Understanding Supreme Court Opinions / Edition 6

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Going beyond the standard interpretation of Supreme Court opinions, this practical text delves into the legal reasoning behind the written opinions - the modes of persuasion and justification used by Supreme Court justices - to give readers a deeper understanding of how to read and interpret the decisions of our highest court.

An indispensable supplement to any constitutional law casebook, the sixth edition has been thoroughly updated, incorporating new material throughout the book on recent opinions issued by the Supreme Court. It also includes a new Chapter 9, which discusses in greater depth the briefing of a case - Seattle School District No. 1 - and its analysis.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205621613
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 3/14/2008
  • Series: MySearchLab Series 15% Off Ser.
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 771,117
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.97 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Tyll can Geel joined the University faculty in 1972 and later was named the Earl B. Taylor Professor and chair of Educational Leadership. He was named an Emeritus Professor in 2007. His research includes legal and applied issues in education.

Van Geel is the co-author of Educational Law: An Introduction for Administrators and Policy Makers, a popular textbook used in the preparation of educational leaders and a very accessible resource for the modern educational administrator. He also authored Understanding Supreme Court Opinions and numerous articles and chapters in publications for the academic and legal communities, as well as for professional educators. He is currently working on a book on democracy and education.

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Table of Contents



About the Author

Part 1

Chapter 1 The Supreme Court: Policy Maker and Teacher
Constitutional Conflicts
An Overview of the Constitution
Getting the Supreme Court to Play Its Role
Basic Features of a Supreme Court Opinion
Practice Pointers

Chapter 2 The Constitution in a Nutshell
The Court as Supervisor of the Boundaries of Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Authority (The First Feature)
The Court as Umpire of Federal-State Relations (The Second Feature)
The Court as Supervisor of Government’s Relationship to the Individual (The Third Feature)
The Court as Enforcer of Government Evenhandedness: Equal Protection (The Fourth Feature)
The Court as Supervisor of Government’s Relationship with Religion (The Fifth Feature)
Constitutionality of Federal and State Law: An Addendum
Practice Pointers

Chapter 3 Opinion Writing in the Supreme Court
Writing a Supreme Court Opinion: The General Problem
Constraints and Expectations
Practice Pointers

Part 2

Chapter 4 The Legal Materials Used in Building a Constitutional Opinion
Constitutional Interpretation (Or Not)?
Liberalism and Conservatism
Judicial Activism and Deference
The Opinions of Chief Justice Marshall: An Addendum
Practice Pointers

Chapter 5 Tests or Standards of Review
Tests in General
Selected Examples of Tests
Tests and the Illusion of Certainty
Practice Pointers

Chapter 6 Precedent
A Terminological Interlude
The English Doctrine of Precedent
The Theory of the Doctrine of Precedent
The Doctrine of Precedent (Stare Decisis) in the Supreme Court
Expanding and Narrowing Precedent
Working with Conflicting Lines of Precedent
The Effects of Narrow and Broad Readings of Precedent: An Addendum
Practice Pointers

Chapter 7 Strategies of Justification
The Syllogism and Deductive Reasoning
Deduction and The Analogy
Deduction and Balancing
Judicial Disagreements
A Closer Look at Deduction (Optional): An Addendum
Practice Pointers

Part 3

Chapter 8 Understanding a Supreme Court Opinion
The Facts
The Majority Opinion
Concurring and Dissenting Opinions
The Dynamics of Opinion Writing
Briefing Griswold
The Legal Significance of Griswold
Practice Pointers

Chapter 9 Analysis of a Supreme Court Opinion
The Brief of Seattle School District No. 1
Questions Directed to 'Explaining' the Case
Evaluative Judgement: The Legal Sufficient of the Decision
Political and Policy Implications of the Decision
Practice Pointers

Table of Cases


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