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A Book of Legal Lists: The Best and Worst in American Law, with 150 Court and Judge Trivia Questions

4 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195125023
ISBN-10: 0195125029
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A Book of Legal Lists makes no pretense of being "the" book on the subject. It is not the work of a committee but the personal selections of University of Tulsa law professor and constitutional law scholar Schwartz. Schwartz presents a point/counterpoint of the ten best and ten worst?the best and worst Supreme Court justices, non-Supreme Court judges, opinions, dissents, opinions, etc.?in all categories but lawyers, legal movies, and trials, where only the best are cited. The lists themselves are interesting and thought-provoking, but the real strength of the book lies in short annotations that present readable, concise, and authoritative background for each item. The book is capped off with a challenging list of 150 legal trivia questions. McWhirter's The Legal 100 is at once more limited and broader in scope. It focuses exclusively on people, listing "individuals who have most influenced the law" whom the author has chosen on the basis of questionnaires submitted by law professors. As one would expect, many of the same names appear in both compilations. The Legal 100 gives itself the latitude to include more people, and the reader will find more extensive listings of lawyers, law teachers, and legal philosophers. Each entry comes with a short biography and an assessment of the listee's contribution to the law. Both books are highly recommended as ready reference for all libraries.?Patrick Petit, Catholic Univ. Law Lib., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

A mildly diverting collection of legal ``top tens,'' by law professor Schwartz (Univ. of Tulsa; Decision: How the Supreme Court Decides Cases, 1996, etc.) Obsessive legal buffs and punchy insomniac law students may enjoy quibbling with Schwartz's choices for such honors as Ten Greatest Supreme Court Justices, Ten Worst Non-Supreme Court Decisions, Ten Greatest Dissenting Opinions, Ten Greatest Lawyers, and Ten Greatest Trials. (O.J.'s checks in at Number 10 on the Great Trials list, but none of the Dream Team gets tapped for the Lawyers list.) The 13 lists are followed by brief essays justifying each inclusion; occasionally, the author appends a list of honorable mentions. For example, Roe v. Wade and Miranda v. Arizona don't make the list of Ten Greatest Supreme Court Decisions on the questionable ground that they lacked the requisite ``influence on the law''; Benjamin Cardozo and Felix Frankfurter don't make Ten Greatest Supreme Court Justices on the ground that their most significant contributions predated their appointments to the High Court. Unfortunately, Schwartz doesn't grasp the sport of such a collection: He doesn't explain his rankings. Why, on the list of Supreme Court Greats, does Brennan outrank Brandeis? On the list of Worsts, why does Pierce Butler outrank Sherman Minton, ``best remembered as the last to use the spittoon''? The mini-essays are accessible enough for the general reader, but too reductive and too bland for the intended law wonks. One hundred and fifty legal trivia questions follow, many duplicating the content of the essays. Like the lists, they are too straight for their own good. (Quick: Which justice served as a bank president? Which chief justices served as ambassadors while on the Court?) A missed opportunity to play games with J.D.s. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (February 25, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195125029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195125023
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,250,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

BERNARD L. SCHWARTZ is an investor, a retired industrialist, a progressive public policy advocate, and a philanthropist. For thirty-four years he served as chairman and CEO of Loral Corporation and its successor company, Loral Space & Communications. Loral, a Fortune 200 defense electronics firm, achieved revenues of nearly $7.5 billion and employed 38,000 people at its height. Mr. Schwartz also formed and served as CEO of K & F Industries and Globalstar Telecommunications. He is currently chairman and CEO of BLS Investments, LLC, a private investment firm, and he also manages the investments of the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Foundation, which invests in think tanks, universities, and advocacy organizations, specifically targeting programs that develop policies focusing on US economic growth and job-creation initiatives. It also supports institutes of higher education, medical research, and New York City-based cultural organizations. Mr. Schwartz and his wife are lifelong Democrats and active supporters of the Democratic Party.They were born in Brooklyn and have resided in New York City all their lives. Visit him at www.bernardlschwartz.com. A March 20th videotaped conversation between Charlie Rose and Mr. Schwartz may be viewed here (https://vimeo.com/89884335). An interview with the author by Bill Baker, president emeritus of WNET, New York's public television station, is available for viewing here (https://vimeo.com/88217984).

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Bernard Schwartz is a renowned constitutional scholar at the University of Tulsa. Mostly, he is known for his research on the Supreme Court, and he has produced a nice history of the Court.
This volume is a bit more lighthearted than the usual sort of fare that law professors put out. Basically, Schwartz has identified what in his view are the ten best Supreme Court decisions, the ten worst Supreme Court decisions, the ten best Supreme Court Justices, the ten worst Supreme Court Justices, and so on. For each entry, he has a short description of that case/justice/etc., along with explanations of why it/he made the list.
The cases will be familiar to any law student, and many of the cases will be familiar to non-lawyers -- i.e., Brown v. Board of Education, Dred Scott, and so on.
At a certain level, however, non-lawyers may find that much of the book is too arcane; Justice Cardozo, for example, is well-known to non-lawyers as having authored the definitive opinion in a bizarre case known as Palsgraf, but to non-lawyers, the reference will be missed.
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Format: Paperback
This book is very well done, and its listings seem reasonable and informative. The reason I do not give it five stars is because it has no footnotes and no bibliography. For instance, on page 188 Schwartz refers to "Shaw's leading biographer" but does not name him nor the title or date of the biography. How simple to have put a footnote on the page, but there is none. But aside from this failing, this is a fun book to read and enjoy.
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By Alexis on November 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am already enjoying this fun book. I'm a first year law student and it is nice to have something light and comprehensive as a sort of cultural introduction to law.
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Format: Paperback
Must confess to having purchased and read only the original book published in 1997, the year I departed from the legal profession. What struck me was not the best judicial opinions but the ones the author found to be worst. Among them, Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice Steven Levinson's opinion in Baehr v. Lewin. Baehr is a most disgusting example of judicial legislation, an unabashed attempt by a liberal judge to force Hawaii to shoulder the financial cost of the justice's "pet" issue, "gay" rights. The author succinctly describes how the justice abandoned judicial reasoning in the vain attempt to engage in social engineering by misusing the power of the judiciary. Those in the legal profession, including Ronald Moon, the Chief Justice at the time, ought not wonder why laity has such a low estimate of jurists.
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