The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United Statesby Kermit L. Hall
In Democracy in America, De Tocqueville observed that there is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one. Two hundred years of American history have certainly born out the truth of this remark. Whether a controversy is political, economic, or social, whether it focuses on child labor, slavery, prayer in
In Democracy in America, De Tocqueville observed that there is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one. Two hundred years of American history have certainly born out the truth of this remark. Whether a controversy is political, economic, or social, whether it focuses on child labor, slavery, prayer in public schools, war powers, busing, abortion, business monopolies, or capital punishment, eventually the battle is taken to court. And the ultimate venue for these vital struggles is the Supreme Court. Indeed, the Supreme Court is a prism through which the entire life of our nation is magnified and illuminated, and through which we have defined ourselves as a people.
Now, in The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, readers have a rich source of information about one of the central institutions of American life. Everything one would want to know about the Supreme Court is here, in more than a thousand alphabetically arranged entries. There are biographies of every justice who ever sat on the Supreme Court (with pictures of each) as well as entries on rejected nominees and prominent judges (such as Learned Hand), on presidents who had an important impact onor conflict withthe Court (including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt), and on other influential figures (from Alexander Hamilton to Cass Gilbert, the architect of the Supreme Court Building). More than four hundred entries examine every major case that the court has decided, from Marbury v. Madison (which established the Court's power to declare federal laws unconstitutional) and Scott v. Sandford (the Dred Scott Case) to Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade. In addition, there are extended essays on the major issues that have confronted the Court (from slavery to national security, capital punishment to religion, from affirmative action to the Vietnam War), entries on judicial matters and legal terms (ranging from judicial review and separation of powers to amicus brief and habeas corpus), articles on all Amendments to the Constitution, and an extensive, four-part history of the Court. And as in all Oxford Companions, the contributors combine scholarship with engaging insight, giving us a sense of the personality and the inner workings of the Court. They examine everything from the wanderings of the Supreme Court (the first session was held on the second floor of the Royal Exchange Building in New York City, and the Court at times has met in a Congressional committee room, a tavern, a rented house, and finally, in 1935, its own building), to the Jackson-Black Feud and the clouded resignation of Abe Fortas, to the Supreme Court's press room and the paintings and sculptures adorning the Supreme Court building.
The decisions of the Supreme Court have touchedand will continue to influenceevery corner of American society. A comprehensive, authoritative guide to the Supreme Court, this volume is an essential reference source for everyone interested in the workings of this vital institution and in the multitude of issues it has confronted over the course of its history.
- Oxford University Press, USA
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Older Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 9.50(w) x 6.88(h) x 2.38(d)
Meet the Author
About the Editors:
Kermit L. Hall (Editor in Chief) is Dean of the College of Humanities at Ohio State University. Editors are James W. Ely, Jr., Professor of Law and History at Vanderbilt University; Joel B. Grossman, Professor of Political Science and Law at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; and William M. Wiecek, Chester Adgate Congdon Professor of Public Law and Legislation and Professor of History at Syracuse University.
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_The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States_ ranks among the top five reference works I have perused. Actually, I read this one all the way through, from A to Z. It is the ultimate one-volume guide to American jurisprudence. There are multi-paragraph summaries of just about every High Court case of lasting significance, excellent and detailed biographies and photographs/illustrations of all the Justices through Clarence Thomas, detailed explanations of all the legal, political and historical principles and terms needed to understand the Court and its workings, and, as an added bonus, excellent biographies of figures (such as Judge Learned Hand and defeated nominees such as Haynsworth and Bork) who never served on the Court but had an influence on it in one way or another. In short, this is the only book on the Supreme Court that a layman should ever need. I can't recommend it enough - it should be the home of every educated person with an interest in the law.