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The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States [Hardcover]

by Kermit L. Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 19, 2005 0195176618 978-0195176612 2
The Supreme Court has continued to write constitutional history over the thirteen years since publication of the highly acclaimed first edition of The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court. Two new justices have joined the high court, more than 800 cases have been decided, and a good deal of new scholarship has appeared on many of the topics treated in the Companion. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist presided over the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, and the Court as a whole played a decisive and controversial role in the outcome of the 2000 presidential election. Under Rehnquists's leadership, a bare majority of the justices have rewritten significant areas of the law dealing with federalism, sovereign immunity, and the commerce power.

This new edition includes new entries on key cases and fully updated treatment of crucial areas of constitutional law, such as abortion, freedom of religion, school desegregation, freedom of speech, voting rights, military tribunals, and the rights of the accused. These developments make the second edition of this accessible and authoritative guide essential for judges, lawyers, academics, journalists, and anyone interested in the impact of the Court's decisions on American society.

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Oxford has published a second edition of this accessible and authoritative reference to Supreme Court cases, justices, legal issues, and terminology. With 86 new articles that include biographies of Clinton appointees Ginsberg and Breyer and commentaries on Boy Scouts v. Dale, Bush v. Gore, McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, and other important cases, Oxford has brought the companion into the twenty-first century. The extra 200 pages make the book a little difficult to pull from a high shelf, but librarians and readers will find it worth the effort. New essays on the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Detainee cases, and Hate speech remind us of the continuing influence of the Supreme Court in U.S. politics and in the everyday lives of its citizens. Almost 100 articles have been revised and updated, including entries on current justices, Abortion, Impeachment, Religion, and the Second Amendment.

The features that made the first edition so convenient and easy for the layperson to use remain. Each case entry includes a U.S. Reports citation, date argued, date decided, and authors of majority, concurring, and dissenting opinions. Longer entries have brief bibliographies made up predominantly of citations to books and law review articles. See and see also references are abundant but not overwhelming.

There are several appendixes, including a useful chart of Supreme Court justices and their years of service, a chronology of the justices' succession, and a list of "Trivia and Traditions of the Court." The volume concludes with case-name and topical indexes.

The companion will likely find its way to most of the 2,800-plus libraries that have the first edition. Its value as a quick reference source on the Supreme Court has not diminished with the passage of time. It still belongs in every library, high school and up. Jan Lewis
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"This obviously impressive and highly needed collection of over 1000 entries on the Supreme Court is sure to become the standard in the field....This fine volume is a must-have collection for any serious student of the court. Highly recommended."--Library Journal

Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States
  • Hardcover: 1272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 2 edition (May 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195176618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195176612
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.4 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A companion readers can't do without August 15, 2005
Since its initial publication in 1992, The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States has served as a valuable resource on the history of the Court. With articles on the justices, their key decisions, legal philosophies, and even aspects of Court life, the Companion has been an indispensable addition for anyone interested in American law or the history of the Court.

With the passage of time, though, the need for an update taking into account subsequent cases and topics has only grown. This need has now been met with the second edition, which includes new articles on a variety of topics, and revision of many of the earlier ones. While a few mistakes were missed (the entry on Supreme Court clerks, for example, was not updated to include Stephen Breyer among the names of the justices who previously served as clerks) and while the bibliographies at the end of each article have only been indifferently updated (while the entry on William O. Douglas includes Bruce Allen Murphy's recent biography, the one on Benjamin Cardozo includes neither of the important books written about him over the past decade), the overall result is a work of continuing utility for readers and scholars alike.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy companion September 29, 2005
As the nation prepares to welcome the seventeenth Chief Justice, this book is a wonderful guide to the processes of the least 'media-exposed' branch of the federal government and its highest institution, the Supreme Court.

This book has many handy features for researchers and general enthusiasts. There are brief biographies - personal, professional and judicial - of each of the Chief Justices and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court (there have been 108 in all, with 113 appointments, as 5 Associate Justices have later been appointed as Chief Justice) together with pictures of each. There are synopses of over 400 of the most pivotal cases in the history of the Supreme Court (Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, even Bush v. Gore from the year 2000) - each of these cases is presented with voting record (who wrote the opinion, who concurred, who dissented, and who wrote additional opinions) as well as the pertinent issues in the cases and the implications of the decisions.

