The Roberts Court, seven years old, sits at the center of a constitutional maelstrom. Through four landmark decisions, Marcia Coyle, one of the most prestigious experts on the Supreme Court, reveals the fault lines in the conservative-dominated Court led by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. Seven minutes after President Obama put his signature to a landmark national health care insurance program, a lawyer in the office of Florida GOP attorney general Bill McCollum hit a computer key, sparking a legal challenge to the new law that would eventually reach the nation’s highest court. Health care is only the most visible and recent front in a battle over the meaning and scope of the U.S. Constitution. The battleground is the United States Supreme Court, and one of the most skilled, insightful, and trenchant of its observers takes us close up to watch it in action. Marcia Coyle’s brilliant inside account of the High Court captures four landmark decisions—concerning health care, money in elections, guns at home, and race in schools. Coyle examines how those cases began—the personalities and conflicts that catapulted them onto the national scene—and how they ultimately exposed the great divides among the justices, such as the originalists versus the pragmatists on guns and the Second Amendment, and corporate speech versus human speech in the controversial Citizens United campaign case. Most dramatically, her analysis shows how dedicated conservative lawyers and groups are strategizing to find cases and crafting them to bring up the judicial road to the Supreme Court with an eye on a receptive conservative majority. The Roberts Court offers a ringside seat at the struggle to lay down the law of the land.
Pathways to the U.S. Supreme Court is a quantitative-historical recapitulation of the routes taken to the US Supreme Court by the 112 Justices who were confirmed by the Senate and served, and the 28 others whose candidacies for confirmation were defeated, withdrawn, or declined.
Widely acclaimed at the time of its publication, the life story of the most controversial, volatile, misunderstood provision of the Bill of Rights. At a time of increasing gun violence in America, Waldman’s book provoked a wide range of discussion. This book looks at history to provide some surprising, illuminating answers. The Amendment was written to calm public fear that the new national government would crush the state militias made up of all (white) adult men—who were required to own a gun to serve. Waldman recounts the raucous public debate that has surrounded the amendment from its inception to the present. As the country spread to the Western frontier, violence spread too. But through it all, gun control was abundant. In the twentieth century, with Prohibition and gangsterism, the first federal control laws were passed. In all four separate times the Supreme Court ruled against a constitutional right to own a gun. The present debate picked up in the 1970s—part of a backlash to the liberal 1960s and a resurgence of libertarianism. A newly radicalized NRA entered the campaign to oppose gun control and elevate the status of an obscure constitutional provision. In 2008, in a case that reached the Court after a focused drive by conservative lawyers, the US Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the Constitution protects an individual right to gun ownership. Famous for his theory of “originalism,” Justice Antonin Scalia twisted it in this instance to base his argument on contemporary conditions. In The Second Amendment: A Biography, Michael Waldman shows that our view of the amendment is set, at each stage, not by a pristine constitutional text, but by the push and pull, the rough and tumble of political advocacy and public agitation.
An examination of the initial years of the Roberts Court and the intellectual battle between Roberts and Kagan for leadership. When John Roberts was appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court, he said he would act as an umpire. Instead, his Court is reshaping legal precedent through decisions unmistakably—though not always predictably—determined by politics as much as by law, on a Court almost perfectly politically divided. Harvard Law School professor and constitutional law expert Mark Tushnet clarifies the lines of conflict and what is at stake on the Supreme Court as it hangs “in the balance” between its conservatives and its liberals. Clear and deeply knowledgeable on both points of law and the Court’s key players, Tushnet offers a nuanced and surprising examination of the initial years of the Roberts Court. Covering the legal philosophies that have informed decisions on major cases such as the Affordable Care Act, the political structures behind Court appointments, and the face-off between John Roberts and Elena Kagan for intellectual dominance of the Court, In the Balance is a must-read for anyone looking for fresh insight into the Court’s impact on the everyday lives of Americans.
The Affordable Care Act debate was one of the most important and most public examinations of the Constitution in our history. At the forefront of that debate were the bloggers of the Volokh Conspiracy who, from before the law was even passed, engaged in a spirited, erudite, and accessible discussion of the legal issues involved in the case.
This critical thinking approach to American government challenges students to evaluate the quality of democracy in America today within a unique framework that offers a holistic view of our system. This unique text challenges students to think critically about American government and politics through the use of two compelling organizational themes. The first theme, “Using the Democracy Standard,” asks students to evaluate the health and vitality of American democracy today against a democratic ideal that is carefully defined in the first chapter, and revisited at the beginning and end of each subsequent chapter. The text's second theme, “Using the Framework,” offers students a tool for examining the political process at a variety of levels–from structural factors to political linkages, government institutions, and government policies–to help them consider how the interactions of these factors affect what government does (or doesn’t) do. Both themes are revisited in each chapter, as well as woven throughout the narrative, and highlighted in new marginal critical thinking questions that challenge students to consider the impact of governmental policies and processes on democracy, and vice-versa. The ninth edition of this best-selling text will be updated throughout with the results of the 2008 Presidential and Congressional election results and the latest political issues and events, as well as deeper discussions of social and economic policy and political parties and participation.
Published every September in celebration of Constitution Day, the Cato Supreme Court Review brings together leading legal scholars to analyze the most important cases of the Court's most recent term. It is the first scholarly review to appear after the term's end and the only on to critique the court from a Madisonian perspective.
A course on constitutional law and civil liberties can be and is nothing less than an extended inquiry into the meaning of America. American Constitutional Law: Volume 1 Governmental Powers and Democracy, newly revised by Donald P. Kommers, John E. Finn, and Gary J. Jacobsohn, is a casebook made for such an inquiry. True to the liberal arts tradition from which it emerges, it goes beyond the facts and rulings of the great cases in American constitutional law to engage important issues of political theory and the nature of our constitutional democracy. Although the focus is on American constitutional law, Kommers, Finn, and Jacobsohn break new ground by incorporating comparative materials that enrich the study of the American Constitution by challenging the reader to assess American constitutional values in light of other traditions and understandings of constitutional governance. In an era of constitutional globalization, this new edition of a distinguished text is essential to an appreciation of tradition and diversity.Volume 1 focuses on governmental structures and relationships and includes a new chapter on elections and political representation.
In this widely acclaimed landmark study, Joan Hoff illustrates how women remain second- class citizens under the current legal system and questions whether the continued pursuit of equality based on a one-size-fits-all vision of traditional individual rights is really what will most improve conditions for women in America as they prepare for the twenty-first century. Concluding that equality based on liberal male ideology is no longer an adequate framework for improving women's legal status, Hoff's highly original and incisive volume calls for a demystification of legal doctrine and a reinterpretation of legal texts (including the Constitution) to create a feminist jurisprudence.