The American Supreme Court, Sixth Edition

University of Chicago Press
Free sample

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.
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About the author

Robert G. McCloskey (1919–1969) was professor of government at Harvard University. He is the author of American Conservatism in the Age of the Enterprise. Sanford Levinson is the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood Jr. Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School and professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of several books, including, most recently, An Argument Open to All: Reading “The Federalist” in the 21st Century.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
May 2, 2016
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Pages
448
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ISBN
9780226296920
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
History / United States / General
Law / Constitutional
Law / Legal History
Political Science / American Government / Judicial Branch
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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THE ROOSEVELT COURT is a brilliant analysis of Supreme Court decisions during a crucial decade in the Supreme Court’s history, by a political scientist “interested in the social and psychological origins of judicial attitudes and the influence of individual predilections on the development of law.” A much-cited classic of the Court and judicial decision-making from the point of view of social science and not just doctrine, this work is at last available in a convenient and well-formatted digital edition. The presentation includes active Contents, linked notes, and all tables and graphics from the original edition.

“One of the most informative, judicious, and illuminating of all the books on our judicial history.”
— Henry Steele Commager

“His analysis is continuously interesting to the general student of the Court.... Excellent analysis of the subject matter of Court opinions.... No one has done a better job of catching the true meaning of the Supreme Court’s role as an instrumentality of government, or of putting that meaning into striking yet comprehensible language.... No better brief summary of the constitutional law of [this] decade can be found anywhere. Finally, the book Is studded with wise insights into the nature of judicial review and the business of the Supreme Court.”
— American Historical Review

“Provocative, well-written, and adventurous.”
— The New York Times

“Written in an easy style, free of dogma, and interspersed with a sense of humor, it will solve for many the enigma of seven justices appointed by the same President and presumably endowed with a kindred social outlook attaining unprecedented heights of disagreement.”
— Christian Science Monitor

The 2014 digital representation of this important and still-cited work is an authorized and unabridged republication of all previous printed editions, instructing generations of court-watchers how such research is done and what it means to this important moment in constitutional history. Part of the Classics of Law & Society Series from Quid Pro Books.

The role that precedent plays in constitutional decision making is a perennially divisive subject among scholars of law and American politics. The debate rages over both empirical and normative aspects of the issue: To what extent are the Supreme Court, Congress, and the executive branch constrained by precedent? To what extent should they be? Taking up a topic long overdue for comprehensive treatment, Michael Gerhardt connects the vast social science data and legal scholarship to provide the most wide-ranging assessment of precedent in several decades. Updated to reflect recent legal cases, The Power of Precedent clearly outlines the major issues in the continuing debates on the significance of precedent and evenly considers all sides. For the Supreme Court, precedents take many forms, including not only the Court's past opinions, but also norms, historical practices, and traditions that the justices have deliberately chosen to follow. In these forms, precedent exerts more force than is commonly acknowledged. This force is encapsulated in the implementation and recognition of what Gerhardt calls the "golden rule of precedent," a major dynamic in constitutional law. The rule calls upon justices and other public authorities to recognize that since they expect others to respect their own precedents, they must provide the same respect to others' precedents. Gerhardt's extensive exploration of precedent leads him to formulate a more expansive definition of it, one that encompasses not only the prior constitutional decisions of courts but also the constitutional judgments of other public authorities. Gerhardt concludes his study by looking at what the future holds for the concept, as he examines the decisions and attitudes toward precedent exhibited by the shift from the Rehnquist to the Roberts Court. Authoritative and incisive, Gerhardt presents an in-depth look at this central yet understudied phenomenon at the core of all constitutional conflicts and one of undeniable importance to American law and politics. Ultimately, The Power of Precedent vividly illustrates how constitutional law is made and evolves both in and outside of the courts.
This classic book on the role of the Supreme Court in our democracy traces the history of the Court, assessing the merits of various decisions along the way. Eminent law professor Alexander Bickel begins with Marbury vs. Madison, which he says gives shaky support to judicial review, and concludes with the school desegregation cases of 1954, which he uses to show the extent and limits of the Court’s power. In this way he accomplishes his stated purpose: “to have the Supreme Court’s exercise of judicial review better understood and supported and more sagaciously used.” The book now includes new foreword by Henry Wellington.Reviews of the Earlier Edition:“Dozens of books have examined and debated the court’s role in the American system. Yet there remains great need for the scholarship and perception, the sound sense and clear view Alexander Bickel brings to the discussion.... Students of the court will find much independent and original thinking supported by wide knowledge. Many judges could read the book with profit.” -Donovan Richardson, Christian Science Monitor“The Yale professor is a law teacher who is not afraid to declare his own strong views of legal wrongs... One of the rewards of this book is that Professor Bickel skillfully knits in "ations from a host of authorities and, since these are carefully documented, the reader may look them up in their settings. Among the author’s favorites is the late Thomas Reed Powell of Harvard, whose wit flashes on a good many pages.” -Irving Dillard, Saturday ReviewAlexander M. Bickel was professor of law at Yale University.
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