The Vinson Court: Justices, Rulings, and Legacy

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The Vinson Court summons students and legal professionals to understand the impact and tensions of Fred Vinson's term as Chief Justice from 1946–1953. Court scholar Michal R. Belknap explores McCarthyism, the Cold War, racial segregation, and capital punishment from the Supreme Court's view. These controversies shaped the most important decision on presidential powers, restrictions on political expression, and a nasty conflict over the Rosenbergs.

Significant rulings are reviewed, and the 12 justices on the Vinson Court including Felix Frankfurter and Hugo Black are introduced. Clashes were common between some of the Supreme Court's strongest personalities, and these are highlighted throughout the text. The court's legacy completes this powerful study of constitutional law.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book is obviously of benefit to any who study or teach the court system and Supreme Court decision-making. This is a well written book that manages the often difficult task of explaining not only the philosophies of the justices but also the sentiment of the times."


The Law and Politics Book Review

"It is highly recommended to any high school, academic, and public libraries."


American Reference Books Annual

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576072011
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/29/2004
  • Series: ABC-CLIO Supreme Court Handbooks Series
  • Pages: 306
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Justices, rulings, and legacy 1
1 The Vinson court and the period 3
Truman succeeds Roosevelt 4
Ending the war 5
The United Nations 6
Reconversion 7
The Cold War begins 8
The fair deal and the 80th Congress 9
The 1948 election 14
Foreign policy, the Truman doctrine, and the Marshall plan 16
The Korean war 19
The communist issues 20
The Steel Seizure Case 23
The 1952 election 24
Assembling the Vinson court 25
2 The justices 35
Frederick Moore Vinson 36
Hugo Lafayette Black 44
Stanley Forman Reed 49
Felix Frankfurter 53
William Orville Douglas 60
Frank Murphy 66
Robert Houghwout Jackson 69
Wiley Blount Rutledge 73
Harold Hitz Burton 77
Tom Campbell Clark 80
Sherman Minton 83
3 Major decisions 89
Aftermath of World War II 90
Presidential power 93
The Rosenberg case 98
Loyalty of government employees 102
The communist issue and free speech 105
Local government restrictions on speech 111
Group libel 115
The first amendment and picketing 116
The Vinson court and labor rights 118
Incorporation 127
Free exercise of religion 128
Establishment of religion 130
Adamson v. California and the incorporation debate 136
Due process rights 140
The fourth amendment 142
Equal protection cases 148
4 Legacy and impact 161
The transformation of the court 162
Equal protection 164
Freedom of speech 166
Internal security 170
Freedom of religion 172
Incorporation 175
Rights of the accused 176
The fourth amendment : search warrants 178
The fourth amendment : wiretapping 179
The exclusionary rule 180
The sixth amendment : the right to counsel 181
The fifth amendment : the privilege against self-incrimination 182
Criminal procedure in the Burger and Rehnquist courts 185
Apportionment 186
The Steel Seizure Case 191
Pt. 2 Reference materials 195
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