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Cover Image: The Public Debate Over Controversial Supreme Court Decisions
  • Date: 11/22/2005
  • Format: Print Cloth
  • Price: $165.00
  • ISBN: 978-1-56802-937-5
  • Pages: 432
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The Public Debate Over Controversial Supreme Court Decisions
Melvin I. Urofsky, Virginia Commonwealth University

Historically, U.S. citizens have accepted most Supreme Court decisions without protest, but there have also been rulings that have aroused public anger, condemnation and defiance. These public reactions and the debates they have inspired have helped shape the social and political character of the nation.

The Public Debate Over Controversial Supreme Court Decisions explores public reaction to over forty of the most well known and contentious cases ruled upon by the Court. The renowned cases covered begin with those from early in U.S. history, such as McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) and the Dred Scott decision (1857), to recent cases that have fanned the flames of debate over current highly-charged issues such as abortion (Roe v. Wade, 1973) and homosexual rights (Lawrence v. Texas, 2003).

The book presents information through a unique integration of essays and primary source documents that bring both context and a sense of immediacy to the cases discussed. Each case entry includes:

    An informative introductory essay that explains:
  • The facts of the case;
  • The Court's ruling and its importance;
  • A brief overview of the scope and magnitude of public response, with narrative thread tying together primary sources.
    Primary source selections from a wide range of public responses, including:
  • Newspapers and magazines;
  • Public opinion polls;
  • Letters written about the case and to the justices;
  • Comments or speeches made by presidents, members of Congress, and other public figures.

The Public Debate Over Controversial Supreme Court Decisions is designed to fit into high school social studies and college curriculums. Public libraries will want this resource in their collections for any patrons who want to learn about the importance of these controversial cases in their own lives as citizens.

"Even those who have previously studied these decisions will be interested and entertained by the numerous quotations from primary sources…. Interesting, informative, and well written, The Public Debate Over Controversial Supreme Court Decisions is a useful addition to public, high school, college, and even law school libraries. It could also serve as a high school or college textbook for classes about law, legal history, or the Supreme Court." - Legal Information Alert

"The book is nicely illustrated, well written, and features a number of relevant appendixes…this work is highly recommended for high schook, college, and public libraries." 
- American Reference Books Annual
Melvin I. Urofsky, Virginia Commonwealth University

Melvin I. Urofsky is a professor emeritus of history at Virginia Commonwealth University, earning his A.B., M.A., and Ph.D. at Columbia University and his J.D. at University of Virginia. Urofsky is the author or editor of more than two dozen books on constitutional law, Supreme Court history, and religious freedoms.

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