Mary Anne's Reviews > The Law of the Land: A History of the Supreme Court

The Law of the Land by Kermit L. Hall
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's review
Dec 04, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: audio-book, library, non-fiction

A Table of Contents:
Lecture 1: The Judicial Power, and the Ages of the Supreme Court
Lecture 2: The Establishment of Judicial Review: Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Lecture 3: Privilege and Creative Destruction: Charles River Bridge v Warren Bridge (1837)
Lecture 4: Equality, Slavery and the Supreme Court: Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)
Lecture 5: Native American Sovereignty and the Constitution: Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock (1903)
Lecture 6: Liberty to Contract in the Industrial Age: Lochner v. New York (1905)
Lecture 7: Clear and Present Danger, the First Amendment, and Total War: Abrams v. United States (1919)
Lecture 8: A Switch in Time?: West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1937)
Lecture 9: Japanese Internment and Total War: Korematsu v. United States (1944)
Lecture 10: Simple Justice: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954, 1955)
Lecture 11: Abortion, Women, and Equality: Roe v. Wade (1973)
Lecture 12: Presidential Immunity and Watergate: United States v. Nixon (1974)
Lecture 13: The Boundaries of Discrimination: Regents of the Uni. of CA v. Bakke (1978)
Lecture 14: The Ten Greatest Justices in the History of the Supreme Court

I stumbled upon this at the library and thought it might be quite interesting. There's certainly been a lot of hullabaloo regarding the court and choosing judges in the past decade, and in particularly I am interested in how the high court considered DOMA and Proposition 8 from California.

I confess that I honestly did not remember some of the rulings that I really should have. Most of them were completely unknown to me. I went in with little expectation about what I would hear, so half-hour coverage of each case made sense: a brief background regarding where the country was, some bare specifics about the case, the makeup of the court, the ruling, and direct and indirect effects.

One thing that has been interesting: I'm also currently reading Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen, and at this point in the book the author talks about how we occasionally brush over less positive aspects of our history. Hall seems to be fairly objective in this set of lectures, "objective" in the sense that he comments in terms of conservative and liberal vantage points, and I like that he troubles some concepts, aka racism isn't entirely gone, and Brown v. Board of Education didn't solve everything and we're still trying to fix things. He's also unapologetic in regards to some of the personality quirks/biases of the judges (okay maybe he's a little liberal-sounding there). But I feel like I have a better understanding of the history of the USA and our reliance on the Constitution, "for better or for worse."

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Reading Progress

December 4, 2012 – Shelved
December 4, 2012 – Shelved as: audio-book
December 4, 2012 – Shelved as: library
December 4, 2012 – Shelved as: non-fiction
December 26, 2012 – Started Reading
December 27, 2012 –
December 31, 2012 –
January 4, 2013 –
70.0% "Strangely liking this."
January 7, 2013 – Finished Reading

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