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Supreme Court: How It Was, How It Is

Supreme Court: How It Was, How It Is

4.1 8
by William H. Rehnquist, MORW (Other)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As the Chief Justice notes, this is not a treatise on constitutional law. Rather, it is a genial, reader-friendly account of the least understood of the three branches of government. Rehnquist begins with a recollection of his service as a clerk for Justice Robert H. Jackson, follows with a succinct and highly readable history of the Court from the time of John Marshall to the mid-20th century and closes with a detailed explanation of how the present Court goes about its business. Among the cases highlighted are Marbury v. Madison, which established the authority of the federal courts to declare a law passed by Congress unconstitutional and therefore void; the pro-slavery Dred Scott decision; and the 1952 Steel Seizure case, one of the most important confrontations between the executive and judicial branches. The relationship between all three branches of government is brought into sharp focus in a section on FDR's court-packing attempt in 1937. (September 14)
Library Journal
Of the many solid works published recently about the U.S. Supreme Court, this one is special if only for its author's preeminent position as Chief Justice. The book, however, possesses other virtues, notably Rehnquist's ability to explain the inner workings of the Court in a manner equally informative to those trained in the law and those without such training. Rehnquist carefully avoids current legal controversies, ending his analysis with the Vinson Court (1946-53). But clues to the essential Rehnquist are not hard to find. For example, on Dred Scott he observes that simply because a law is perceived to be unfair ``ought not to be itself a ground for declaring an act of Congress void.'' A priority purchase for most public and academic libraries. Kenneth F. Kister, Pinellas Prk P.L., Fla.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.07(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.93(d)

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Supreme Court 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As any good lawyer, Rehnquist understands history better than most and adds political insight to the most famous decisions over the years in the Supreme Court. He also tell us about the characters of the lead Justices. He is unuqiely qulaified to tell this story from his seat as Chief Justice on today's court and does really well to tell us non lawyers how it is and has been over the years. A good read for law school students and a nice second hand present for my lawyer buddies.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chief Justice Rehnquist's presentation of the Supreme Court can be best summed as thorough and comprehensive in content, yet simple and delightful to read. His extensive knowledge and experience as a Chief Justice makes this book a great read especially for those wanting to get a comprehensive overview of the Supreme Court, both past and present, in a relatively short amount of time. For about the first half of the book, Chief Justice Rehnquist recollects the history of the Supreme Court, mainly by analyzing the past Justices' lives, both personal and professional and the historic cases each were respectively involved in. The latter half of the book grants the reader a behind-the-scene access to see how the Supreme Court functions today (ie. how a case reaches the Supreme Court). Chief Justice Rehnquist, aside from his current role as a Justice for the Supreme Court, undoubtedly proves to be a knowledgeable historian and an astute scholar as well through his book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rehnquist takes a subject that could be extremely dry and makes an interesting read by interspersing history and personal recollections with witty commentary. He relates the history through major cases with context and background of the justices involved as well as giving an overview of practices of the court current during his tenure and the reasons for them.
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