The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (Oxford Companions)

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9780195176612: The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (Oxford Companions)
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The Supreme Court has continued to write constitutional history over the thirteen years since publication of the highly acclaimed first edition of The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court. Two new justices have joined the high court, more than 800 cases have been decided, and a good deal of new scholarship has appeared on many of the topics treated in the Companion. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist presided over the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, and the Court as a whole played a decisive and controversial role in the outcome of the 2000 presidential election. Under Rehnquists's leadership, a bare majority of the justices have rewritten significant areas of the law dealing with federalism, sovereign immunity, and the commerce power.

This new edition includes new entries on key cases and fully updated treatment of crucial areas of constitutional law, such as abortion, freedom of religion, school desegregation, freedom of speech, voting rights, military tribunals, and the rights of the accused. These developments make the second edition of this accessible and authoritative guide essential for judges, lawyers, academics, journalists, and anyone interested in the impact of the Court's decisions on American society.

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From the Back Cover:

In Democracy in America, de Tocqueville observed that there is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one. Two hundred years of American history have certainly born out the truth of this remark. Whether a controversy is political, economic, or social, whether it focuses on child labor, prayer in public schools, war powers, busing, abortion, business monopolies, or capital punishment, eventually the battle is taken to court. And the ultimate venue for these vital struggles is the Supreme Court. Indeed, the Supreme Court is a prism through which the entire life of our nation is magnified and illuminated, and through which we have defined ourselves as a people. Now, in The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, readers have a rich source of information about one of the central institutions of American life. Everything one would want to know about the Supreme Court is here, in more than a thousand alphabetically arranged entries. There are biographies of every justice who ever sat on the Supreme Court (with pictures of each) as well as entries on rejected nominees and prominent judges (such as Learned Hand), on presidents who had an important impact on - or conflict with - the Court (including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt), and on other influential figures (from Alexander Hamilton to Cass Gilbert, the architect of the Supreme Court Building). More than four hundred entries examine every major case that the court has decided, from Marbury v. Madison (which established the Court's power to declare federal laws unconstitutional) and Scott v. Sandford (the Dred Scott Case) toBrown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade. In addition, there are extended essays on the major issues that have confronted the Court (from slavery to national security, capital punishment to religion, affirmative action to the Vietnam War), entries on judicial matters and legal terms (ranging from judicial review and separation of powers to amicus brief and habeas corpus), articles on all Amendments to the Constitution, and an extensive, four-part history of the Court. And as in all Oxford Companions, the contributions combine scholarship with engaging insight, giving us a sense of the personality and the inner workings of the Court. They examine everything from the wanderings of the Supreme Court (the first session was held in the Royal Exchange Building in New York City, and the Court at times has met in a Congressional committee room, a tavern, a rented house, and finally, in 1935, its own building), to the Jackson-Black feud and the clouded resignation of Abe Fortas, to the Supreme Court's press room and the paintings and sculptures adorning the Supreme Court building. The decisions of the Supreme Court have touched - and will continue to influence - every corner of American society. A comprehensive, authoritative guide to the Supreme Court, this volume is an essential reference source for everyone interested in the workings of this vital institution and in the multitude of issues it has confronted over the course of its history.

About the Author:


Kermit L. Hall is president of the University at Albany, State University of New York, and Professor of History, and the editor of The Oxford Companion to American Law. James W. Ely, Jr. is Milton R. Underwood Professor of Law and History at Vanderbilt University. Joel B. Grossman is Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University.

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