The Supreme Court and the Development of Law: Through the Prism of Prisoners' Rights

The Supreme Court and the Development of Law: Through the Prism of Prisoners' Rights

by Christopher E. Smith

Hardcover(1st ed. 2016)

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This book illuminates the decision-making processes of the US Supreme court through an examination of several prisoners' rights cases. In 1964, the Supreme Court declined to hear prisoners’ claims about religious freedom. In 2014, the Supreme Court heard a case that led to the justices’ unanimous endorsement of a Muslim prisoner’s religious right to grow a beard despite objections from prison officials. In the fifty-year span between those two events, the Supreme Court developed the law concerning rights for imprisoned offenders. As demonstrated in this book, the factors that shape Supreme Court decision making are well-illustrated by prisoners’ rights cases. This area of law illuminates competing approaches to constitutional interpretation, behind-the-scenes interactions among the justices, and the manipulation of legal precedents. External actors also affect the Supreme Court and its decisions when the president appoints new justices and Congress targets the judiciary with legislative enactments. Because of the controversial nature of prisoners’ rights issues, these cases serve to illuminate the full array of influences over Supreme Court decision making.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781137567628
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan US
Publication date: 08/26/2016
Edition description: 1st ed. 2016
Pages: 227
Product dimensions: 5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x (d)

About the Author

Christopher E. Smith is Professor of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University, USA. He is the author of more than 20 books, including Constitutional Rights: Myths & Realities, Law and Contemporary Corrections, Courts and the Poor, and John Paul Stevens: Defender of Rights in Criminal Justice.

Table of Contents

1 Shaping Constitutional Law: The Example of Prisoners’ Rights

2 Pioneering Litigation: Black Muslims as an Assertive Political Minority

3 The Expansion and Contraction of Rights: Through the Eyes of Justice Marshall

4 A Protective Constitutional Vision: Justice Stevens and the Principles of Liberty

5 A Rejectionist Constitutional Vision: Justice Thomas and Originalist Arguments

6 The Pragmatic Middle and Its Consequences: The Influence of Justice O’Connor

7 Strategic Interaction: Persuasion and Accommodation in Opinion Writing

8 Redefinition of Precedent: The Influence of Justice Scalia

9 Reaction and Retrenchment

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Smith, the preeminent scholar on correctional law in criminal justice, has produced a fascinating overview and analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision-making process and the development of constitutional law, using prisoners’ rights litigation to frame his analysis. This is a significant contribution to the literature on constitutional law and the Eighth Amendment.” (Craig Hemmens, Professor and Chair, Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Washington State University, USA)

“A fascinating look into how presidential appointment and shifting alliances on the Supreme Court shape the degree to which legal protections are both extended and restricted within prison settings. Smith deftly navigates both the legal literature and the behind the scenes machinations of Court actors to provide an interesting and compelling look at how the fight over prisoners’ rights is oftentimes far removed from the reality of prison life itself.” (John D. Burrow, Assistant Professor, The College of Criminal Justice, University of South Carolina, USA)

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