- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press (March 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195139240
- ISBN-13: 978-0195139242
- Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 1.3 x 5.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,180,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions
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Kermit L. Hall, Dean of the College of Humanities, Executive Dean of the Colleges of the Arts and Sciences, and Professor of History and Law at Ohio State University, is well versed in American constitutional and legal history, and has a skillful touch when it comes to editing the contributions of well over 100 legal scholars (from attorneys and state supreme court justices to professors of law, political science, constitutional history, and government), producing a reference tome that invites the attention of lay legal beagles, students of American history, and practicing members of the legal profession.
The first 348 pages are devoted to an alphabetically arranged presentation of more than 400 of the Supreme Court's most significant and consequential decisions, from Abington School District v. Schempp (1963, reaffirming that the establishment clause forbids public schools from sponsoring religious prayerful practices) to Zurcher v. "The Stanford Daily" (1978, ruling 5 to 3 that the Palo Alto police had violated neither the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press nor the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches when they obtained a warrant and inspected the offices of Stanford University's student newspaper). Each case synopsis, generally half a page to a full page in length, describes the background incident, the constitutional issues in question, a concise summary of the reasoning behind the majority and dissenting opinions, what the public reaction was, and in what ways that ruling affected future cases and laws.
In addition, there's a glossary of terms, defining general legal concepts such as bail as well as less commonly known practices such as the Bad Tendency Test, an appendix containing the Constitution of the United States, another appendix covering the nominations and succession of Supreme Court justices, and an exhaustively comprehensive topical index. It's a pleasure to see a reference work that so effectively and engagingly treats the major decisions of the Supreme Court from 1789 to present. --Stephanie Gold --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Ohio State dean and history/law professor Hall has assembled a stellar panel of experts to distill the essence of 440 key Supreme Court decisions. The cases are discussed in alphabetical order, with each ruling placed in its historical context. The true value of the book is that the contributors take a case like Brown v. Board of Education and provide a nontechnical, well-written explanation of its significance?and manage to do so in three pages of text. In the case of Brown, the contributor, a University of Chicago law professor, provides fascinating details such as citations from Chief Justice Earl Warren's memoirs on how the decisions were written. In some cases, additional references are cited for further research. The book includes a case index, a topical index, the Constitution of the United States, an appendix listing the Justices, and a glossary of legal terms. An impressive accomplishment, this guide will be invaluable to all students of United States history and will also appeal to sophisticated readers. For all public libraries.?Harry Charles, Attorney at Law, St. Louis
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The latter are sometimes a little problematic. Many cases are not given more than one or two paragraphs, and the index is incomplete. Some of the writers of the summaries also have a tendency to insinuate their own opinions on the cases into it, which goes particularly for those done by Kermit Hall himself, which are invariably positive about the most progressive justices and generally scathing about Scalia (though this is done in a 'read between the lines' manner, of course). An additional issue is that the index is incomplete, and the promised biographies of all Justices is no more than a list of their dates of nomination, appointment and death, which is rather disappointing.
Still overall, it's an essential reference book for looking up cases and the inclusion of related cases in the case summaries makes it much easier to trace precedent through the decades.