First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in American Life

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Grand Central Publishing, Dec 14, 2008 - Law - 352 pages
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Today's United States Supreme Court consists of nine intriguingly varied justices and one overwhelming contradiction: Compared to its revolutionary predecessor, the Rehnquist Court appears deceptively passive, yet it stands as dramatically ready to defy convention as the Warren Court of the 1950s and 60s. Now Kenneth W. Starr-who served as clerk for one chief justice, argued twenty-five cases as solicitor general before the Supreme Court, and is widely regarded as one of the nation's most distinguished practitioners of constitutional law-offers us an incisive and unprecedented look at the paradoxes, the power, and the people of the highest court in the land. In FIRST AMONG EQUALS Ken Starr traces the evolution of the Supreme Court from its beginnings, examines major Court decisions of the past three decades, and uncovers the sometimes surprising continuity between the precedent-shattering Warren Court and its successors under Burger and Rehnquist. He shows us, as no other author ever has, the very human justices who shape our law, from Sandra Day O'Connor, the Court's most pivotal-and perhaps most powerful-player, to Clarence Thomas, its most original thinker. And he explores the present Court's evolution into a lawyerly tribunal dedicated to balance and consensus on the one hand, and zealous debate on hotly contested issues of social policy on the other. * On race, the Court overturned affirmative action and held firm to an undeviating color-blind standard. * On executive privilege, the Court rebuffed three presidents, both Republican and Democrat, who fought to increase their power at the expense of rival branches of government. * On the 2000 presidential election, the Court prevented what it deemed a runaway Florida court from riding roughshod over state law-illustrating how in our system of government, the Supreme Court is truly the first among equals. Compelling and supremely readable, FIRST AMONG EQUALS sheds new light on the most frequently misunderstood legal pillar of American life.
 

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FIRST AMONG EQUALS: The Supreme Court in American Life

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Conservative crusader Starr, Javert to Bill Clinton's Jean Valjean, examines and occasionally condemns the work of the post-Warren Supreme Court.Starr shows rightist colors from the first sentence ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jmcclain19 - LibraryThing

Kenneth Star is a lightning rod when it comes to politics, but you can't deny the work he's done looking at comprehensive impact the Supreme Court has had, and continues to have on our daily lives ... Read full review

Contents

Preface
Origins
Shouting Fire In Crowded Theaters The Freedom of Speech
Hard Money and Soft The First Amendment and Politics
Parochial Schools and Public Money The Neutrality Principle
Counting By Race I The Affirmative Action Controversy
The Criminal Justice Revolution Excluding Evidence from
The Power to Make Law The Statutory Conversation Between
Presidents The Court and the Executive Branch
Acknowledgments
Copyright

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