Beginning with the debates over judicial power in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 to controversial rulings on slavery, racial segregation, free speech, school prayer, abortion, and gay rights, constitutional scholar Peter Irons offers a penetrating look at the highest court in the land. Here are revealing sketches of every justice from John Jay to Stephen Breyer, as well as portraits of such legal giants as John Marshall, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Earl Warren, and Thurgood Marshall. Astute, provocative, and extremely accessible,
A People's History of the Supreme Court
illuminates and pays tribute to a system of justice that both reflects and parallels our country's remarkable legal history.
"Bracing . . . Irons and his book burst with lively and often funny stories that make the history of the institution come alive." --
San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
The savvy, chatty author of
The Courage of Their Convictions
brings us a scholarly reckoning of the 200-plus years of decisions made by the highest court in the land. Not surprisingly (and justifiably, given his erudite arguments), Peter H. Irons represents the court's work as a never-ending appeal of the powerless to the powerful: of the just over 100 supreme justices who have sat on the court, all but two have been white, all but two have been men, and all but seven have been Christian, whereas the supplicants to our nation's highest bar are typically racial minorities, women, and deviants in some way from the religious and social mainstream.Taking a representative (if not comprehensive) accounting of the Supreme Court's most significant decisions, Irons puts cultural and political context--and a human face--to the parties involved, painting an absorbing and involving picture of landmark cases that readers are likely to recall but not fully understand. Whether he's explicating the tortuous history of freedom-seeking slave Dred Scott or explaining the "a Jap's a Jap" reasoning behind the legal exculpation of World War II internment camps, Irons reminds us of the court's spotted history while still conveying the deep affection he has for it. (Includes a thoughtful appendix with the complete text of the Constitution and suggestions for further reading.)
|Title:||A People's History of the Supreme Court||Publisher:||Penguin USA|
|No. of Pages:||560|
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