This is a very comprehensive guide. There are essays on key issues that are very thorough - for example, the essay on 'Federalism' is an eleven page entry that includes general political principles as well as court work. There are essays on each Article of the Constitution as well as each of the Amendments. One of the longest entries is the essay on 'History of the Court', subdivided into major chronological sections - this is one of the best, brief encapsulations of the history of the high court and how it is has made an impacted (and in turn been influenced by) society that I have read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Massive tome on the Supreme Court. October 7, 2005
By zonaras
_The Oxford Companion to the United States Supreme Court of the United States_ (Kermit Hall, ed.) is a massive tome containing a vast swath of information: cases, traditions, theories of constitutional interpretations, historical events, and biographies of all of the Supreme Court Justices. It has the same material (word for word) as Kermit Hall's _The Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions_ but this is much more worthwhile reference work because it contains more contextual material than the cases themselves. This book is by no means exhaustive, but it provides a very informative overview of what the Supreme Court has been up to for the past two hundred years and the very different personalities serving on the body.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This volume was published in 1991 and has since been re-edited to inform readers of more current opinions and changes. The Chief Editor Kermit Hall and Associate Editors James W. Ely, Jr., Joel B. Grossman, and Wimmiam M. Wiecek did a good job of organizing the materials and essays in this book.

The cases and events re the history of the U.S. Supreme Court are arranged alphabetically. The editors did a good job of organizing the cases and giving the historical/legal background of each case. One current complaint re the U.S. Supreme Court Justices is that they have been too active. The editors were clear that the members of the U.S. Supreme Court were just as active if not more so in early U.S. National History. The first well known case titled MARBURY VS. MADISON (1803)was historically interesting. John Marshall and his Associate Justices knew they did not have the "clout" to uphold the "Midnight" Appointments" made by John Adams (1735-1826)who was the U.S. President from 1797-1801. When these appointments were refused by President Jefferson, the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. What the Surpreme Court Justices did was declare that part of the Judiciary Act of 1789 under which the Midnight Appointments were made was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court Justices removed themselves from a weak position and set a legal precedent for Judicial Review which was part of the English Constitutional system for centuries.

The editors included cases that were heard during the 1820s upholding the Contracts Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 10, Paragraph 1). This decision involved Dartmouth College and was decided in 1819. These cases which were decided in early National U.S.History set the precedent and example for cases decided in Post Bellum U.S. History.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for reference, pleasure, and school.
I bought this book for my college Con Law class to get started over the summer. Though it would be ideal that every case would be in alphabetical order, it also has themes and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Wheeler
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!!
this is an awesome buy and everyone should get it. This is a must buy! Very good quality and everyone should get it
Published on March 4, 2012 by BookloverADL
5.0 out of 5 stars A good look at a standing institution
For a good look at the Supreme Court, its beginnings, its members from the start, and an alpahbetical array of all of its decisions from day one, besides a dictionary-like... Read more
Published on November 9, 2011 by Larry Woiwode
5.0 out of 5 stars (2d Edition) Excellent reference for lawyers and lay readers
I occasionally get into arguments with other lawyers and people who are interested in legal matters, including particularly hotly contested matters like the right to privacy, the... Read more
Published on June 24, 2009 by Allan Brain
5.0 out of 5 stars The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States
I bought this as a reference work, but I have found that it is a good read, also. Discussions of cases go into the details of what the issues of each case were, what the decision... Read more
Published on August 1, 2007 by Paul A. Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent reference
It is difficult to say whether the contentious atmosphere that currently exists regarding the legal opinions of the Supreme Court is greater than any other time in the history of... Read more
Published on June 2, 2006 by Dr. Lee D. Carlson
5.0 out of 5 stars Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States
This volume is equally as good as the first edition only it's been brought up to date. Unfortunately the Supreme Court is not static and decisions keep appearing which will... Read more
Published on May 24, 2005 by J. Lindner
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