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Suprem Court

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  518 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
This new edition of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist’s classic book offers a lively and accessible history of the Supreme Court. His engaging writing illuminates both the high and low points in the Court's history, from Chief Justice Marshall’s dominance of the Court during the early nineteenth century through the landmark decisions of the Warren Court. Citing cases such ...more
Hardcover
Published 2004 by Knopf (first published September 1st 1987)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,167)
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Jamie Collins
Rehnquist’s history is intended to give “the interested, informed layman … a better understanding of the role of the Supreme Court in American government”. I found this very accessible; perhaps slightly legally dense in the middle, but the early historical chapters and the later sections on the practical operation of the court were engaging. This was first published in 1986, then updated in 2001 with editorial assistance from his daughter, whose aim was “to make me sound less like a lawyer”.

He o
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Aaron
Jan 28, 2008 Aaron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jerry and Annette
This was an enthralling book written by the late Chief Justice of the United States, William H. Rehnquist. First I must state he is a first rate author with an exceptional ability to make something interesting that would otherwise be rather boring. There are sections where he talks about the Justices and their appointments where another author may have put a list, but the description of each with clarity of their character allows those parts to become more engaging. How the Supreme Court has sha ...more
Noel Adams
May 29, 2015 Noel Adams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous book. A mixture of pivotal cases decided by the Court, biographies of key justices, and procedures for choosing and rendering decisions, this book was both educational and interesting. My respect for the Supreme Court has increased tenfold, and I find that I am less willing to fling accusations of 'legislating from the bench.' That merely means, after all, that someone read the Constitution differently than I. With each of the nine justices having a staff of one or two secretaries and f ...more
Claire
May 28, 2015 Claire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous book. A mixture of pivotal cases decided by the Court, biographies of key justices, and procedures for choosing and rendering decisions, this book was both educational and interesting. My respect for the Supreme Court has increased tenfold, and I find that I am less willing to fling accusations of 'legislating from the bench.' That merely means, after all, that someone read the Constitution differently than I. With each of the nine justices having a staff of one or two secretaries and f ...more
Tom Stamper
Nov 21, 2014 Tom Stamper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an introduction to the history of the Supreme Court, Justice Rehnquist's book was just what I was looking for. Not only does he give a good explanation of the personalities and issues through the ages, he also explains the experience of being a clerk on the court.
Rehnquist begins by telling the story of how he came to be a clerk for Justice Jackson in the early 1950s. He then goes back and explains the origins of the court in the 19th century. From 1800 until the Civil War, only two men were
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HBalikov
The Supreme Court that we know was not what was intended by our Founding Fathers. As a member of that Court, William Rehnquist has a great deal of respect for the institution. However, he understands that this Court could have easily been simply the court of last resort for contract dispute rather than one of three equal branches of our government.

Rehnquist is at his best when he is delving into the early years of the Court; particularly the first 50 years of its existence. He gives much of the
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Tyler Storm
Jun 29, 2015 Tyler Storm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good introduction to the US Supreme Court written by former Chief and Associate Justice William Rehnquist. There are many Supreme Court books out there, but I would say for the newbie, this should be the first book you should read regarding the Supreme Court. I tried reading "Dear Brethren" by Bob Woodward but it's not necessarily for the newbie. Should have read this book first, then Gideon's Trumpet, and lastly Dear Brethren.

