Townhouse Books

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Supremes: Essays on the Current Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States: Barbara Perry

Really, I was on a little Supreme Court side-trip before O'Connor stepped down! That said, I'm even more interested in the Court's workings now. I mean, if you're gonna take away my right to an abortion, I'd like to know a little more about you. Scalia.

This collection serves well as a brief and engaging introduction. The essays are short (the entire book is under 200 pages) and give a good mix between basic bio, scattered personality traits, and behavior on the bench. Some of the legal passages can be a bit dry, but again...the essays are short. The book isn't really intended to function as a scholarly exploration or history of the court, but it absolutely whetted my appetite for just that sort of thing (I'm going to start A People's History of the Supreme Court soon, I think.)

So if you want to dip a toe in, I'd recommend it. If you already know some basics but want a little more bio on the Justices, I'd recommend it. If you want a hard-core look at the legal ramifications of landmark cases...you might need more.

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3 Comments:

  • Do you read Dahlia Lithwick's column on Slate?

    By Anna, at 7:07 AM  

  • "scattered personality traits"

    any sleazy tidbits? or at least interesting traits?

    By evt1618, at 9:57 AM  

  • I really like Dahlia Lithwick. She does a lot of stuff for NPR, too. (Slate ane NPR are in some sort of super-chummy relationship now, aren't they?)

    Unfortunately, it's not a tidbit kind of book. But I did learn that O'Connor briefly dated Rehnquist (this was all presented in the most genteel way). That made me think more about how insular the big-shot lawyer / politico world is. All these people go to the same schools, vie for the same clerkships, go to the same fundraisers...

    Closed Chambers supposedly has "gossipy bits". That's next, after People's History. Which, frankly, I probably won't get through quickly.

    By lillygog, at 3:57 PM  

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