Paper $22.00 ISBN: 9780226556871 Published July 2010
Cloth $63.00 ISBN: 9780226556864 Published July 2010
E-book $10.00 to $22.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226556833 Published July 2010 Also Available From

The American Supreme Court

Fifth Edition

Robert G. McCloskey

The American Supreme Court

Robert G. McCloskey

Revised by Sanford Levinson
368 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2010
Paper $22.00 ISBN: 9780226556871 Published July 2010
Cloth $63.00 ISBN: 9780226556864 Published July 2010
E-book $10.00 to $22.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226556833 Published July 2010

Celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, Robert McCloskey’s classic work on the Supreme Court’s role in constructing the U.S. Constitution has introduced generations of students to the workings of our nation’s highest court. For this new fifth edition, Sanford Levinson extends McCloskey’s magisterial treatment to address the Court’s most recent decisions.

As in prior editions, McCloskey’s original text remains unchanged. In his historical interpretation, he argues that the strength of the Court has always been its sensitivity to the changing political scene, as well as its reluctance to stray too far from the main currents of public sentiments. In two revised chapters, Levinson shows how McCloskey’s approach continues to illuminate developments since 2005, including the Court’s decisions in cases arising out of the War on Terror, which range from issues of civil liberty to tests of executive power. He also discusses the Court’s skepticism regarding campaign finance regulation; its affirmation of the right to bear arms; and the increasingly important nomination and confirmation process of Supreme Court justices, including that of the first Hispanic justice, Sonia Sotomayor.

The best and most concise account of the Supreme Court and its place in American politics, McCloskey's wonderfully readable book is an essential guide to the past, present, and future prospects of this institution.


Preface to the Fifth Edition


Preface to the First Edition       

One      The Genesis and Nature of Judicial Power

Two     The Establishment of the Right to Decide: 1789–1810              

Three   The Marshall Court and the Shaping of the Nation: 1810–1835            

Four     The Court under Taney: The Natural History of Judicial Prestige                       

Five      Constitutional Evolution in the Gilded Age: 1865–1900             

Six       The Judiciary and the Regulatory State: 1900–1937                 

Seven   The Modern Court and Postwar America: 1937–1959             

Eight     Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, and the Supreme Court                  

Nine     Judicial Monitoring of the New American Welfare State                       

Epilogue: The Court of Today and the Lessons of History                     


Important Dates                       

Bibliographical Essay               


Review Quotes
B. K. Pinaire, Lehigh University | Choice

“One must exercise caution with such a charge, but this work is genuinely a must-have book.”

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