So, the structure of this book is this: General introduction t
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Sara
Apr 13, 2008 Sara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: required-reading
I honestly thought it would be interesting.
And it was for the first 40 pages.
But then every time I read 20 pages, I had to take a nap.
It's a great informational book, but don't read it if you don't have to.
Anup Sinha
The book itself was okay overall. I did enjoy the insight into what happens at the highest court, but I had a hard time with Judge Rehnquist's writing style. I was also hoping he'd give more of a history lesson on controversial issues like the Scopes trial and the Civil Rights movement when Earl Warren enacted laws that angered the president who appointed him (Eisenhower). I also found the history incomplete without any documentation of the Trail of Tears and how President Andrew Jackson complet ...more
Lori Gum
I'll just say this...in view of the decisions of The Roberts Court...this book nears levels of hilarity when you read what Rehnquist considers "judicial activism". I finished this last Wednesday, the day that the Court heard oral arguments in the Shelby v. Holder case regarding Section 5 of The 1965 Voting Rights Act...with Roberts and Scalia's outright hostility to the respondents and defenders of the Act, most notably exemplified by Justice Scalia's contention the protection of voting rights f ...more
Mauricio
I have to give this book by William Rehnquist 5 stars in spite of the fact that I do not agree with his reasoning on many of the important cases decided during his time as SCOTUS Associate Justice (1972-1986) and later as Chief Justice of the United States (1986-2005). His personal doctrine was based on announcing and promulgating "New Federalism" and emphasizing an outmoded view of the 10th Amendment. In my opinion both of these doctrines should be considered superseded by the 14th Amendment -b ...more
Lance
Dec 26, 2011 Lance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With some really important cases coming before the Supreme Court within the next few months, I thought it would be a good idea to learn a bit more about the history of the Supreme Court and the way that it operates. The author here does not disappoint. He writes not only for the layman unacquainted with the nuances of practicing the law but also for the reader interested in engaging history. And the Supreme Court is full of history.

Rehnquist runs through the history of the Supreme Court and the
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Brent_bingham
Dec 03, 2013 Brent_bingham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Supreme Court is written by 16th chief justice William H. Rehnquist. He wrote the book to summarize key points in the court’s history, and goes into great detail. Rehnquist starts off with an introduction showing how he has progressed in the law business from being a law clerk for Justice Robert H. Jackson to Chief Justice. Rehnquist then starts with the case Marbury vs. Madison, which established the rule that the Supreme Court can rule a law unconstitutional, and therefore put it out of ac ...more
ZMARTIN123 Martin
Zach Martin
12/2/13
William H. Rehnquist: The Supreme Court
Digging deep into the history of the judicial branch of the U.S. government, Rehnquist, a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, goes into detail of different cases that the Supreme Court has reviewed since the creation of the government. Along with these details of cases, Rehnquist also covers the different Chief Justices that have resided over the history of the Supreme Court, and the controversial cases that they have made decisions on. F
...more
Luke Duncan
Jul 22, 2015 Luke Duncan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book in my queue for a while, but especially after the recent gay marriage case it found its way into my vacation reading pile.

