- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press (March 21, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195098595
- ISBN-13: 978-0195098594
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,111,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Decision: How the Supreme Court Decides Cases
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From Publishers Weekly
In a book aimed at specialists, veteran court-watcher Schwartz (A History of the Supreme Court) draws on archives, including the files of recently retired Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall, and confidential interviews to describe internal court arguments on cases recent and long past. He begins with a close analysis of the arguments-especially what he terms the manipulations of Chief Justice William Rehnquist-in the Webster abortion case, then admiringly describes the leadership of "Super Chief" Earl Warren, who gained all-important unanimity in the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation case (1954). Chief Justice Warren Burger, on the other hand, found his work regularly modified by pressure from his colleagues that led to an "opinion by committee" in cases such as the Nixon Watergate appeal. Schwartz also analyzes cases in which associate justices (Brennan, for example) took temporary leadership of the court, and how justices switched votes in crucial cases. He concludes by worrying that judges' young law clerks retain too much power as gatekeepers to the court, and endorses a 1972 proposal by a court-appointed committee to create a new court of appeals to screen all petitions for appeal.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This fascinating book shows how the major decisions of the Supreme Court came to be, including Roe v. Wade. In that case, Chief Justice Rehnquist, whose personality became much more serious when he was appointed chief, continued to push hard to have the case overturned. Similarly, author Schwartz delves into the legal issues of other cases over the last decade and a half when the Court changed complexion from the more liberal Burger Court to the more conservative Rehnquist Court. The author himself is often apt to blame zealous law clerks for influencing justices buried under mountains of work, but the most interesting material is the personalities. Justice Felix Frankfurter would become livid and his voice would become a high-pitched squeal; Chief Justice Burger had perfected the good ol' boy network by giving his friends the plum decision-writing assignments; associates respected Justice William Brennan, the cocky liberal leader of the Court during the 1970s and 1980s--or did they fear him? In all, a terrific primer on the Supreme Court, the true lawgivers of the republic. Joe Collins