This fascinating history underscores the importance of “little people” in affecting the U.S. government. It stresses the courage of a black man, Rosco Jones, and a white woman, Grace Marsh, who dared to challenge the status quo in Alabama in the early 1940s. These two Jehovah’s Witnesses helped to lay a foundation for testing the constitutionality of state and local laws, establishing precedents that the Civil Rights movement, the feminist movement, and similar forces could follow. Newton has prepared a finely woven tale of oral, legal, and social history that opens a window on the world of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Alabama.
But the book is more than a legal study; it is also a dramatic history of two powerful personalities whose total commitment to their faith enabled them to carry the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ battle from rural Alabama to the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) claim to advocate minority political interests, yet they disagree over the intent and scope of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), as well as the interpretation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Whereas the Court promotes color-blind policies, the CBC advocates race-based remedies. Setting this debate in the context of the history of black political thought, Rivers examines a series of high-profile districting cases, from Rodgers v. Lodge (1982) through NAMUDNO v. Holder (2009). She evaluates the competing approaches to racial equality and concludes, surprisingly, that an originalist, race-conscious interpretation of the 14th Amendment, along with a revised states' rights position regarding electoral districting, may better serve minority political interests.
The Supreme Courts decisions concerning the first amendment are hotly debated, and the controversy shows no signs of abating as additional cases come before the court. Adding much-needed historical and philosophical background to the discussion, Richard J. Regan reconsiders some of the most important Supreme Court cases regarding the establishment clause and the free exercise of religion.
The U.S. Supreme Court, with its controlled, highly institutionalized decision-making practices, provides an ideal environment for studying coalition formation. The process begins during the oral argument stage, which provides the justices with their first opportunity to hear one another's attitudes and concerns specific to a case. This information gathering allows them eventually to form a coalition.
In order to uncover the workings of this process, the authors analyze oral argument transcripts from every case decided from 1998 through 2007 as well as the complete collection of notes kept during oral arguments by Justice Lewis F. Powell and Justice Harry A. Blackmun. Both justices clearly monitored their fellow justices' participation in the discussion and used their observations to craft opinions their colleagues would be likely to support. This study represents a major step forward in the understanding of coalition formation, which is a crucial aspect of many areas of political debate and decision making.
The U.S. Supreme Court—at least until Bush v. Gore—had seemed to float along in an apolitical haze in the mind of the electorate. It was the executive branch and the legislative branch that mucked about in politics getting dirty, the judicial branch kept its robes—and nose—clean. The U.S. Supreme Court and the Electoral Process makes it abundantly clear however that before, during, and after the judicial decision that made George W. Bush the President of the United States, everything was, is, and will likely be, politics-including the decisions handed down by the highest court in the land.
This revised and updated edition takes into account not only the recent famous (or infamous, depending on the reader's point of view) judicial decision on the Presidency, but a myriad of others as well in which the U.S. Supreme Court has considered the constitutionality of a wide range of issues involving voting and elections, representation, and political participation. Practitioners and academics in both law and political science examine a number of court actions that directly affect how we choose those who govern us, and how those decisions have affected our electoral politics, constitutional doctrine, and the fundamental concepts of democracy, including: racial redistricting, term limits, political patronage, campaign finance regulations, third-party ballot access, and state ballot initiatives limiting civil liberties.
Of the first edition, CHOICE said, The U.S. Supreme Court and the Electoral Process "plumbs the Supreme Court's constitutive apolitical role as 'primary shaper of the electoral system' and reveals the pervasive involvement of the Court in the political process."