.
Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind
Author: Justin Driver
An award-winning constitutional law scholar at the University of Chicago (who clerked for Judge Merrick B. Garland, Justice Stephen Breyer, and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor) gives us an engaging and alarming book that aims to vindicate the rights of public school students, which have so often been undermined by the Supreme Court in recent decades. Judicial decisions assessing the constitutional rights of students in the nation’s public schools have consistently generated bitter controversy. From racial segregation to unauthorized immigration, from antiwar protests to compulsory flag salutes, from economic inequality to teacher-led prayer—these are but a few of the cultural anxieties dividing American society that the Supreme Court has addressed in elementary and secondary schools. The Schoolhouse Gate gives a fresh, lucid, and provocative account of the historic legal battles waged over education and illuminates contemporary disputes that continue to fracture the nation. Justin Driver maintains that since the 1970s the Supreme Court has regularly abdicated its responsibility for protecting students’ constitutional rights and risked transforming public schools into Constitution-free zones. Students deriving lessons about citizenship from the Court’s decisions in recent decades would conclude that the following actions taken by educators pass constitutional muster: inflicting severe corporal punishment on students without any procedural protections, searching students and their possessions without probable cause in bids to uncover violations of school rules, random drug testing of students who are not suspected of wrongdoing, and suppressing student speech for the viewpoint it espouses. Taking their cue from such decisions, lower courts have upheld a wide array of dubious school actions, including degrading strip searches, repressive dress codes, draconian “zero tolerance” disciplinary policies, and severe restrictions on off-campus speech. Driver surveys this legal landscape with eloquence, highlights the gripping personal narratives behind landmark clashes, and warns that the repeated failure to honor students’ rights threatens our basic constitutional order. This magisterial book will make it impossible to view American schools—or America itself—in the same way again.
Author: Lawrence Baum
Publisher: CQ Press
Category: Political Science
The Supreme Court, Twelfth Edition, examines all major aspects of the highest court in the nation, from the selection of justices and agenda creation to the decision-making process and the Court’s impact on government and U.S. society. Delving deeply into personalities and procedures, author Lawrence Baum provides a balanced explanation of the Court’s actions and the behavior of its justices as he reveals its complexity, reach, and influence. This new edition gives particular attention to current developments such as the impact of political polarization on the Court, the justices’ increasingly public roles, and recent rulings on same-sex marriage and health care.
Stories from the History of the Supreme Court
Author: Sandra Day O'Connor
Publisher: Random House Incorporated
The former Supreme Court justice shares stories about the history and evolution of the Supreme Court that traces the roles of key contributors while sharing the events behind important transformations.
Why the Supreme Court is Not a Court and Its Justices are Not Judges
Author: Eric J. Segall
This book explores some of the most glaring misunderstandings about the U.S. Supreme Court—and makes a strong case for why our Supreme Court Justices should not be entrusted with decisions that affect every American citizen.
Lethal Crimes and Landmark Cases
Author: Martin Clancy,Tim O'Brien
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Category: True Crime
This in-depth yet highly accessible books provides compelling human stories that illuminate the thorny legal issues behind the most noteworthy capital cases. In 1969, the Supreme Court justices cast votes in secret that could have signaled the end of the death penalty. Later, the justices’ resolve began to unravel. Why? What were the consequences for the rule of law and for the life at stake in the case? These are some of the fascinating questions answered in Murder at the Supreme Court. Veteran journalists Martin Clancy and Tim O’Brien not only pull back the curtain of secrecy that surrounds Supreme Court deliberations but also reveal the crucial links between landmark capital-punishment cases and the lethal crimes at their root. The authors take readers to crime scenes, holding cells, jury rooms, autopsy suites, and execution chambers to provide true-life reporting on vicious criminals and the haphazard judicial system that punishes them. The cases reported are truly "the cases that made the law." They have defined the parameters that judges must follow for a death sentence to stand up on appeal. Beyond the obvious questions regarding the dubious deterrent effect of capital punishment or whether retribution is sufficient justification for the death penalty (regardless of the heinous nature of the crimes committed), the cases and crimes examined in this book raise other confounding issues: Is lethal injection really more humane than other methods of execution? Should a mentally ill killer be forcibly medicated to make him "well enough" to be executed? How does the race of the perpetrator or the victim influence sentencing? Is heinous rape a capital crime? How young is too young to be executed?
