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Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  314 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
With the Supreme Court more influential than ever, this eye-opening book tells the story of how the Roberts Court is shaking the foundation of our nation’s laws

From Citizens United to its momentous rulings regarding Obamacare and gay marriage, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has profoundly affected American life. Yet the court remains a mysterious instit
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Published June 3rd 2014 by Macmillan Audio
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Jean Poulos
The Supreme Court will soon complete the ninth term with Roberts as Chief Justice. The Robert Court has matured enough after more than 600 decisions to merit significant attention. In “Uncertain Justice” Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe and his former law student Joshua Matz find much to Analyze. Joshua Matz was law clerk in 2012 to Judge J. Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York. In 2013-2014 he is clerk for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the ninth circuit court of appeals. I b ...more
Sandra
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i won this book through goodreads. This book is definitely a eye opener & a must read to all!
Brian Willis
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rather than making an argument about legal and political trends within the Court's nine justices in regards to control from the left or the right, this books takes several critical areas of legal decisions over the first ten years of the Roberts court and looks at how these areas have been impacted by the Court's decisions. Ranging from the 1st and 2nd Amendments, to corporate law and criminal rights, as well as challenges to the executive, the book does an excellent job of summarizing cases and ...more
Robert Hill
My rating is based upon the degree to which I enjoyed reading the book. The book is a very detailed recounting of the Roberts' Courts decisions, as well as, background for the law as interpreted before the Roberts' Court. I have been pretty cynical in my assessment of what I perceived as the increasing politicization of the Supreme Court in the wake of George W Bush's appointments. The book makes clear that although the Justices are propelled by their own theories of what constitutes "Justice", ...more
Claire
Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't really know what to do with this book. I didn't actually finish the whole thing but I'm done with reading it. It's hard to keep track of each justice, but I like the in depth way the authors discuss/ debate each topic. Very informative and interesting for the chapters I did read.
Matt
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Tribe and Matz delve into the always complex world of constitutional law and its varied recent interpretations by the US Supreme Court. Their focus is the Roberts Court, the collection of justices whose rulings came down after John G. Roberts Jr. was appointed as Chief Justice in 2005. Within the pages of their highly informative tome, Tribe and Matz argue that while the ideological leanings of the nine justices may be fairly apparent, when it comes to constitutional interpretation, anything goe ...more
Sean Ikon
"Maybe nothing ever happens once and is finished. Maybe happen is never once but like ripples maybe on water after the pebble sinks, the ripples moving on, spreading, the pool attached by a narrow umbilical water-cord to the next pool which the first pool feeds."

The Roberts Court has gutted the Civil Rights Act. It affirmed Health Care, but used the ruling to build jurisprudence to narrow Congress's power under the Necessary & Proper Clause (which serves as the vital role in effectuating its
...more
Kelly Rincon
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stars for content, 3 stars for the fact it was a tad dry.

The best part about this book was how it was so balanced and nuanced. It made me more open-minded on some of the biggest issues the court has decided over the past decade or so. I loved how I couldn't tell where the authors actually fell on each issue. Instead, they portrayed both sides evenly and fairly. Refreshing!

