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Nine Scorpions in a Bottle: The Great Judges and Cases of the Supreme Court Hardcover – July 15, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

To paraphrase the great humorist Finley Peter Dunne, the Constitution follows the flag and the Supreme Court follows the election returns. Journalist and scholar Max Lerner, on the other hand, followed the Supreme Court for more than 60 years. Lerner analyzes the great minds and judicial decisions that have, over the course of his entire career, done so much to shape America's national character. Portraits of John Marshall, Louis Brandeis, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Earl Warren, Felix Frankfurter, Robert Jackson, and William O. Douglas belie Dunne's comic remark. These fiercely independent thinkers followed no election returns but used their intellect and vision to preserve the American Constitution. Lerner's essays on the Court's moments of both majesty and shame are dedicated "to the newest generation of constitutional students." Among the subjects are "The Supreme Court and American Capitalism," "Watergate as Constitutional Crisis," and "The Bork Wars as Confirmation Crisis." Nonpartisan and clear-eyed, Lerner's discussions of the justices and their most important cases will enrich anyone's understanding of American culture and law. --Nancy Starr --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Author and columnist, Lerner (1902-1992) gained a reputation as a thoughtful commentator on the Supreme Court in the 1930s and continued such work to his death. This notable volume collects a range of his essays, augmented by his reflective introductions. In the 1930s, Lerner criticized the conservative court majority for invalidating liberal state and New Deal legislation; he also defended FDR's controversial attempt to "pack," or reorganize, the court. In extensive essays he analyzes the greatness of judges John Marshall, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis Brandeis, Hugo Black and Robert Jackson. He concludes with observations on the four most recent "Courts"--from Chief Justice Vinson's to Rehnquist's. Though Lerner sympathized with the early efforts of the Warren Court, he became critical of its activist decisions in affirmative action and criminal cases. Lerner describes his court-watching style as "contextual, organismic, integrative, even mythic." His insights have not grown stale. Cummings teaches at Pace University School of Law.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 331 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing; 1st edition (July 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559701684
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559701686
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #975,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By matt fitton on May 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I did not expect to enjoy this book - to be honest I didn't even want to read it. Now it is by my bedside more often than I like; it has enlightened me, invigorated my interest in government and law, and proven indispensable to my development as a person and as a thinking human being. I wholeheartedly commend it to you if you are investigating social issues from capital punishment to womens' rights to freedom of speech - he will not tell you what to think, or how others think, but he will improve your understanding of thought process and the importance of individuals' intellectual journeys to their resulting policies and legal decisions.

I have to admit that it has changed my life; also lowered for good my perception of the quality of my own work. He is a brilliant writer and commentator. After reading it you will probably pick up a a newspaper and feel profoundly disappointed that such quality of journalism is no more.
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