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An important reference that provides the historical context and constitutional perspective of more than 1,000 of the most important Supreme Court cases. Landmark Decisions of the United States Supreme Court offers an unparalleled history of the Supreme Court and its impact on American democracy and society.
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Paul Finkelman is President William McKinley Professor of Law and Public Policy at Albany Law School and the author of more than twenty books including the Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference.From Booklist:
Only six years have passed since the publication of the first edition of this guide to Supreme Court decisions. Recognizing that the addition of 67 new cases decided during those six years might not be sufficient to warrant purchase of a new edition, the authors also have added 80 cases from earlier years. In all, approximately 1,200 decisions are analyzed—at least one case decided in each year that the Court met. The authors’ selection criteria are admittedly subjective but tend to balance “what was important when the cases were decided and what is important now.” Older cases were added to shed light on issues of current importance, including the power of the chief executive to order military action without specific congressional authorization, treatment of suspected terrorists and anarchists, and immigration. More recent cases include Gonzales v. Raich (medical use of marijuana), McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (campaign finance reform), and United States v. Booker (federal sentencing guidelines). The length and depth of case discussions depend on the significance of the case, but all discuss the impact of the decision and, when appropriate, the strength of the dissenting opinion. Each justice’s vote is listed, aiding researchers looking for voting patterns. Most entries conclude with a brief bibliography, some of which were updated for the second edition. Cases are presented chronologically by decade to provide historical and political context for the reader. An alphabetical list of cases is presented at the beginning of each decade, and a case index is provided as well as a subject index. Carried over from the first edition are appendixes listing confirmed Supreme Court nominations by president and court membership by chief justice. A number of other reference sources cover similar ground, including The Oxford Guide to Supreme Court Decisions (1999), Historic U.S. Court Decisions: An Encyclopedia (Routledge, 2000), and Landmark Supreme Court Cases: The Most Influential Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States (Facts On File, 2004). The title under review is recommended for academic and public library collections needing to add a current resource or with comprehensive Supreme Court holdings. --Janice Lewis
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