This book has fits and starts. Some chapters drag on, with a large cast of characters each given only a paragraph of introduction. But, given the scope of the book it's to be expected. Despite this, I still really enjoyed it. I got a perspective I lacked and a history I was missing. I especially liked the middle chapters on the Steal Seizure case and the cl
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Philip Miles
Feb 01, 2016 Philip Miles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great court-centric history of the United States, coupled with the inside scoop on the Court's operations from Chief Justice Rehnquist's time on the bench (and dating all the way back to when he clerked for a New Deal Justice). I can't recommend it enough!
Peter
Jul 20, 2011 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, law
In preparation for an teacher institute on the Supreme Court this summer I read Rehnquist's book. It is a good overview of the court - its history, structure, organization, and process. He commits several chapters to exploring how the Court decides to hear a case, the nature of written briefs and oral arguments, and how a case is decided and reported. He covers the history of the various Courts, defined by their Chief Justices, and the major justices, stopping at the Warren Court, before Renquis ...more
Kelsey
Jul 10, 2014 Kelsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved how he describes the personalities of the justices and how it affects their decisions. He makes the court come to life and become truly interesting to the reader for the rest of their life.
Rex
Jun 17, 2008 Rex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Chief Justice Rehnquist presents a survey of the Supreme Court that is an interesting mix of history, observation, and anecdote. Several cases are looked at in detail: Marbury vs. Madison, Dred Scott, and interestingly, the Steel Seizure case. The history abruptly ends around the time he joined the court. And predictably, he steers clear of virtually any contemporary controversial topic. The most interesting parts of the book are the final chapters detailing the day-to-day functioning of the Cou ...more
Jody
Feb 28, 2016 Jody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rare glimpse at our third, and probably the least understood, branch of government. I thought the book was well-written and instructive.
Nathan
May 30, 2009 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While it is obvious that William Rehnquist is far from a gifted story-teller, he is able to captivate his audience through his knowledge of Supreme Court history woven with his unique perspective as a Justice himself. The book gives no pretense about being a detailed case history, but rather serves as a chronological look at the make-up of the various Supereme Courts thourghout the years - and thereby lends insight to why certain crucial decisions were reached.
I found this work to be extremely i
...more
A K
Jan 20, 2016 A K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great layman primer of The Supreme Court of the United States. Lost a star for getting too technical every once in awhile.
Eric Atkisson
My only two mild criticisms of this otherwise excellent book are that some of the later chapters seem kind of randomly added (and perhaps they were, since I read a newer edition published in 2001), and that Chief Justice Rehnquist omitted any detailed reflections about his own selection and appointment to the Supreme Court, which seemed odd given the autobiographical flavor of the beginning chapters. Otherwise, it's an eminently worthwhile read for anyone interested in higlights of the Supreme C ...more
Greg
Apr 30, 2011 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been interested in the Supreme Court and how it really works for some time and when I found this book, I was very hopeful that my curiosity would be satisfied. It was. Chief Justice Rehnquist is a very learned justice, but the book was written for someone like me that is not. He explained things in very understandable terms and included enough background information about the political environment at the time to make the decisions of the court meaningful to me. I thought it was an excelle ...more
David Niose
Dec 23, 2012 David Niose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm no fan of Rehnquist, but I picked up this book on a whim at an Asheville bookstore while traveling. I assumed it would have a strong conservative slant and that I would be shaking my head in disagreement as I read. I was pleasantly surprised, however, that it was more or less an objective history of the court, written well, and a really enjoyable read. Not very dense at all, just easy reading that I found entertaining and sufficiently informative.
Bethany
Mar 31, 2009 Bethany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this quick overview of the Supreme Court in three days and found it to be an interesting and informative quick overview of the Court's history and function. I especially enjoyed Rehnquist's personal observations about his time first as a law clerk and then of course as an Associate and later Chief Justice. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the Court; it's a non-technical inside view of the institution.
Patrick
Mar 22, 2008 Patrick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone in Social Studies UIL
Well it only took me 8 months to get through it... It was not a bad book, actually. Rhenquist is (obviously) an expert on this subject. When I actually had time to sit down and read it, I learned a lot and actually enjoyed it. Rhenquist's personal memories of events as a law clerk and later a justice and chief justice on the court provided interesting reading. The biggest problem with the book: the subject :)
Jeff
Oct 14, 2010 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty good historical account of the major cases of the supreme court. It's interesting to hear the point of view of the (at the time of writing) Chief Justice. While the history is good, the book languishes at the end over the daily procedures of the Court and it's not nearly as interesting as the cases. Not bad, but there are much better books out there on the subject.
Michael
The author tried to cram in too much. The book has a great in-house perspective, though.

Rehnquist obviously has prejudices and certainly could have cut a lot or expanded the book to three times its size.

That said, it is a decent intro to the history of the Supreme Court. I will mostly use it has a reference rather than suggest anyone read it for leisure.
Bill Mcconnell
A good history of the Supreme Court's influence on the development of U.S. jurisprudence and the court's influence on American society. Rehnquist's prose is a little dense when he's writing about the technicalities of cases but very accessible when talking about their importance from a historical or societal perspective.
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60071
William Hubbs Rehnquist was an American lawyer, jurist, and a political figure who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the Chief Justice of the United States. Considered a conservative, Rehnquist favored a federalism under which the states meaningfully exercised governmental power. Under this view of federalism, the Supreme Court of the United Stat ...more
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“All of these factors are subsumed to a greater or lesser extent by observing that the Supreme Court is an institution far more dominated by centrifugal forces, pushing toward individuality and independence, than it is by centripetal forces pulling for hierarchical ordering and institutional unity. The well-known checks and balances provided by the framers of the Constitution have supplied the necessary centrifugal force to make the Court independent of Congress and the president. The” 0 likes
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