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This fascinating book reveals the complex history of the Court as told through seven pivotal decisions. These cases originally seemed narrow in scope, but they vastly expanded the interpretation of law. Such is the power of judicial review to make sweeping, often unforeseen, changes in American society by revising the meaning of our Constitution.
Each chapter presents an easy-to-listen-to brief on the case and explains what the decisions mean and how the Court ruling, often a 5-4 split, had long-term impact. For example, in Lochner v. New York, a widely accepted turn-of-the-20th-century New York State law limited excessive overtime for bakery workers. That law was overturned by the Court based on the due process clause of the Constitution. The very same precedents, Stewart points out, were used by the Court 70 years later and expanded to a new right to privacy in Rose v. Wade making abortion legal in the nation.
Filled with insight, commentary, and compelling stories of ordinary citizens coming to the judiciary for remedy for the problems of their day, Supreme Power illustrates the magnitude of the Court's power to interpret the Constitution and decide the law of the land.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jean on 01-19-18
When reading this book, the reader needs to take into consideration that Federal District Court Judge Ted Stewart is looking at the cases from his own conservative philosophy. His end point also represents his personal conservative viewpoint. The author apparently is not pleased with what he sees in the performance of the Third Branch of government.
Stewart has chosen seven cases to make his point. Judge Stewart bemoans the ascendency of Federal power over State Rights. This is an old debate going back to the founding of this country. He begins with some attempts at neutral analysis. But quickly his viewpoints on gender and race equality, sexual orientation, individual rights and separation of church and state reveal his true views and discard any pretension of neutral viewpoints.
As I am always attempting to understand various people’s viewpoints. I found the book interesting. But, I would have preferred this discussion from an analytical neutral viewpoint. I would have preferred an academic discussion. It is apparent that Judge Stewart believes that the Supreme Court (Judicial section of government) has overstepped its role in the balance of power. I tend to disagree with and believe that it is the legislative branch that is failing to do its job. I do agree with Judge Stewart that the Federal Commerce Laws have overstepped the intended role of that department. The Federal Commerce Department has duplicated state laws. Judge Stewart pointed out that a person can be tried and convicted in both the Federal and State courts for the same crime nullifying the double jeopardy law. I was not aware of this and I believe it should be corrected.
I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is just over seven hours. Art Allen does a good job narrating the book. This is the first time I have listened to Allen narrate a book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Joseph Igla on 11-04-17
Polemical, downright ridiculous at times
Pretty early in the book it becomes clear that this isn’t as much a history of pivotal court cases and the justices who decided them. It’s actually a polemic on the evils of an over powerful judiciary branch. Some of the chapters are quite interesting, and the argument that the Supreme Court has deviated from the intentions of the founders is well-made. However, at least two large chapters of this book diverge into a strange moralistic tangent. Talking about the establishment of religion clause in the Constitution, the author makes the absurd leap of logic that because many of the founders said that Americans were to be a religious people, then a secular government is the same as endorsing immorality. In the chapter about the recent Supreme Court decision about homosexual marriage, the author spends about 15 minutes in a ridiculous “hypothetical America” where there isn’t swearing on television, women don’t get pregnant out of wedlock or have abortions, and even evil people don’t commit evil publicly because they don’t want to upset conventional morality. Then the author claims this was in fact the world of the 1950’s before American culture started changing for the worse. Oh brother. My eyes practically rolled back out of my skull.
There are better histories of American law out there, written by authors without a chip on their shoulder and an agenda to push.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful