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The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction
Very Short Introductions
For thirty years, Linda Greenhouse, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction, chronicled the activities of the justices as the Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times. In this concise volume, she draws on her deep knowledge of the court's history as well as of its written and unwritten rules to show the reader how the Supreme Court really works.
No mere work of civics, this is an institutional biography of a place and its people - men and women who exercise great power but whose names and faces are unrecognized by many Americans and whose work often appears cloaked in mystery.
How do cases get to the Supreme Court? How do the justices go about deciding them? What special role does the chief justice play? What do the law clerks do? How does the court relate to the other branches of government? Greenhouse answers these questions by depicting the justices as they confront deep constitutional issues or wrestle with the meaning of confusing federal statutes.
The Supreme Court today, housed in a majestic building on Capitol Hill, with more than 400 employees, bears little resemblance to the ill-defined institution the Constitution's Framers launched with the expectation that it would be the weakest, "least dangerous," of the three branches. The court put to use the independence the Framers gave it, and in many ways has continued to define itself. This book is the court's story.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"[A] new one-of-a-kind book on the Supreme Court." --SCOTUSblog
"Linda Greenhouse has long been one of the most astute observers of the U.S. Supreme Court and most trusted translators of its mysteries and traditions. This elegant and concise guide is invaluable for beginners and veteran court watchers alike. An ideal introduction to the Court for students and citizens of all ages." --Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law, George Washington University, and legal affairs editor, The New Republic
"There is hardly anyone in the country, outside the Court, who knows the institution and its practices as well as Linda Greenhouse does."--Melvin I. Urofsky, author of Louis D. Brandeis: A Life
"Greenhouse cogently illustrates the history, functions, composition and importance of the Supreme Court. In a slim volume that you can literally carry around in your pocket, you will find a wealth of knowledge." --Yale Daily News
"[A]n amuse-bouche of a book . . . short, but pithy. After finishing this book, readers should be inspired to take up [Greenhouse's] implicit invitation to read about the Court and its impact on shaping American law in a more substantial, meatier format." --Judicature
"For those interested in how cases come to be heard by the Court, the process leading to a decision and the Court's relationship with the other branches of the federal government and the public, this is an excellent way to begin." --Washington Independent Review of Books