A definitive history of the U.S. Supreme Court details the evolution of the legal institution from the early days of the American Republic to the present day, offering profiles of the justices, the Court's years under each Chief Justice, its influence on American life, and the issues, cases, and decisions they handled from the perspective of the time in which they came before the Court.
There are moments in American history when all eyes are focused on a federal court: when its bench speaks for millions of Americans, and when its decision changes the course of history. More often, the story of the federal judiciary is simply a tale of hard work: of finding order in the chaotic system of state and federal law, local custom, and contentious lawyering. The Federal Courts is a story of all of these courts and the judges and justices who served on them, of the case law they made, and of the acts of Congress and the administrative organs that shaped the courts. But, even more importantly, this is a story of the courts' development and their vital part in America's history. Peter Charles Hoffer, Williamjames Hull Hoffer, and N. E. H. Hull's retelling of that history is framed the three key features that shape the federal courts' narrative: the separation of powers; the federal system, in which both the national and state governments are sovereign; and the widest circle: the democratic-republican framework of American self-government. The federal judiciary is not elective and its principal judges serve during good behavior rather than at the pleasure of Congress, the President, or the electorate. But the independence that lifetime tenure theoretically confers did not and does not isolate the judiciary from political currents, partisan quarrels, and public opinion. Many vital political issues came to the federal courts, and the courts' decisions in turn shaped American politics. The federal courts, while the least democratic branch in theory, have proved in some ways and at various times to be the most democratic: open to ordinary people seeking redress, for example. Litigation in the federal courts reflects the changing aspirations and values of America's many peoples. The Federal Courts is an essential account of the branch that provides what Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Judge Oliver Wendell Homes Jr. called "a magic mirror, wherein we see reflected our own lives."
This essential historical overview begins by noting that the Supreme Court is -arguably the least known and understood of the three branches of government-. Robert W. Langran's innovative approach will do much to provide students with a good understanding of the changing role and accomplishments of the Court from its inception to its latest decisions. This book discusses the most important decisions of the Court in chronological rather than topical order, illustrating how the cases fit into an historical timeframe as well as what roles the most influential justices played. In an easy, conversational style, Robert W. Langran discusses how the Court was formed, how justices are selected, how the Court selects its cases, and the broad shifts of the Court with regard to doctrine and attention to the popular and governmental interests of each period. Students gain important insights into why each Court voted the way it did and how those decisions influenced the votes of future Courts. "The Supreme Court," an excellent supplementary text for undergraduate classes in American government and American history, as well as introductory classes in political science, contains useful appendixes listing all justices and all cases discussed."
Celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, Robert McCloskey’s classic work on the Supreme Court’s role in constructing the U.S. Constitution has introduced generations of students to the workings of our nation’s highest court. For this new fifth edition, Sanford Levinson extends McCloskey’s magisterial treatment to address the Court’s most recent decisions. As in prior editions, McCloskey’s original text remains unchanged. In his historical interpretation, he argues that the strength of the Court has always been its sensitivity to the changing political scene, as well as its reluctance to stray too far from the main currents of public sentiments. In two revised chapters, Levinson shows how McCloskey’s approach continues to illuminate developments since 2005, including the Court’s decisions in cases arising out of the War on Terror, which range from issues of civil liberty to tests of executive power. He also discusses the Court’s skepticism regarding campaign finance regulation; its affirmation of the right to bear arms; and the increasingly important nomination and confirmation process of Supreme Court justices, including that of the first Hispanic justice, Sonia Sotomayor. The best and most concise account of the Supreme Court and its place in American politics, McCloskey's wonderfully readable book is an essential guide to the past, present, and future prospects of this institution.
A Supreme Court reporter offers an introduction to one of the pillars of American government, focusing on the people and traditions of the U.S. Supreme Court and examining many individual Supreme Court cases.
