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An inside look at the workings of the Supreme Court written by a top scholar and commentator.
In this engaging and illuminating narrative of the Supreme Court, David O’Brien shows students how the Court is a “storm center” of political controversy, where personality, politics, law, and justice come together to shape and often change drastically the society in which we live. Details such as how the Court decides which cases to review, the rise of individual opinions, and the expanded role of clerks are explained in lively, accessible prose.
The Ninth Edition includes new material on President Barack Obama’s appointments of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan; Chief Justice Roberts’s role in conference and in important administrative changes within the Court; and new material from the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist's papers and from the Clinton Presidential Library.
A very useful introduction to the Court,well-liked by students for its lively style,anecdotes,and political acumen.
With the abortion and school desegregation decisions, O'Brien contends, the Supreme Court has ceased to be Hamilton's ``least dangerous branch.'' Increasingly activist, it has in fact become a ``storm center'' of national politics. Ever mindful of our judicial past, O'Brien likewise finds the Court is markedly more bureaucratic. His lucid text descibes the inner rules and proceduresthe cost of filings, screening procedures, certiorari petitions, the justices' give-and-take negotiations, their tentative votes and maneuverings, the oral arguments, the growing number of dissents and plurality opinions. O'Brien finds the Court rife with heated personal clashes. Rather than above the battle, it is highly sensitive to external pressures, from the President, Congress, public opinion. This is an illuminating, first-rate primer for those seeking to understand the workings of the Court. Milton Cantor, History Dept., Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst
David M. O’Brien is Leone Reaves and George W. Spicer Professor at the Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia. He received his Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. degrees in philosophy and political science from the University of California at Santa Barbara and is the author of numerous books, including Constitutional Law and Politics and Storm Center: The Supreme Court in American Politics, winner of the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award.