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Supreme Myths: Why the Supreme Court Is Not a Court and Its Justices Are Not Judges Hardcover – February 22, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0313396878 ISBN-10: 0313396876

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 219 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (February 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313396876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313396878
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #646,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

• Presents a novel perspective on the way the Supreme Court decides constitutional cases

• Addresses complicated constitutional law issues such as abortion and affirmative action and demystifies for the lay reader how the Court has handled these and other controversial issues

• Explains why the U.S. Supreme Court acts much more like an ultimate veto council rather than a true court

• Persuasively argues that life tenure for Supreme Court Justices is a terrible mistake



"This book is well-written, and tells background stories about several cases that may be of interest to students and some professors. . . . Supreme MythS≪/i> may be a good book for undergraduates studying American government, judicial process, or constitutional law. Summing Up: Recommended."

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Choice

Review

"Supreme MythS≪/i> is a tough-minded examination of the Supreme Court's record in deciding constitutional cases. Segall argues that the Court falsely claims to be relying on traditional legal authority like text and precedent. Clearly written and uncompromising."

(

Robert F. Nagel, Rothgerber Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Colorado Law School. Author of Unrestrained: Judicial Excess and the Mind of the American Lawyer (Transaction, 2008)

)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ph03n1x on January 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Professor Eric Segall's book is an educating and eye-opening read to how our Court actually operates. It is apparent that Segall knows the material; he was able to repeatedly demonstrate how the Justices are not as judicial as they should be and provided good proposals as to how the Court could change for the better. I highly recommend this book to anyone (whether it is a gift for a lawyerly friend or for their own reading collection) who wants to know more about the Supreme Court, whether they are looking for a synopsis on any of the current controversial issues or for a compelling argument on why the decisions are so often 5-4 with the Justices almost always grouping together. Well done and well written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Terry Jennrich on February 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover
As an attorney, I loved reading this book, and I agree with his assessment of the problem and the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court does not act like a real court, but makes its decisions based upon the poltical values of its membership. However, to some extent, that has always been the case, and it is not necessarily bad, but looked at in pure theory of how a court ought to operate such conduct creates bad law which leads to scary precedents.
However, I disagree with the author's proposed solution to the problem. I do agree with his idea that we should put a limit on the length of time they justices serve on the Sup Ct ,but I would prefer we elect 5 of the 9 judges in 5 regions of the country for seven year terms with a 3 term limit on service and allow the supreme court to elect its own Chief judge. I also think we should call them judges not justices. And I think the supreme court judges should be required to observe the original intent of the framers when making decisions where possible[ if acertainable]. And the judges in election or Senate confrimation should be required to explain their personal values and political beliefs and indicate how they may vote on major issues of the day. THey should not be bound by their statements [they might change their mind upon further reflection when a case is before them], but to let them get away by dodging the policy issues that currently passes for a confirmation hearing is a farce and diminishes both the Senate's duty to advise and consent and the nominee's credibitlity as a potential justice or judge. Clearly not what the framers had in mind.
terry jennrich
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By Jan Cornelius on October 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author presents a readable, compelling case for his thesis that the Court is seriously flawed, and provides reasonable suggestions for fixing it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Author does very job of supporting main view that supreme court is really not operating like a court and that its' justices are really not acting like judges. Author uses example after example to explain why the above is true. I am now firmly convinced that the supreme court is just another special arm of our legislature that is politically, not publicly, motivated. The only criticism I have of this book is that it seems to be directed at the legal community (people practicing law or studying law) and not to a layman like me. Overall a good book that teaches a lot and makes its' point well.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Al Rodbell on October 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The author, Eric J. Segall, makes a clear case that the Supreme Court does not make its decisions based on The Constitution as refined by previous decisions. I'm tempted to reply in the famous words of Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

The very fact that court members regularly split decisions down party lines is enough evidence that something other than jurisprudence is going on. The subjective Supreme Court can be contrasted with the objective work of the National Academy of Science. When this institution does a major study of a controversial, and even more complex issue, such as climate change or forensic science, there is always close to unanimity in its findings.

The bulk of his book is exploring specific strands of jurisprudence such as segregation, abortion, guns and church-state, while providing a good review, focuses too much on the obvious, that each justice is more than a high level processor of constitutional law, but a human being with passions, prejudices, convictions and ideologies. His attempt to exclude Brown v. Board from his broad swath of condemnation of these realities falls flat, ignoring the arguments of this case based on sociological studies far removed from the words of the fourteenth amendment. It was the concerted moral values of "Judges legislating from the bench," in this case by a unanimous decision not reached by legalistic arguments, but the calls to fairness to redress historical oppression, orchestrated by a that unlikely liberal, Earl Warren, that can not be excluded from the author's theses simply because that decision has transformed the mentality of our entire country.
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