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4.0 out of 5 stars Essays on the Supreme Court, January 15, 2004
This review is from: Great Cases in Constitutional Law (Hardcover)
Based on a series of lectures given at Princeton University, Great Cases in Constitutional Law analyzes five major Supreme Court Cases: Marbury v. Madison, Dred Scott v. Stanford, Lochner v. New York, Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade. The slant of the lectures is clear: the Supreme Court should play less of a role in substantively interpreting the Constitution. Several lectures play devil's advocate: Hadley Arkes defends the notorious Lochner case, while Edward Maltz criticises the hallowed Brown decision. The conservative slant of the book's editor, Princeton Professor Robert P. George, can be seen in the two lectures about abortion. With every other case, one writer generally attacks, while the other defends the Supreme Court's decision. Even with Dred Scott, Prof. James McPhereson notes that the outcome of the decision was not bad--northern anger over the ruling likely prompted the election of Lincoln. But with abortion, both lecturers tear into Roe v. Wade. The quality of both Roe essays, written by Jean Bethke Elshtain and George Will, is surprising low. Both are polemical and disorganized, both wander into the moral and philosophical realms rather than focusing on issues of Constitutional Law. But on the whole, the book represents a fascinating exploration of some of the major Supreme Court cases in US history.
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