Creating Constitutional Change: Clashes over Power and Liberty in the Supreme Court

Overview

Because the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court tell us what the Constitution means, they can create constitutional change. For quite some time, general readers who have been interested in understanding those changes have not had a concise volume that explores major decisions in which those changes occur. Traditional casebooks used in law schools typically pay scant attention to the historical and political context in which cases are decided, as well as the motives of litigants, the involvement of interest groups,...

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Overview

Because the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court tell us what the Constitution means, they can create constitutional change. For quite some time, general readers who have been interested in understanding those changes have not had a concise volume that explores major decisions in which those changes occur. Traditional casebooks used in law schools typically pay scant attention to the historical and political context in which cases are decided, as well as the motives of litigants, the involvement of interest groups, and the justices’ concerns with policy outcomes, even though all these factors are critical to understanding the Court’s decisions. Other books do address these concerns, but they almost always focus on a single policy issue rather than on a broader range of constitutional conflicts that populate the Court’s docket.

In order to make a wide range of decisions more accessible, Gregg Ivers and Kevin T. McGuire commissioned twenty-two outstanding scholars to write essays on a selected series of Supreme Court cases. Chosen for their contemporary relevance, most of the cases addressed in this informative reader are from the last half-century, extending right up through Bush v. Gore and the 2003 Michigan affirmative action cases.

In each of these roughly two dozen cases, the authors address a number of questions that provide readers with a deeper understanding of the Court and its policies: How did the conflict originate? What role did organized interests have in the case? What did the litigants, personally and professionally, have at stake? What was the practical result of the Court’s decision? Did the Court respond to lobbying or public opinion? These detailed historical and personal accounts in this all-new collection of essays offer engaging and illuminating perspectives on law and politics.

University of Virginia Press

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Editorial Reviews

Sanford LevinsonProfessor of LawUniversity of Texas Law School

I have no doubt that this excellent collection of essays will prove a boon to anyone teaching undergraduate classes in American legal and constitutional development. But I hope that it gains an audience as well among general readers and even, dare I say it, among law students and even their professors, who will all benefit from the ways that the various authors put the cases they discuss within broader social and political contexts.

Lawrence Baum

The editors and an impressive group of contributors have produced a valuable book. The book’s essays tell the stories behind major decisions of the Supreme Court and examine the causes and effects of the Court’s decisions. As a result, the book provides a rich understanding of the people and processes that shape constitutional law.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813923031
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2004
  • Series: Constitutionalism and Democracy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Gregg Ivers, Professor of Government at American University, is the author of American Constitutional Law: Power and Politics and To Build a Wall: American Jews and the Separation of Church and State (Virginia). Kevin T. McGuire, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is the author of Understanding the U.S. Supreme Court and The Supreme Court Bar: Legal Elites in the Washington Community (Virginia).

University of Virginia Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Introduction
The court as the final arbiter of the constitution : Cooper v. Aaron (1958) 9
Before free agency in major league baseball : Flood v. Kuhn (1972) 21
Political questions and the power of impeachment : Nixon v. United States (1993) 35
Constitutional law as hardball politics : Bush v. Gore (2000) 49
Presidential power in times of crisis : Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952) 65
The limits of presidential immunity : Clinton v. Jones (1997) 79
Policymaking outside the constitution : INS v. Chadha (1983) 93
Legislating the links : PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin (2001) 105
Our towering superstructure rests on a rotten foundation : Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918) 119
Smoking in the courtroom : Cipollone v. Liggett (1992) 133
Judicial decision making as legal debate : Printz v. United States (1997) 153
Funding religion and free speech : Rosenberger v. University of Virginia (1996) 165
Blood and precedent : church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. city of Hialeah (1993) 181
Abortion protests, abortion rights, and the regulation of speech : Hill v. Colorado (2000) 195
Competing constitutional claims : Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000) 215
National security vs. freedom of the press : New York Times v. United States (1971) 233
Mapp to legal change and policy retreat : United States v. Leon (1984) 249
The court's protection against self-incrimination : Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 265
Capital punishment and the mentally retarded : Atkins v. Virginia (2002) 281
Brown moves North : Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (1969) 295
Affirmative action in higher education : Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) 312
Public education for men only : United States v. Virginia (1996) 325
Contributors 341
Index 347
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