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The Supreme Court: A C-SPAN Book, Featuring the Justices in their Own Words [NOOK Book]

Overview


The Supreme Court grew out of a unique opportunity to interview all nine sitting Supreme Court Justices plus retired Justice O'Connor for a documentary on the Supreme Court. Through Brian Lamb and Susan Swain's interviews with our country's most influential judges, the book offers portraits of the Justices that introduces readers to the closed world of the Supreme Court, and what's it's really like to serve on the nation's highest Court.

Accompanying the Justices around the ...

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The Supreme Court: A C-SPAN Book, Featuring the Justices in their Own Words

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Overview


The Supreme Court grew out of a unique opportunity to interview all nine sitting Supreme Court Justices plus retired Justice O'Connor for a documentary on the Supreme Court. Through Brian Lamb and Susan Swain's interviews with our country's most influential judges, the book offers portraits of the Justices that introduces readers to the closed world of the Supreme Court, and what's it's really like to serve on the nation's highest Court.

Accompanying the Justices around the Supreme Court, and through offices steeped in historic memorabilia, Lamb and Swain offer readers a window into a fascinating world to which few have had access. In these pages, Justice Sotomayor reflects on her first impressions of the job and the acclimation process. Justice Breyer takes us behind the scenes on a private tour of his Chambers as he describes how the Court works. And Chief Justice Roberts talks about the role of the Court in Society, the role of the Chief Justice, and the process of deciding cases.

Enriching this unique material are interviews with journalists, court historians, and other experts on the Court. Journalists Joan Biskupic and Lyle Denniston (the longest serving Supreme Court reporter) talk about the process that unfolds in the Court and the impact of a new member of the Court. Clerk of the Supreme Court William Suter provides insights into the traditions of the Court. Historian Jim O'Hara discusses the Supreme Court building and its history. Two attorneys who have argued numerous cases in front of the Supreme Court tell readers what it's like facing the justices in fast paced oral arguments.

Vividly illustrated with color photographs, the book is a perfect gift for anyone interested in the makings of this powerful institution.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The companion book to the 2009 C-SPAN documentary records the only time that all the living Supreme Court justices, the nine sitting members and their two retired colleagues, have granted interviews to a single television network. Transcripts from those interviews provide insight into the daily operations and history of the nation's highest court; facts about the building it occupies, trivia (William Howard Taft was the only individual to serve as President and Supreme Court Justice), and numerous personal recollections are also included, as are interviews with experts on the Court's history and daily operation. An appendix presents short biographies of the justices, a list of everyone who has ever served on the Court, and a section noting petitions and arguments heard each year, from 1980 to 2008 (peaking in 2006 with over 10,000 heard and 73 argued). Readers will gain insight into the Court and the justices, including the different approaches they take in writing their opinions, in a volume that will particularly engage history buffs and anyone with an interest in governmental procedure. (May)
From the Publisher

Booklist, May 15, 2010
“C-SPAN set out to do a documentary on the history of the stately Supreme Court building when a confluence of circumstances turned the project into a collection of interviews with the then-sitting jurists, as well as retired Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and recently seated Justice Sonia Sotomayor. To get such broad access to this group of famously media-shy figures was a major coup… The total package is a fascinating look.”

PoliticsDaily, April 29, 2010
“C-SPAN, the treasured chronicler of American public affairs, has yet again provided a valuable service with a new documentary book about the Supreme Court. …Very helpful is a good way to describe C-SPAN’s book and its continuing efforts to educate Americans about what the Supreme Court is and is not. How about Brian Lamb as the next justice?”

Library Journal
C-SPAN staffers Lamb (founding CEO), Susan Swain (president & co-chief operating officer), and Mark Farkas (executive producer) have assembled a selection of interviews with current and former Supreme Court justices, as well as court followers, experts, and participants in the judicial process drawn from the fields of law, government, and journalism. Taken together, the interviews provide a historical overview and policy perspective of the court rarely seen in the current literature. The justices pontificate on the court's history, its place in the structure of government, and its role in shaping modern society. Especially revealing are the discussions centered on its inner workings, such as the manner in which cases come before the court, how they are heard, and how justices discuss, debate, and decide their opinions. The book is capped with many useful reference resources, including biographies, listings, surveys, statistics, and a summary of important decisions and seminal historical events in Supreme Court history.VERDICT Aimed at a general audience, this is recommended mainly for public and high school libraries. —Philip Y. Blue, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Law Lib., First Judicial Dist., New York
Kirkus Reviews
The sitting Justices and various experts discuss the Supreme Court and its work. For a documentary originally intended to focus on the gleaming marble temple designed by Cass Gilbert, the C-SPAN producers persuaded all the current Justices and the retired Sandra Day O'Connor and David Souter-Souter later declined to have his remarks printed here-to sit for interviews. The Court's unprecedented cooperation resulted in an invaluable piece of televised history about the least understood branch of the federal government, but for at least two reasons these transcripts make for a frustrating, occasionally tedious reading experience. First, the Justices are, of course, barred from discussing any of the past or present cases before them or what happens in their exclusive conference. Second, because they are so frequently asked the same questions about process-how cases come to the Court, how they're selected for review, how opinions are assigned, etc.-the responses are necessarily identical. Moreover, they give strikingly similar answers to questions about life on the bench. They all revere the Court's traditions-the robes, the handshake before oral argument and the group lunches that follow, the quill pens given to attorneys who argue before them-treasure the collegiality of their peers, admire the professionalism of the Supreme Court Bar, appreciate the assistance of their clerks and fully recognize the steep learning curve imposed on any new appointee. Occasionally, as with the garrulous Stephen Breyer or the guileless Sonia Sotomayor, some genuine personality breaks through. More satisfying are the discussions with Court specialists, including veteran court reporter Lyle Denniston, historian James B. O'Hara and especially appellate attorney and former law clerk Maureen Mahoney. A helpful appendix provides short biographies of the Justices, a listing of all previous Court members and the answers to a poll revealing only dim public understanding of the Court. Other, similar C-SPAN projects-e.g., Lamb and Swain, Abraham Lincoln: Great American Historians on Our Sixteenth President, 2008-have translated into more pleasurable and edifying reading, but these dismal poll results reinforce the need for this elemental civics lesson. A unique historical snapshot of most interest to those just learning about the nation's highest court.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586488833
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 5/4/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • File size: 8 MB

Meet the Author


Brian Lamb is C-SPAN's founding CEO and chairman and longtime on-camera interviewer. Lamb lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Susan Swain is President & co-Chief Operating Officer of C-SPAN. For more than twenty-five years, she has been an on-air interviewer for the program. A regular moderator of Washington Journal, she's interviewed hundreds of members of Congress, policy experts, journalists and several presidents. She lives in Northern Virginia.

Mark Farkas has been involved in C-SPAN feature productions for a quarter-century. In addition to his projects on the U.S. Capitol and the White House, Farkas was executive producer for C-SPAN's 1999-2000 Peabody Award winning series "American Presidents: Life Portraits;" the 1998 "Alexis deTocqueville Tour," and 1994's "Lincoln-Douglas Debates."


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