I Dissent: Great Opposing Opinions in Landmark Supreme Court Cases

I Dissent: Great Opposing Opinions in Landmark Supreme Court Cases

Language: English

Pages: 229

ISBN: 0807000361

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

For the first time, a collection of dissents from the most famous Supreme Court cases

If American history can truly be traced through the majority decisions in landmark Supreme Court cases, then what about the dissenting opinions? In issues of race, gender, privacy, workers' rights, and more, would advances have been impeded or failures rectified if the dissenting opinions were in fact the majority opinions?

In offering thirteen famous dissents-from Marbury v. Madison and Brown v. Board of Education to Griswold v. Connecticut and Lawrence v. Texas, each edited with the judges' eloquence preserved-renowned Supreme Court scholar Mark Tushnet reminds us that court decisions are not pronouncements issued by the utterly objective, they are in fact political statements from highly intelligent but partisan people. Tushnet introduces readers to the very concept of dissent in the courts and then provides useful context for each case, filling in gaps in the Court's history and providing an overview of the issues at stake. After each case, he considers the impact the dissenting opinion would have had, if it had been the majority decision.

Lively and accessible, I Dissent offers a radically fresh view of the judiciary in a collection that is essential reading for anyone interested in American history.


















have effects in others. At the same time, Jackson’s attention to the states’ own regulatory powers would caution against expansive claims on Congress’s behalf. A Jacksonian might raise questions about national regulation of workplace safety, for example. A contemporary “Jacksonian” government might look a lot like the one we have, but it might instead leave much of what the national government does today to the states. 29 This page intentionally left blank chapter 3 “Among those for whom and

referring to the Missouri Compromise of 1820, in which Northerners agreed to allow slavery in newly acquired territories—and new states—in Missouri and below, and Southerners agreed to a prohibition on slavery northward. Managing the slavery issue through politics became increasingly awkward for the South over the next decades. South Car- 31 32 i dissent olina’s John C. Calhoun developed a novel constitutional theory, which would have required Southern agreement to any policy affecting the

happen. But it should be no surprise that it does not happen often. After all, the reasons you gave last year did not persuade them then, and—unless something new has happened (an important qualification)—it is hard to see why those very same reasons should suddenly persuade them now. • You might say to yourself that you have a duty to apply the entire body of law, including last year’s precedent, and that, when you do so, this year’s speech is covered by the Court’s (erroneous) principle. So, you

argument that the statute of Louisiana does not discriminate against either race, but prescribes a rule applicable alike to white and colored citizens. But this argument does not meet the difficulty. Every one knows that the statute in question had its origin in the purpose, not so much to exclude white persons from railroad cars occupied by blacks, as to exclude colored people from coaches occupied by or assigned to white persons. Railroad corporations of Louisiana did not make discrimination

flatteringly, omnicompetence to judges. The Framers of the Constitution persistently rejected a proposal that embodied this assumption and Thomas Jefferson never entertained it. Recent legislation, creating a district appropriately described as “an atrocity of ingenuity,” is not unique. Considering the gross inequality among legislative electoral units within almost every State, the Court naturally shrinks from asserting that in districting at least substantial equality is a constitutional

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