The Supreme Court: an essential history

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University Press of Kansas, 2007 - Law - 491 pages
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For more than two centuries, the U.S. Supreme Court has provided a battleground for nearly every controversial issue in our nation's history. Now a veteran team of talented historians--including the editors of the acclaimed Landmark Law Cases and American Society series--have produced the most readable, astute, and up-to-date single-volume history of this venerated institution, as engaging for general readers as it is rigorous for scholars. The Supreme Court chronicles an institution that dramatically evolved from six men meeting in borrowed quarters to the most closely watched tribunal in the world. Underscoring the close connection between law and politics, the authors highlight essential issues, cases, and decisions within the context of the times in which the decisions were handed down. Deftly combining doctrine and judicial biography with case law, they demonstrate how the justices have shaped the law and how the law that the Court makes has shaped our nation, with an emphasis on how the Court responded--or failed to respond--to the plight of the underdog. Each chapter covers the Court's years under a specific Chief Justice, focusing on cases that are the most reflective of the way the Court saw the law and the world and that had the most impact on the lives of ordinary Americans. Throughout the authors reveal how--in times of war, class strife, or moral revolution--the Court sometimes voiced the conscience of the nation and sometimes seemed to lose its moral compass. Their extensive quotes from the Court's opinions and dissents illuminate its inner workings, as well as the personalities and beliefs of the justices and the often-contentious relationships among them. Fair-minded andsharply insightful, The Supreme Court portrays an institution defined by eloquent and pedestrian decisions and by justices ranging from brilliant and wise to slow-witted and expedient. An epic and essential story, it illuminates the Court's role in our lives and its place in our history.

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User Review  - goddan - LibraryThing

This book is a survey of the history of the Supreme Court of the United States. It is divided by the court of each chief justice. So we get the John Marshall court, the William Rehnquist court, the ... Read full review

The Supreme Court: an essential history

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This ambitious book chronicles the Supreme Court from its colonial origins to the end of the Rehnquist era. Peter Charles Hoffer (history, Univ. of Georgia), Williamjames Hoffer (history, Seton Hall ... Read full review


The Heroic Courts
The Jay and Ellsworth Courts 1789180129
The Marshall Court 180118355J

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About the author (2007)

Peter Charles Hoffer is distinguished research professor of history at the University of Georgia.

N. E. H. Hull is distinguished professor of law at Rutgers Law School. Hull and Peter Hoffer have collaborated on several books and have written or edited more than two dozen books between them.

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