The Men and Women Whose Cases and Decisions Have Shaped OurConstitution: Revised Edition
Author: Peter Irons
Category: Political Science
A comprehensive history of the people and cases that have changed history, this is the definitive account of the nation's highest court Recent changes in the Supreme Court have placed the venerable institution at the forefront of current affairs, making this comprehensive and engaging work as timely as ever. In the tradition of Howard Zinn's classic A People's History of the United States, Peter Irons chronicles the decisions that have influenced virtually every aspect of our society, from the debates over judicial power to controversial rulings in the past regarding slavery, racial segregation, and abortion, as well as more current cases about school prayer, the Bush/Gore election results, and "enemy combatants." To understand key issues facing the supreme court and the current battle for the court's ideological makeup, there is no better guide than Peter Irons. This revised and updated edition includes a foreword by Howard Zinn. "A sophisticated narrative history of the Supreme Court . . . [Irons] breathes abundant life into old documents and reminds readers that today's fiercest arguments about rights are the continuation of the endless American conversation." -Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
Author: Ruadhán Mac Cormaic
Publisher: Penguin UK
'A wonderful book ... a superb book and it's not just for people interested in law; it tells you a lot about Ireland' Vincent Browne, TV3 The judges, the decisions, the rifts and the rivalries - the gripping inside story of the institution that has shaped Ireland. 'Combines painstaking research with acute analysis and intelligence' Colm Tóibín, Irish Times' Books of the Year '[Mac Cormaic] has done something unprecedented and done it with a striking maturity, balance and adroitness. He creates the intimacy necessary but never loses sight of the wider contexts; this is not just a book about legal history; it is also about social, political and cultural history ... [the Supreme Court] has found a brilliant chronicler in Ruadhan Mac Cormaic' Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor of Modern Irish History, UCD 'Mac Cormaic quite brilliantly tells the story ... balanced, perceptive and fair ... a major contribution to public understanding' Donncha O'Connell, Professor of Law, NUIG, Dublin Review of Books 'Compelling ... a remarkable story, told with great style' Irish Times 'Authoritative, well-written and highly entertaining' Sunday Times The work of the Supreme Court is at the heart of the private and public life of the nation. Whether it's a father trying to overturn his child's adoption, a woman asserting her right to control her fertility, republicans fighting extradition, political activists demanding an equal hearing in the media, women looking to serve on juries, the state attempting to prevent a teenager ending her pregnancy, a couple challenging the tax laws, a gay man fighting his criminalization simply for being gay, a disabled young man and his mother seeking to vindicate his right to an education, the court's decisions can change lives. Now, having had unprecedented access to a vast number of sources, and conducted hundreds of interviews, including with key insiders, award-winning Irish Times journalist Ruadhan Mac Cormaic lifts the veil on the court's hidden world. The Supreme Court reveals new and surprising information about well-known cases. It exposes the sometimes fractious relationship between the court and the government. But above all it tells a story about people - those who brought the cases, those who argued in court, those who dealt with the fallout and, above all, those who took the decisions. Judges' backgrounds and relationships, their politics and temperaments, as well as the internal tensions between them, are vital to understanding how the court works and are explored here in fascinating detail. The Supreme Court is both a riveting read and an important and revealing account of one of the most powerful institutions of our state. Ruadhan Mac Cormaic is the former Legal Affairs Correspondent and Paris Correspondent of the Irish Times. He is now the paper's Foreign Affairs Correspondent.
Its Role in the Court's History and the Nation's Constitutional Dialogue
Author: Melvin I. Urofsky
In his major work, acclaimed historian and judicial authority Melvin Urofsky examines the great dissents throughout the Court's long history. Constitutional dialogue is one of the ways in which we as a people reinvent and reinvigorate our democratic society. The Supreme Court has interpreted the meaning of the Constitution, acknowledged that the Court's majority opinions have not always been right, and initiated a critical discourse about what a particular decision should mean and fashioning subsequent decisions--largely through the power of dissent. Urofsky shows how the practice grew slowly but steadily, beginning with the infamous & now overturned case of Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) during which Chief Justice Roger Taney's opinion upheld slaver and ending with the present age of incivility, in which reasoned dialogue seems less and less possible. Dissent on the court and off, Urofsky argues in this major work, has been a crucial ingredient in keeping the Constitution alive and must continue to be so.
The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted
Author: Ian Millhiser
Publisher: Nation Books
Category: Political Science
Now with a new epilogue. Few American institutions have inflicted greater suffering on ordinary people than the Supreme Court of the United States. Since its inception, the justices of the Supreme Court have shaped a nation where children toiled in coal mines, where Americans could be forced into camps because of their race, and where a woman could be sterilized against her will by state law. The Court was the midwife of Jim Crow, the right hand of union busters, and the dead hand of the Confederacy. Nor is the modern Court a vast improvement, with its incursions on voting rights and its willingness to place elections for sale. In this powerful indictment of a venerated institution, Ian Millhiser tells the history of the Supreme Court through the eyes of the everyday people who have suffered the most from it. America ratified three constitutional amendments to provide equal rights to freed slaves, but the justices spent thirty years largely dismantling these amendments. Then they spent the next forty years rewriting them into a shield for the wealthy and the powerful. In the Warren era and the few years following it, progressive justices restored the Constitution’s promises of equality, free speech, and fair justice for the accused. But, Millhiser contends, that was an historic accident. Indeed, if it weren’t for several unpredictable events, Brown v. Board of Education could have gone the other way. In Injustices, Millhiser argues that the Supreme Court has seized power for itself that rightfully belongs to the people’s elected representatives, and has bent the arc of American history away from justice.
