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The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America

by

The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A leading Supreme Court expert recounts the personal and philosophical rivalries that forged our nation's highest court and continue to shape our daily lives.

The Supreme Court is the most mysterious branch of government, and yet the Court is at root a human institution, made up of very bright people with very strong egos, for whom political and judicial conflicts often become personal.

In this compelling work of character-driven history, Jeffrey Rosen recounts the history of the Court through the personal and philosophical rivalries on the bench that transformed the law — and by extension, our lives. The story begins with the great Chief Justice John Marshall and President Thomas Jefferson, cousins from the Virginia elite whose differing visions of America set the tone for the Court's first hundred years. The tale continues after the Civil War with Justices John Marshall Harlan and Oliver Wendell Holmes, who clashed over the limits of majority rule. Rosen then examines the Warren Court era through the lens of the liberal icons Hugo Black and William O. Douglas, for whom personality loomed larger than ideology. He concludes with a pairing from our own era, the conservatives William H. Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia, only one of whom was able to build majorities in support of his views.

Through these four rivalries, Rosen brings to life the perennial conflict that has animated the Court — between those justices guided by strong ideology and those who forge coalitions and adjust to new realities. He illuminates the relationship between judicial temperament and judicial success or failure. The stakes are nothing less than the future of American jurisprudence.

Review:

"In his second book this year (after The Most Democratic Branch), Rosen examines how temperament and personal style shape decision making at the U.S. Supreme Court. The author, a law professor and legal affairs editor at the New Republic, profiles four pairs of contrasting personalities: President Thomas Jefferson and Chief Justice John Marshall; Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and John Marshall Harlan; Justices William O. Douglas and Hugo Black; and finally Justice Antonin Scalia and Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Jefferson, Holmes, Douglas and Scalia are Rosen's exemplars of judicially counterproductive temperaments: they are ideologues, too invested in promoting the purity of their ideas to exert long-term influence on constitutional law. Far more persuasive for Rosen are Marshall, Harlan, Black and Rehnquist, distinguished by collegiality, willingness to compromise and subordinate their own agendas to the prestige of the Court. Most of the book consists of anecdotes about these eight judges, along with summaries of their most celebrated decisions and brief but perceptive explanations of their judicial philosophies. All this is entertaining, although it dilutes the book's stated focus on judicial temperament. Considering today's Court, Rosen believes Chief Justice Roberts will display a successful talent for consensus-building. As Rosen is well aware, a lot rides on the accuracy of this prediction." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"In his second book this year (after The Most Democratic Branch), Rosen examines how temperament and personal style shape decision making at the U.S. Supreme Court. The author, a law professor and legal affairs editor at the New Republic, profiles four pairs of contrasting personalities: President Thomas Jefferson and Chief Justice John Marshall; Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and John Marshall Harlan; Justices William O. Douglas and Hugo Black; and finally Justice Antonin Scalia and Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Jefferson, Holmes, Douglas and Scalia are Rosen's exemplars of judicially counterproductive temperaments: they are ideologues, too invested in promoting the purity of their ideas to exert long-term influence on constitutional law. Far more persuasive for Rosen are Marshall, Harlan, Black and Rehnquist, distinguished by collegiality, willingness to compromise and subordinate their own agendas to the prestige of the Court. Most of the book consists of anecdotes about these eight judges, along with summaries of their most celebrated decisions and brief but perceptive explanations of their judicial philosophies. All this is entertaining, although it dilutes the book's stated focus on judicial temperament. Considering today's Court, Rosen believes Chief Justice Roberts will display a successful talent for consensus-building. As Rosen is well aware, a lot rides on the accuracy of this prediction." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"'Judicial temperament,' according to the American Bar Association guidelines for selecting judges, is an elusive quality, easier to identify than to define. It has been spotted frequently in John G. Roberts Jr., the new chief justice of the Supreme Court; less often in Justice Antonin Scalia, who, last year, gave what he called a 'Sicilian gesture' in response to a reporter's question (and whose dissents... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"'Judicial temperament,' according to the American Bar Association guidelines for selecting judges, is an elusive quality, easier to identify than to define. It has been spotted frequently in John G. Roberts Jr., the new chief justice of the Supreme Court; less often in Justice Antonin Scalia, who, last year, gave what he called a 'Sicilian gesture' in response to a reporter's question (and whose dissents... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"An illuminating look at the human side of the highest court." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

