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The Rehnquist Court and the Constitution Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (March 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195103467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195103465
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,024,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is one of the most thorough and incisive guides to date on the thinking and deliberative process of the Supreme Court under Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Yarbrough (The First Justice Harlan), a professor of political science at East Carolina University, characterizes the Rehnquist court's record on civil liberties as decidedly mixed. Although he credits what he calls the "legal pragmatists" (such as Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg) with partially derailing the Reagan/Bush conservative repudiation of the Warren era's human rights legacy, he notes that the Court has expanded opportunities for warrantless police searches and extended broad deference to the government in death penalty cases. On issues such as assisted suicide, gay rights and abortion, Yarbrough labels the Rehnquist court arbitrary. This casebook (which is too detailed for most general readers) examines a diversity of controversial cases, ranging from racial gerrymandering to pornography, displays of religious symbols on public property, libel of public figures, disposal of radioactive wastes and possession of firearms in school zones. Citing numerous recent cases signaling what he views as a rebirth of the Supreme Court's special solicitude for propertied and commercial interests, the author suggests that a full tilt in this direction may await only the election of a Republican president. The generally conservative drift of the Rehnquist court's decisions, he argues, raises serious questions about its continued commitment to the principle of equal justice for all. Yarbrough's withering, erudite critique is recommended reading for Supreme Court watchers. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The Supreme Court may be an issue in the presidential election: seven of the justices were named by Republicans; just two (Ginsburg and Breyer) by a Democrat. Since the next president may nominate several, this analysis of the Rehnquist court is timely. Chief Justice Rehnquist has served nearly 30 years; he was named Chief Justice in 1986. Yarbrough offers brief biographies of sitting justices (including descriptions of the Senate's responses to their nominations) and then outlines how the Supreme Court operates. But the heart of the book is his study of the Rehnquist court's decisions in important areas: governmental power; the "double standard" (the '30s reversal of laissez faire jurisprudence, scrutinizing regulation of noneconomic matters more closely than economic regulation); unenumerated rights; freedom of religion, expression, and association; criminal justice; and equal protection. Among the shifts Yarbrough notes are "expanded state immunity," movement toward "rejection or substantial modification of the constitutional double standard," and an "arguably unprecedented use . . . [of the] takings clause" in a regulatory context. Mary Carroll

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By William on June 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Rehnquist Court and the Constitution is not light reading, but for those who are interested in the high court, it is good reading. Yarbrough provides a concise examination of each Justice, including his or her background, confirmation hearing, and the political climate of that hearing. He captures the essence of each Justice as both jurist and human being. He then allows the reader to infer the interaction of those philosophies, personalities and egos on the direction that he perceives for significant constitutional issues. He does this without much, if any, editorial comment, though at times his own constitutional philosophy appears to peek out just a bit. Although this book is a bit heavy for anyone other than a constitutional scholar, it is well worth reading. Any student, teacher, judge, lawyer or just plain "court watcher" will appreciate this glimpse into the most secret and perhaps most powerful branch of our government.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Steve on October 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Yarbrough has a fine reputation as a leading judicial biographer: his previous works on Hugo Black, and the two Justices Harlan were impressive, detailed and interesting. With "The Rehnquist Court" he pumps out a minor achievement and a heavily slanted analysis of recent Constitutional decisions. There's no denying the hostility toward conservative/strict-constructionist judges and viewpoints and this, as a previous poster noted, deeply taints the work overall. In addition, Yarbrough's style (which has always tended to the dry and tedious) is here especially mind-numbing: the interesting constitutional issues under debate are hidden amongst irrelevant facts and long-winded prose. As a whole, I found the book very disappointing and the steep price tag wholly unwarranted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Price on May 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In this work Tinsley Yarbrough seeks to summarize the work of the Rehnquist Court (up until 2000) concerning the seven dominate issues of constitutional adjudication. Yarbrough examines subjects such as governmental power, freedom of expression and religion, criminal justice, and unenumerated rights. Begining with a description of the appointments of the justices who conservatives hoped would finally kill the last remnants of the liberal Warren Court era, Yarbrough examines each of the most important issues and concludes that the Rehnquist Court has failed, at least generally, to achieve this hope. Instead, it has walked something of a more moderate role, sometimes limiting precedent but often reaffirming the core principles of the liberal activism of old.
The work is good but it should not be your first introduction to the Supreme Court. It is densely packed with information and is probably best for a reference work to use when you reach a new area of coursework. My biggest problem with Yarbrough's work here is that it is great at synthesizing the many cases of the Rehnquist era but it is light on meaningful analysis and criticism of those cases. Description only goes so far and I think the book would have benefited from a stronger analytical view of the 14 years (then) of the Rehnquist Court.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Rudel on September 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In terms of informational content and comprehensiveness, this text is quite good. Yarbrough cites many sources and gives the essence of most of the opinions on the cases he covers. That is to say that a given case may have three or four opinions, as justices can agree on the same verdict for different reasons, and Yarbrough does a fine job of explaining each on most of the decisions covered. My huge qualm with the work is the simple fact that Yarbrough commits one of the biggest sins possible in scholarly work: he sharply biases his work without seeming to. His language is subtly biased, and an unwary reader could easily be manipulated.
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0 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
i think if you go through this book you would realise justice is not blind but very racialy prejudiced i would prefer straight shooter brilliant jusice scalia,excellent book
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