The Supreme Court and the Transition to Democracy
Author: Andrea Castagnola,Saul Lopez Noriega
Category: Political Science
After more than seventy years of uninterrupted authoritarian government headed by the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), Mexico formally began the transition to democracy in 2000. Unlike most other new democracies in Latin America, no special Constitutional Court was set up, nor was there any designated bench of the Supreme Court for constitutional adjudication. Instead, the judiciary saw its powers expand incrementally. Under this new context inevitable questions emerged: How have the justices interpreted the constitution? What is the relation of the court with the other political institutions? How much autonomy do justices display in their decisions? Has the court considered the necessary adjustments to face the challenges of democracy? It has become essential in studying the new role of the Supreme Court to obtain a more accurate and detailed diagnosis of the performances of its justices in this new political environment. Through critical review of relevant debates and using original data sets to empirically analyze the way justices voted on the three main means of constitutional control from 2000 through 2011, leading legal scholars provide a thoughtful and much needed new interpretation of the role the judiciary plays in a country’s transition to democracy This book is designed for graduate courses in law and courts, judicial politics, comparative judicial politics, Latin American institutions, and transitions to democracy. This book will equip scholars and students with the knowledge required to understand the importance of the independence of the judiciary in the transition to democracy.
The Obama White House and the Supreme Court
Author: Jeffrey Toobin
Publisher: Anchor Books
Presents an insider's account of the ideological war between the John Roberts Supreme Court and the Obama administration, tracing several landmark cases and the strong views that will be shaping the Court of the near future.
The Court's New Right-wing Bloc
Author: Ronald Dworkin
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Discusses the conservative shift in the Supreme court after the appointment of John Roberts and Samuel Alito in 2005 and the effect this shift may have on constitutional law, including abortion, affirmative action, and executive power.
Author: I. Unah
Category: Political Science
The Supreme Court's involvement in many hot political and personal conflicts makes crucial an understanding of its internal workings and evolution. This book gives students a firm historical and institutional base upon which to evaluate contemporary Supreme Court decisions and the impact of those decisions on the lives of ordinary citizens.
The Man Who Made the Supreme Court
Author: Richard Brookhiser
Publisher: Basic Books
Category: Biography & Autobiography
The life of John Marshall, Founding Father and America's premier chief justice In 1801, a genial and brilliant Revolutionary War veteran and politician became the fourth chief justice of the United States. He would hold the post for 34 years (still a record), expounding the Constitution he loved. Before he joined the Supreme Court, it was the weakling of the federal government, lacking in dignity and clout. After he died, it could never be ignored again. Through three decades of dramatic cases involving businessmen, scoundrels, Native Americans, and slaves, Marshall defended the federal government against unruly states, established the Supreme Court's right to rebuke Congress or the president, and unleashed the power of American commerce. For better and for worse, he made the Supreme Court a pillar of American life. In John Marshall, award-winning biographer Richard Brookhiser vividly chronicles America's greatest judge and the world he made.
Author: Richard H. Fallon
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Category: Constitutional law
"The book addresses questions about the roles of law and politics and the challenge of legitimacy in constitutional adjudication in the Supreme Court. With all sophisticated observers recognizing that the Justices' political outlooks influence their decision making, many political scientists, some of the public, and a few prominent judges have become Cynical Realists. In their view Justices vote based on their policy preferences, and legal reasoning is mere window-dressing. This book rejects Cynical Realism, but without denying many Realist insights. It explains the limits of language and history in resolving contentious constitutional issues. To rescue the notion that the Constitution is law that binds the Justices, the book provides an original account of what law is and means in the Supreme Court. It also offers a theory of legitimacy in Supreme Court adjudication. Given the nature of law in the Supreme Court, we need to accept and learn to respect reasonable disagreement about many constitutional issues. If so, the legitimacy question becomes: how would the Justices need to decide cases so that even those who disagree with the outcomes ought to respect the Justices' processes of decision? The book gives a fresh and counterintuitive answer to that vital question. Adapting a methodology made famous by John Rawls, it argues that the Justices should strive to achieve a "reflective equilibrium" between their interpretive principles, framed to identify the Constitution's enduring meaning, and their judgments about appropriate outcomes in particular cases, evaluated as prescriptions for the nation to live by in the future. The book blends the perspectives of law, philosophy, and political science to answer theoretical and practical questions of pressing national importance"--