Supreme Court books


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Supreme Court books

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ag. 20, 2007, 7:14 am

Hi everyone,
Looking at the commonly shared books in this group, it seems that most people here are American. I'm a UK law student interested in reading something about the Supreme Court. Can anyone recommend a good one?

ag. 20, 2007, 5:53 pm

The most readable explanation (I think) was written by one of our own Chief Justices. Try William H. Rehnquist's The Supreme Court: How It Was, How It Is.

For some fairly thorough coverage, try Kermit L. Hall's Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. If memory serves, it's essentially an encyclopedia of people and cases. So not entirely readable .... but the entries are very good.

For just a really great picture book (mostly of the architecture in the building), see Suzy Maroon's The Supreme Court of the United States.

ag. 20, 2007, 7:53 pm

Thanks legallypuzzled - yes, the Rehnquist is one I had my eye on. The Oxford Companion would probably be more useful if I was actually studying American law, but as it is I'm just indulging an extra-curricular interest whilst doing my Bar course!

ag. 20, 2007, 8:07 pm

The Brethren, by Bob Woodward is nice and gossipy!

ag. 21, 2007, 1:26 pm

Ha. Good topic.

From dry to driest -

Jan Crawford Greenburg's Supreme Conflict for a recent and excellent account of the Rehnquist Court and the recent confirmation battles that put Alito and Roberts on the bench. (Reads like a thriller.)

On the arcane and peculiar American institution of the scotus clerk see Courtiers of the Marble Palace: The Rise and Influence of the Supreme Court Law Clerk and Sorcerers' Apprentices: 100 Years of Law Clerks at the United States Supreme Court. (Dry. Lots of stuff on the mechanics of cert pools and bench memos.)

Seriatim: The Supreme Court Before John Marshall. (History of the early Supreme Court.)

gen. 25, 2008, 3:30 pm

For a book that is not at all dry, try Peter Irons' People's History of the Supreme Court.

Irons is an activist who was instrumental in reviving interest in America about the Japanese internment camps in World War II. He has written very good books about Korematsu and other Supreme Court cases of that period.

The People's History is essentially a lay-person's view of the workings of the Supreme Court, from its founding. Irons concentrates on who the actual people were whose names are now a permanent part of legal parlance and culture. Very readable and very enlightening on the side of the cases you don't hear about in law school.

feb. 29, 2008, 12:13 pm

The Warren Court and American Politics by Lucas A. Powe, and Deciding to Decide: Agenda Setting in the United States Supreme Court by H.W. Perry are two fantastic books.

Also The American Supreme Court by Robert G. McCloskey.

All three are "easy to read" though some have more depth than others.

Editat: jul. 23, 2008, 4:41 pm

Anything by the late Yale Law Professor Alexander M. Bickel:

The Least Dangerous Branch: The Supreme Court at the Bar of Politics (1962)
Politics and the Warren Court (1965)
The Supreme Court and the Idea of Progress (1970)
The Caseload of the Supreme Court -- and What, If Anything, to Do about It (1973)
The Morality of Consent (1975, essays)
History of the Supreme Court of the United States: The Judiciary and Responsible Government (1910-1921) (1984)

abr. 15, 2009, 3:25 pm

One I found interesting was Brennan v. Rehnquist: The Battle for the Constitution focusing on the ideological disagreements between two justices who served together for an extended period of time.