Review by Choice Review
One of the hardest things for undergraduates to grasp is the sheer power and force of law that US Supreme Court decisions have on their lives. Mauro, in this fine introduction to recent and landmark decisions of the Court, evinces a broad understanding of the effects it has on all areas of government and social doctrine. Particularly useful are the brief biographies of all current and former Supreme Court justices as well as the succession charts underscoring the historical makeup and leanings of the Court. Every decision, listed alphabetically by case name, contains the FindLaw URL for locating the specific online decision of the Court. With Mauro's overview of the decision and social background of the case and an Internet connection, one can easily begin an undergraduate-level paper concerning many areas of political science or government. Although this volume, which covers 88 cases, is not as extensive in scope as Kermit L. Hall's Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (CH, Mar'93) or Donald E. Lively's Landmark Supreme Court Cases (Ch, Feb'00), the perspective of Mauro's "impact" summaries is invaluable. Recommended for college, university, and public libraries. R. H. McDonald; Auburn University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
The 88 decisions included in this volume are intended as an introduction to the work of the Supreme Court. The author, a court journalist, views the selected cases, most covering civil and First Amendment decisions, as snapshots of American history between 1824 and 1999. Timely issues such as environmental law, zoning regulations, and gay rights are represented. Among the cases that are covered are Veronia School District 47J v. Acton (1995), upholding the right of public school systems to require random drug testing for student athletes, and Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. (1926), which gave constitutional protection to the concept of zoning, in addition to the familiar Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Clinton v. Jones, and Roe v. Wade. The entry for each case is at least two pages long and gives the date, the court citation, and the FindLaw Web site address. The decision is summarized in a short paragraph followed by the background and facts of the case, the court's reasoning and vote, and excerpts from the decision. The impact of the decision is discussed, and decisions that have been modified or overturned are so noted. Cases are arranged alphabetically, but a topical list provides quick access to the impact of rulings in particular areas of law. A concise introductory essay explains the process of the Supreme Court. Appendixes include the Constitution, a list of justices from the court's beginning, a succession chart of court seats, and a bibliography. There is also a list of online sources that give the full text of court decisions. Illustrations include portraits of some justices and plaintiffs, political cartoons, and photographs related to specific cases. The content is not as broad as in other titles on Supreme Court decisions, such as the publisher's two-volume Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court (3d ed., 1997). However, the goal here is not to provide a cumulative record of cases but to illustrate the impact the court decisions have on American society. Some understanding of the legislative and judicial branches of government is helpful, but secondary-school and public libraries will find this title to be a useful quick-reference tool and a good starting point for student's research.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.