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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High production quality from PBS
This is the only large scale DVD documentary film series on the Court (currently). The analysts who provide commentary are some of the best in the nation: including professors, a journalist, a few lawyers, a previous Supreme Court Justice (Sandra Day O'Conner) and the current Chief Justice (John G. Roberts, Jr.), and law clerks who served previous Justices. As far as...
Published on February 8, 2007 by Shaun King.com

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3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Overview of the Supreme Court
Product was in good condition when I received it. The content was decent, but I would have liked more material than what was actually on the dvds.
Published 5 months ago by Jarell Dillman


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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High production quality from PBS, February 8, 2007
This review is from: The Supreme Court DVD Series (DVD)
This is the only large scale DVD documentary film series on the Court (currently). The analysts who provide commentary are some of the best in the nation: including professors, a journalist, a few lawyers, a previous Supreme Court Justice (Sandra Day O'Conner) and the current Chief Justice (John G. Roberts, Jr.), and law clerks who served previous Justices. As far as filmed documentaries on historical narratives, the production value of this PBS series is high: every picture and video archive was accessed and used adeptly. The one critique I have of this 4-part-4-hour series is that it is too short: there is virtually no coverage of the first part of the first amendment: religion & government. Instead, PBS offers a grand political drama which looks at economic shifts, cultural shifts, and political power plays with a focus on the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Nation Under Law
These episodes follow the development of the Supreme Court chronologically, so this episode is dedicated largely to Chief Justice John Marshall. Marbury v. Madison sets the precedent for judicial review and is a complicated case: this episode takes time to develop the background necessary to understand the essential features of the political and legal context. The summary of Marshall's ruling is decent. The next important case is McCulloch v. Maryland is Marshall's other important case that is covered here before moving on the Andrew Jackson's administration and Chief Justice Taney, arguably the worst Chief Justice in the history of the Court (e.g. Dred Scott v. Sanford).

A New Kind of Justice
This episode begins following Stephen Jay Field (nominated by Abraham Lincoln) who set a precedent for a free what one analyst called a "rootin tootin capitalism." The Court began to defer to states on many economic issues (in contrast to Marshall's decision in Fletcher v. Peck) and the doctrine of "liberty of contract" became central. These laissez-faire rulings by the court ran into the Great Depression, which lead to the tensions with Roosevelt's New Deal agenda. The episode ends with Oliver Holmes, Jr. as insightful and prophetic.

A Nation of Liberties
This episode follows Hugo Black who was once a KKK member but became, as a Justice, a defender of many features of the Civil Rights Movement (I liked this approach better than if PBS just followed Chief Justice Earl Warren). Brown v. Board of Education is the central case despite Alabama's defiant stance against the ruling. There is a visual and musical crescendo where the words of the ruling are read allowed along with the words "equal protection" that scroll across the tv screen in a transparent way with the famous picture of Nettie Hunt and her daughter Nickie sitting on the steps of the Supreme Court with a newspaper in hand that declares the ban on segregation. I fell in love with this PBS series at that moment. The cases of Gideon v. Wainwright and Miranda v. Arizona set the stage for the Nixon agenda and the Rehnquist Revolution.

The Rehnquist Revolution
This episode follows the development of the "culture war" surrounding the abortion (e.g. Roe v. Wade) debate along with the rise of Rehnquist through Nixon. Nixon wanted to be tough on crime and he thought that the Miranda case was a burden on local law enforcement; would Rehnquist eventually overrule it? No he didn't (Dickerson v. United States). Sandra Day O'Conner is interviewed in this episode and she reiterates here defense of upholding the precedent in the Roe case along with the striking of trimester periods in her opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The analysts on this episode argue that the "Rehnquist Revolution" begins in 1994 with the United States v. Lopez case where the commerce powers of the federal congress were restricted in favor of states rights in creating laws about gun regulations near schools. Current Chief Justice, John G. Roberts, Jr. is interviewed to comment on recent court history. He says provocatively, "I'd be surprised if Justice Rehnquist's view on a number of areas didn't change as he moved from an associate justice to being the Chief Justice..." The last court case discussed is Bush v. Gore and the analysts presented it with ironic implications considering Rehnquist's history of deference to the states. This 4 part series ends with Chief Justice Roberts giving us a vague, but hopeful appreciation for both the Court and the Rule of Law.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great video, not for classroom., January 16, 2011
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This review is from: The Supreme Court DVD Series (DVD)
I purchased this set for the purpose of supplementing my curriculum in American Government. Once I got it home and watched it, I realized that it wasn't really what I was looking for. The set shows a very interesting history of the court and of certain justices. It shows how certain courts were more liberal and how other courts were more conservative. I guess I was hoping the set would go over landmark cases a little more, rather than say how each justice felt about certain cases. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it interesting, although, I don't think I will show it in my class.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring set of legal history, April 14, 2007
This review is from: The Supreme Court DVD Series (DVD)
The primary holdings of some justices are emphasized: Marshall, Jackson, Frankfurther, Black, O'Connor and Rehnquist, and some others. The history and social backgroundm, and the interplay among Congress, President and Supreme Court help viewers to develop a general view of the reasoning behind their holdings.

For law students, this is a great set in the sense that you don't need to try hard to memorize why Marshall preferred a strong national government or why Black is a strict originalist. After understanding their political view under the historical background, the answers are obvious.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific historical perspective., February 10, 2011
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This review is from: The Supreme Court DVD Series (DVD)
What a great cd set for anyone interested in the evolution of the supreme court. It clearly illustrates the challenges facing the early court and delves very nicely and interestingly into the personalities of the men and women who have made up the court since it's beginning. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Supreme Court, February 2, 2011
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This review is from: The Supreme Court DVD Series (DVD)
I thoroughly enjoyed this series. It does a wonderful job of explaining some of the motives of the court in our history that influenced decisions in landmark Supreme Court cases. Great addition for any government teacher.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Overview of the Supreme Court, April 21, 2014
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This review is from: The Supreme Court DVD Series (DVD)
Product was in good condition when I received it. The content was decent, but I would have liked more material than what was actually on the dvds.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must for your collection, September 12, 2013
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This review is from: The Supreme Court DVD Series (DVD)
This is a very good series for any legal education course. Its current as well. PBS, of course, does a better job with the first 2 DVD's rather than the 4 because it was less political.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Graduate Student adds teaching material to his video library., February 18, 2013
By 
walter boston (brock[port, new york USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Supreme Court DVD Series (DVD)
This was a perfect gift for our PhD candidate grandson who aspires to be a college professor of political science.
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5.0 out of 5 stars loved it, January 12, 2013
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This review is from: The Supreme Court DVD Series (DVD)
I bought it for my son.He has 2 PHDs in law.He found it very interesting and very informative.He stated that the info was very accurate.Any similar items he would appreciate.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for law students, October 26, 2009
By 
Stefano Saltalamacc (Caguas, Puerto Rico) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Supreme Court DVD Series (DVD)
Great material for law students. A collection treasure for those who apprecieate the history of the judicial corp. A masterpiece.
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The Supreme Court DVD Series
The Supreme Court DVD Series by Thomas Lennon (DVD - 2007)
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