A leading Supreme Court expert recounts the personal and philosophical rivalries that forged our nation's highest court and continue to shape our daily lives

The Supreme Court is the most mysterious branch of government, and yet the Court is at root a human institution, made up of very bright people with very strong egos, for whom political and judicial conflicts often become personal.

In this compelling work of character-driven history, Jeffrey Rosen recounts the history of the Court through the personal and philosophical rivalries on the bench that transformed the law--and by extension, our lives. The story begins with the great Chief Justice John Marshall and President Thomas Jefferson, cousins from the Virginia elite whose differing visions of America set the tone for the Court's first hundred years. The tale continues after the Civil War with Justices John Marshall Harlan and Oliver Wendell Holmes, who clashed over the limits of majority rule. Rosen then examines the Warren Court era through the lens of the liberal icons Hugo Black and William O. Douglas, for whom personality loomed larger than ideology. He concludes with a pairing from our own era, the conservatives William H. Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia, only one of whom was able to build majorities in support of his views.

Through these four rivalries, Rosen brings to life the perennial conflict that has animated the Court--between those justices guided by strong ideology and those who forge coalitions and adjust to new realities. He illuminates the relationship between judicial temperament and judicial success or failure. The stakes are nothing less than the future of American jurisprudence.

Synopsis:

"Superbly well written . . . a wonderfully informative guide to the Supreme Court both past and present."--David J. Garrow, American History
 
Jeffrey Rosen recounts the history of the Supreme Court through the personal and philosophical rivalries that have transformed the law--and by extension, our lives. With studies of four crucial conflicts--Chief Justice John Marshall and President Thomas Jefferson; post-Civil War justices John Marshall Harlan and Oliver Wendell Holmes; liberal icons Hugo Black and William O. Douglas; and conservative stalwarts William H. Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia--Rosen brings vividly to life the perennial rivalry between those justices guided by strong ideology and those who cared more about the court as an institution, forging coalitions and adjusting to new realities. He ends with a revealing conversation with Chief Justice John Roberts, who is attempting to change the court in unexpected ways. The stakes, he shows, are nothing less than the future of American jurisprudence.

About the Author

Jeffrey Rosen is a professor of law at George Washington University and the legal affairs editor of The New Republic. He is the author of The Most Democratic Branch, The Naked Crowd, and The Unwanted Gaze. His articles have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker. He is a frequent contributor to National Public Radio and lives in Washington, D.C.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805081824
Subtitle:
The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America
Author:
Rosen, Jeffrey
Author:
Thirteen/WNET
Author:
Thirteen/WNET
Publisher:
St. Martin's Griffin
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
History
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Legal History
Subject:
Courts - Supreme Court
Subject:
Government - Judicial Branch
Subject:
United States History.
Subject:
Judges -- United States -- Biography.
Subject:
Lawyers
Subject:
Judges
Subject:
Lawyers & Judges
Subject:
American Government/Judicial Branch
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20071226
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Includes 25 black-and-white photographs
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Law » General