I'm not used to difficult reading, so this took me awhile to get through. Especially the later chapters. But it was so
...more
George Ashmore
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won this thru Goodreads and wasn't sure about it when I started it and noticed the politics of the writers--not in the way, just made me wonder. But the information & insight in this book is greatly appreciated by me & greatly needed by the public. Most media don't report what is happening in the judiciary worth spit but I now understand the current Supreme Court much better--just don't like it any better. We have the worst of all possible worlds--a big government loving, average citiz ...more
Bruce Sabian
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was in college, I briefly toyed with the idea of going to law school after I graduated. I didn't wind up going because I wasn't really interested in the mundane, day to day aspects of the legal profession. I wanted to graduate right into a job of arguing cases before the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, life doesn't really work that way. This remarkable book reminded me of the reasons that constitutional law was such a lure to me. More so than any book I've read in a very long time, it's bal ...more
Tom
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I have respected Tribe for decades as the smartest person who "will never be on the Supreme Court", and I do not agree with his Searles' commitment to "social justice", this work is both brilliant and balanced. None of the Chris Matthews / Sean Hannity blustering blather, Tribe instead uses logic, facts and, yes, fairness to illuminate The Court's personalities and philosophical positions. Not for the casual
student or reader (Tribe isn't afraid of complex allusions, BIG words and very subt
...more
Marcus Vinicius
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: law
The US Supreme Court decisions give us the meaning of constitutional rights found in the US Constitution. Its precedents set the constitucional law, pointing the way in with lower courts should decide a vast array of cases. The book examined the Roberts Court, referring to the decisions adopted until the 2013/2014 term. Gender equality, the right to privacy, States and Union rights, campaign finances are some of the points explored. When two constitucional values collide in a judicial case, the ...more
 wade
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For a limited audience, this is a really good book. The authors take a detailed look at all the decisions of import made by the Roberts era Supreme Court to try to determine the direction they are going. What was interesting to me is that in only a few areas do the conservative and liberal factions vote in lock step - pro business decisions (conservatives) for instance. What we see overall is a pretty complex pattern with judges flipping sides - Roberts on Obamacare. I would say this book is a ...more
Dawn Patton
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Karen Core-Hemmingway
The book is well written. It is written so that the common citizens can understand the context of the book. I was very enlightened about the Supreme Court and how the Constitution work together to make judgments on important issues. Current day issues are used as examples which makes the reading more interesting. I still don't believe all judgments are by-partisan. I don't believe anyone person can not lean one way or the other when dealing with political issues and the Constitution. If anyone i ...more
Brian Morris
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a welcome book to counter the widespread cynicism that the Supreme Court is really just another legislative body of politicians with 5 Republicans and 4 Democrats. Of course there is some basis for this stereotype with the many recent 5 to 4 decisions, but the overall picture is much more complex and interesting as this book makes clear. But the book does confirm one stereotype in that the Roberts Court is a reliable champion of the "overdog" whether it be business, the police, or the go ...more
Guna
Jul 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, non-fiction
Have you ever wondered how Supreme Court decisions are made? This very readable book looks at several contemporary issues, such as health care and gun rights, and allows us to take a peak at the decision process. It's not what most of us think.
Book
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution by Laurence Tribe, Joshua Matz


“Uncertain Justice” is a well-researched and insightful look at the Roberts court. It will help you gain a better understanding of the nine lawyers, their philosophies, their rulings and the impact it has on our society. Legal scholar Tribe and legal writer Matz have provided the public with keen insights into some of the most important decisions of the Supreme Court. This interesting 416-page book includes
...more
Jayakrishnan
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sweeping. Contemporary. Insightful.

The popular image of the Roberts Court is that of two sharply divided ideological blocs consisting of four justices on each side with Justice Kennedy sitting on the fence swinging either way from case to case. Although some of the judgements reinforce that image, in truth, the Court is far too complex to fit into such a characterization, for sitting on it are nine remarkable individuals, each with his or her own philosophical underpinning, “high politics of con
...more
Kat
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ages-16-and-up
Let me begin by noting that I received an Advanced Reader's Copy of this from the publisher. The following are my own thoughts and rating.

I'm also writing this review as a huge Supreme Court nerd. I count The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong amongst my favourite non-fiction titles. So I enjoyed reading this very much, but I can only speak as someone who already counts the goings-on of the Court as an interest.

