The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction
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Greenhouse offers a fascinating institutional biography of a place and its people-men and women who exercise great power but whose names and faces are unrecognized by many Americans and whose work often appears cloaked in mystery. How do cases get to the Supreme Court? How do the justices go about deciding them? What special role does the chief justice play? What do the law clerks do? How does the court relate to the other branches of government? Greenhouse answers these questions by depicting
the justices as they confront deep constitutional issues or wrestle with the meaning of confusing federal statutes. Throughout, the author examines many individual Supreme Court cases to illustrate points under discussion, ranging from Marbury v. Madison, the seminal case which established judicial
review, to the recent District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), which struck down the District of Columbia's gun-control statute and which was, surprisingly, the first time in its history that the Court issued an authoritative interpretation of the Second Amendment. To add perspective, Greenhouse also compares the Court to foreign courts, revealing interesting differences. For instance, no other country in the world has chosen to bestow life tenure on its judges.
The second edition of Greenhouse's Very Short Introduction tracks the changes in the Court's makeup over the last eight years, considers the landmark decisions of the Obama and Trump eras, and reexamines the precarious fates of such precedents as Roe v. Wade.
A superb overview packed with telling details, this volume offers a matchless introduction to one of the pillars of American government.
Chapter One: Origins
Chapter Two: The Court at Work (1)
Chapter Three: The Justices
Chapter Four: The Chief Justice
Chapter Five: The Court at Work (2)
Chapter Six: The Court and the Other Branches
Chapter Seven: The Court and the Public
Chapter Eight: The Court and the World
Appendix 1: Article III, U.S. Constitution
Appendix 2: The Supreme Court's Rules (excerpts)
Appendix 3: Chart of the Justices
Her books include Becoming Justice Blackmun: Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey and Before Roe v. Wade: Voices That Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court's Ruling (with Reva B. Siegel).