For more than fifty years, Robert G. McCloskey’s classic work on the Supreme Court’s role in constructing the US Constitution has introduced generations of students to the workings of our nation’s highest court. As in prior editions, McCloskey’s original text remains unchanged. In his historical interpretation, he argues that the strength of the Court has always been its sensitivity to the changing political scene, as well as its reluctance to stray too far from the main currents of public sentiment. In this new edition, Sanford Levinson extends McCloskey’s magisterial treatment to address developments since the 2010 election, including the Supreme Court’s decisions regarding the Defense of Marriage Act, the Affordable Care Act, and gay marriage. The best and most concise account of the Supreme Court and its place in American politics, McCloskey's wonderfully readable book is an essential guide to the past, present, and future prospects of this institution.
The Supreme Court Justices: Illustrated Biographies, 1789–2012, Third Edition, provides a single-volume reference profiling every Supreme Court justice from John Jay through Elena Kagan. An original essay on each justice paints a vivid picture of his or her individuality as shaped by family, education, pre-Court career, and the times in which he or she lived. Each biographical essay also presents an overview of the justice’s jurisprudence, the major cases during his or her tenure, and the justice’s relationships with the other members of the Court. Essays are arranged in the order of the justices’ appointments. Lively anecdotes along with portraits, photographs, and political cartoons enrich the text and deepen readers’ understanding of the justices and the Court. The volume includes an extensive bibliography and is indexed for easy research access. New to this edition Foreword by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. Updated essays on sitting or recently retired members of the court New biographies for Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Associate Justices Samuel A. Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan A revised listing of members of the Supreme Court with appointment and confirmation dates —as new documents have come to light, the editor has reassessed the dates of service of several of the justices An updated bibliography with key sources on the Supreme Court and the justices All-new images replace nearly one fourth of the illustrations in this edition There is no better reference than this updated new volume for insightful background and dynamic commentary on the individuals who have served on the Supreme Court of the United States. This is a vital reference work for researchers, students, and others interested in the Supreme Court’s past, present, and future. Editor Clare Cushman is director of publications for the Supreme Court Historical Society, a private nonprofit organization dedicated to the collection and preservation of the history of the Supreme Court of the United States. The society accomplishes its mission by conducting educational programs of interest to legal practitioners, scholars, and the general public by supporting historical research, publishing books, journals, and electronic materials and by collecting antiques and artifacts related to the Court’s history.
The Supreme Court Compendium provides historical and statistical information on the Supreme Court: its institutional development; caseload; decision trends; the background, nomination, and voting behavior of its justices; its relationship with public, governmental, and other judicial bodies; and its impact. With over 180 tables and figures, this new edition is intended to capture the full retrospective picture through the 2013-2014 term of the Roberts Court and the momentous decisions handed down within the last four years, including United States v. Windsor, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, and Shelby County v. Holder.
"How do we know what happened in the past? We cannot go back, and no amount of historical data can enable us to understand with absolute certainty what life was like then. It is easy to demolish the very idea of historical knowing, but it is impossible to demolish the importance of historical knowing. In an age of cable television pundits and anonymous bloggers dueling over history, the value of owning history increases at the same time as our confidence in history as a way of knowing crumbles. Historical knowledge thus presents a paradox - the more it is required, the less reliable it has become. To reconcile this paradox - that history is impossible but necessary - Peter Charles Hoffer proposes a practical, workable philosophy of history for our times, one that is robust and realistic, and that speaks to anyone who reads, writes and teaches history. The philosophy of history that Hoffer supports in The Historians' Paradox is driven by a continual and careful search for the authentic, but without confining the real to a finite or closed set of facts. Hoffer urges us to think and live with a keen awareness that history is everywhere, to accept the impossibility of measuring its reliability, but to never approach it unquestioningly. Covering a sweeping range of philosophies (from ancient history to game theory), methodological approaches to writing history, and the advantages and disadvantages of different strategies of argument, Hoffer constructs a philosophy of history that is reasonable, free of fallacy, and supported by appropriate evidence that is itself tenable. The Historians' Paradox brings together accounts of actual historical events, anecdotes about historians, insights from philosophers of history, and the personal experience of a long time scholar and teacher. Throughout, Hoffer liberally spices the mixture with humor to create a philosophy of history for our times."--publisher.