Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion

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Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion

Format:  Hardcover,

674 pages

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Publish Date: Oct 2010

ISBN-13: 9780547149257

ISBN-10: 0547149255

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A sweeping insider look at the life of William Brennan, champion of free speech and widely considered the most influential Supreme Court justice of the twentieth century

Before his death, William Brennan granted Stephen Wermiel access to volumes of personal and court materials that are sealed to the public until 2017. These are what Jeffrey Toobin has called "a coveted set of documents" that includes Brennan's case histories--in which he recorded strategies behind all the major battles of the past half century, including "Roe v. Wade," affirmative action, the death penalty, obscenity law, and the constitutional right to privacy--as well as more personal documents that reveal some of Brennan's curious contradictions, like his refusal to hire female clerks even as he wrote groundbreaking women's rights decisions; his complex stance as a justice and a Catholic; and details on Brennan's unprecedented working relationship with Chief Justice Earl Warren. Wermiel distills decades of valuable information into a seamless, riveting portrait of the man behind the Court's most liberal era.

Specifications

Author:
Author:
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publish Date: Oct 2010
ISBN-13: 9780547149257
ISBN-10: 0547149255
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 674
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 2.1
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.38 x 1.85 x 9.28

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2010-09-15)

Stern, a Congressional Quarterly reporter, and Wermiel (fellow in law & government, American Univ. Washington Coll. of Law), a former Wall Street Journal reporter, team up to chronicle the career of U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, who served on the high bench from 1956 to 1990. Working from a repository of newly released documents and interviews with friends, family, colleagues, and Brennan himself, the authors show how he staked a liberal claim in the progressive side of the Warren Court, often invoking civil rights and privacy protections for minorities, women, and the working class.

Especially revealing and insightful are revelations about the Court's inner workings, how the justices arrive at their decisions, and the infrequent yet riveting confrontations between Brennan and his conservative counterparts. The book is a historian's guide to the tactics and strategies behind many of the era's battles over the extent of constitutional rights and the legal struggles over such contentious issues as desegregation, affirmative action, school prayer, the death penalty, and abortion.

Verdict: Aimed at a scholarly audience, this is highly recommended for academic, law, and larger public libraries.

-Philip Y. Blue, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Law Lib., First Judicial Dist., New York

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book description

A sweeping insider look at the life of William Brennan, champion of free speech and widely considered the most influential Supreme Court justice of the twentieth century

Before his death, William Brennan granted Stephen Wermiel access to volumes of personal and court materials that are sealed to the public until 2017. These are what Jeffrey Toobin has called “a coveted set of documents” that includes Brennan’s case histories—in which he recorded strategies behind all the major battles of the past half century, including Roe v. Wade, affirmative action, the death penalty, obscenity law, and the constitutional right to privacy—as well as more personal documents that reveal some of Brennan's curious contradictions, like his refusal to hire female clerks even as he wrote groundbreaking women’s rights decisions; his complex stance as a justice and a Catholic; and details on Brennan’s unprecedented working relationship with Chief Justice Earl Warren. Wermiel distills decades of valuable information into a seamless, riveting portrait of the man behind the Court's most liberal era.

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