Unlike most other books about the U.S. Supreme Co
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JQAdams
This is an account of major cases of the Roberts Court -- the third of that genre I've read even though I'm not hugely interested in the topic (people keep recommending them to me), which may color my assessment here. This one attempted less a historical narrative than did the others, focusing instead on the legal theories animating the court's decision-making. Each chapter focuses on a different substantive area of cases (though some of those categorizations are a bit unusual -- they mostly see ...more
Jack Townsend
I really liked the book because the authors make a serious attempt to show Justices with various biases work through the really important job that they have to apply the law and the Constitution for the best interest of the country. Importantly, they show that it is not just a matter of calling balls and strikes, as Justice Roberts famously said during his confirmation hearings. Rather, it is about setting direction with deep appreciation of the historical and constitutional framework of the cou ...more
Jamie
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Densely packed with dates and case names, this book runs through the last decade of many of the most important Supreme Court decisions, tempering and explaining them with a historical context and exploring the constitutional intricacies that led to each decision. It doesn't play partisan politics, it neither praises nor vilifies any specific justice or decision, and it refrains from social commentary. It simply explains the details of the cases, then summarizes how the justices said they arrived ...more
Jeff Raymond
I'm very much a court-watcher, and really love the whole political legal process. As someone who doesn't read Tribe very often, however, I was interested but wary to go into this book.

The good news is that it's a very good recap of the last decade of the Supreme Court. It does a good job of highlighting the major cases and both sides of the discussion, giving a fair shake to most arguments and justices along the way. Even better is that Tribe, a known left wing commentator, rarely lets his ideol
...more
Mysteryfan
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-events
Lawrence Tribe is a recognized Supreme Court scholar. Joshua Matz is a frequent contributor to SCOTUSblog. Together they've written a book about the Roberts Court that is readable, thoroughly researched, and eye-opening. They clear away a number of misconceptions about the Supreme Court and each of the justices. The authors focus on nine major areas of the law and explain the basis for some of the Court's major decisions over the past five years in a nonpartisan way. It's well worth reading if y ...more
Dave
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, politics
Extremely informative, authors (and lawyers) Tribe and Matz take the reader through a few of the major decisions in the first ten years of the Roberts Court. Tribe is a nationally famous Supreme Court litigator and Matz is also deeply involved in the workings of the Court. First, although its apparent how the authors feel about the decisions discussed, I thought they did a good job of presenting the different sides of the cases in order to allow readers a reasonable shot at deciding for themselv ...more
Spencer Riehl
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think these authors do an incredible job of laying out the various threads of constitutional thought among 9 different areas of public policy/public wellfare. I think they lay out a clear articulation of the various arguments that won the day in each case, taking care not to overly add their own weight here and there. Some may dislike this, as they may view the left-leaning wing of the court to be ideologically bankrupt, or for constitutional originalism to be rotten to the core, but I came to ...more
itpdx
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating. Well written and organized. Tribe and Matz have analyzed the Robert's Court. They do it by looking at the court's rulings in a number of constitutional domains--equality, privacy, freedom of speech, gun rights, campaign finance, etc. The authors take time to set the stage with past rulings and the cases considered in a brief, readable way. They give us the rulings and dissents with nuanced explanations.

Although this was published in 2014 and some momentous decisions have been made
...more
Mary
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a law school graduate (non-practicing attorney) my interest in law is well-established, particularly with regard US Constitutional law. I found this book to be an excellent read as it covered and categorized the 600+ decisions made by the Roberts court.

I found the book to be a good balance between accessible and scholarly; although a background in law/history/government would be helpful. I am not sure that I would attempt with out one of those.

In-depth analysis of the "tough cases" that make
...more
Don
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audio version of this book. It is an invaluable guide for anyone who wants to understand the workings of the Roberts Court. Professor Tribe certainly expresses his views throughout the book, but he also presents both sides of the arguments in the cases that he describes so you can enjoy the book even if you don't always agree with him. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the Supreme Court.
Deb Holden
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An insightful look into how the individual judges of the Supreme Court think about the major decisions of the past 8 years. This book gives great into understanding where they come from and how they arrive at majority and dissenting opinions in the top cases of recent history. The authors comment, on occasion, where they believe justices correctly, incorrectly or creatively interpret the Constitution. Well worth the read.
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