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The Constitution in the Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years, 1789-1888

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ISBN-13: 978-0226131092
ISBN-10: 0226131092
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From the Back Cover

The First Hundred Years 1789-1888.Histories of the Supreme Court and of Constitution abound, as do legal analyses of constitutional decisions. The aim is to provide a critical history, analyzing from a lawyer's standpoint the entire constitutional work of the Court's first one hundred years.

About the Author

David P. Currie (1936–2007) was the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. He is the author of four volumes in the Constitution in Congress series and the award-winning two-volume history The Constitution in the Supreme Court.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 518 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (September 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226131092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226131092
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I have been reading books on the Constitution for many years and “The Constitution in the Supreme Court” (volume 1 covering 1789-1888 and volume 2 covering 1888-1986) is one of the very best books I have come across on the subject. The late Professor Currie was a preeminent Constitutional scholar at the University of Chicago and he brings a clear and enjoyable writing style to his works. It is a must-read for anyone interested in learning the history of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution.

Professor Currie’s stated objective (Introduction, page xi) is to provide the reader with a critical history, from a lawyer’s perspective, of the Supreme Court’s constitutional work. Professor Currie illustrates that in the early days some of our esteemed Justices did not reference existing legal precedent, even when it supported their rulings, and issued opinions that went beyond what was required to resolve the case before the court. He also shows how the court has many times changed direction from its prior rulings.

Both Volume 1 and Volume 2 are divided into parts based on who was serving as Chief Justice. Within each part, significant cases of the era are discussed and are grouped in chapters according to the constitutional issue. For example, Part Two of Volume 1, dealing with Chief Justice Marshall’s Court has chapters dedicated to powers of the federal court, the contract clause and natural law, and Congressional authority and other limits on state power. Admittedly, some topics may not be particularly interesting to the general public. However, if you enjoyed high school civics and want to know more about how the Constitution has been interpreted over the years by the Court, this is a most worthy book for your consideration.
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