Review by Booklist Review
Reference librarians are all too familiar with the plaint, "Do I have to read the whole thing?" voiced by patrons who do not want to labor through a long U.S. Supreme Court decision or who want some analysis of the decision but do not want to read an entire law review article. For more than 400 of the Court's most significant cases, this guide may meet such patrons' needs. Each case entry typically provides background information on the case, explains the Court's decision, explores any disagreement among the justices about the legal doctrines and societal values at stake, and offers insight into the impact the decision has had on society and on the development of the common law. Entries are arranged alphabetically and include the United States Reports citation (if this citation was not available at the time of publication, the Supreme Court Reporter citation is given), the full dates the case was argued and decided, the vote, and the authors of all opinions filed in the case. A glossary of terms, a copy of the U.S. Constitution, several appendixes charting the nominations and succession of Supreme Court justices, a case index, and a topical index complete the volume. The typeface and size of the book are user-friendly and the price is right for all libraries. However, most of the content is drawn from The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States [RBB D 1 92]. There are new entries for 47 recent cases, including some from 1998, like Clinton v. Jones. Some of the other entries have been updated to reflect changes that have occurred in the last seven years, but this seems rather spotty. The entry for Roe v. Wade has been updated to discuss the impact of the Court's 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey and its 1994 ruling in National Organization of Women v. Scheidler, but entries for Bowers v. Hardwick and Lemon v. Kurtzman have not been revised, despite important Court rulings in the areas of law addressed by these cases. Not even cross-references to the entries for the newer related cases are given. With this caveat, the inexpensive price of this book and its clearly written essays recommend it to most libraries, even those that already have the Companion.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Ohio State dean and history/law professor Hall has assembled a stellar panel of experts to distill the essence of 440 key Supreme Court decisions. The cases are discussed in alphabetical order, with each ruling placed in its historical context. The true value of the book is that the contributors take a case like Brown v. Board of Education and provide a nontechnical, well-written explanation of its significanceand manage to do so in three pages of text. In the case of Brown, the contributor, a University of Chicago law professor, provides fascinating details such as citations from Chief Justice Earl Warren's memoirs on how the decisions were written. In some cases, additional references are cited for further research. The book includes a case index, a topical index, the Constitution of the United States, an appendix listing the Justices, and a glossary of legal terms. An impressive accomplishment, this guide will be invaluable to all students of United States history and will also appeal to sophisticated readers. For all public libraries.Harry Charles, Attorney at Law, St. Louis (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.