The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America Used Hardcover
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$4.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Times Books - English 9780805081824 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In his second book this year (after The Most Democratic Branch), Rosen examines how temperament and personal style shape decision making at the U.S. Supreme Court. The author, a law professor and legal affairs editor at the New Republic, profiles four pairs of contrasting personalities: President Thomas Jefferson and Chief Justice John Marshall; Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and John Marshall Harlan; Justices William O. Douglas and Hugo Black; and finally Justice Antonin Scalia and Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Jefferson, Holmes, Douglas and Scalia are Rosen's exemplars of judicially counterproductive temperaments: they are ideologues, too invested in promoting the purity of their ideas to exert long-term influence on constitutional law. Far more persuasive for Rosen are Marshall, Harlan, Black and Rehnquist, distinguished by collegiality, willingness to compromise and subordinate their own agendas to the prestige of the Court. Most of the book consists of anecdotes about these eight judges, along with summaries of their most celebrated decisions and brief but perceptive explanations of their judicial philosophies. All this is entertaining, although it dilutes the book's stated focus on judicial temperament. Considering today's Court, Rosen believes Chief Justice Roberts will display a successful talent for consensus-building. As Rosen is well aware, a lot rides on the accuracy of this prediction." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In his second book this year (after The Most Democratic Branch), Rosen examines how temperament and personal style shape decision making at the U.S. Supreme Court. The author, a law professor and legal affairs editor at the New Republic, profiles four pairs of contrasting personalities: President Thomas Jefferson and Chief Justice John Marshall; Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and John Marshall Harlan; Justices William O. Douglas and Hugo Black; and finally Justice Antonin Scalia and Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Jefferson, Holmes, Douglas and Scalia are Rosen's exemplars of judicially counterproductive temperaments: they are ideologues, too invested in promoting the purity of their ideas to exert long-term influence on constitutional law. Far more persuasive for Rosen are Marshall, Harlan, Black and Rehnquist, distinguished by collegiality, willingness to compromise and subordinate their own agendas to the prestige of the Court. Most of the book consists of anecdotes about these eight judges, along with summaries of their most celebrated decisions and brief but perceptive explanations of their judicial philosophies. All this is entertaining, although it dilutes the book's stated focus on judicial temperament. Considering today's Court, Rosen believes Chief Justice Roberts will display a successful talent for consensus-building. As Rosen is well aware, a lot rides on the accuracy of this prediction." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "An illuminating look at the human side of the highest court."
"Synopsis" by ,
A leading Supreme Court expert recounts the personal and philosophical rivalries that forged our nation's highest court and continue to shape our daily lives

The Supreme Court is the most mysterious branch of government, and yet the Court is at root a human institution, made up of very bright people with very strong egos, for whom political and judicial conflicts often become personal.

In this compelling work of character-driven history, Jeffrey Rosen recounts the history of the Court through the personal and philosophical rivalries on the bench that transformed the law--and by extension, our lives. The story begins with the great Chief Justice John Marshall and President Thomas Jefferson, cousins from the Virginia elite whose differing visions of America set the tone for the Court's first hundred years. The tale continues after the Civil War with Justices John Marshall Harlan and Oliver Wendell Holmes, who clashed over the limits of majority rule. Rosen then examines the Warren Court era through the lens of the liberal icons Hugo Black and William O. Douglas, for whom personality loomed larger than ideology. He concludes with a pairing from our own era, the conservatives William H. Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia, only one of whom was able to build majorities in support of his views.

Through these four rivalries, Rosen brings to life the perennial conflict that has animated the Court--between those justices guided by strong ideology and those who forge coalitions and adjust to new realities. He illuminates the relationship between judicial temperament and judicial success or failure. The stakes are nothing less than the future of American jurisprudence.

"Synopsis" by ,
"Superbly well written . . . a wonderfully informative guide to the Supreme Court both past and present."--David J. Garrow, American History
 
Jeffrey Rosen recounts the history of the Supreme Court through the personal and philosophical rivalries that have transformed the law--and by extension, our lives. With studies of four crucial conflicts--Chief Justice John Marshall and President Thomas Jefferson; post-Civil War justices John Marshall Harlan and Oliver Wendell Holmes; liberal icons Hugo Black and William O. Douglas; and conservative stalwarts William H. Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia--Rosen brings vividly to life the perennial rivalry between those justices guided by strong ideology and those who cared more about the court as an institution, forging coalitions and adjusting to new realities. He ends with a revealing conversation with Chief Justice John Roberts, who is attempting to change the court in unexpected ways. The stakes, he shows, are nothing less than the future of American jurisprudence.
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