Throwbacklist Thursday

supreme courtSupreme Court justices have stirred up controversy since the early days of the Republic, those days of yore when members of the court attended to their duties in gigantic powdered wigs and dropped Latin insults into their dissents to show off. Replacing the late Antonin Scalia promises to whip up a great deal of disputation in the coming months as filling the SC vacancy dovetails with a presidential election.

Need to bone up on your facts about the Supremes? We offer the ur-knowledge that will make you the hit of the spring barbeques and allow you to get the goat of obnoxious uncle at the Independence Day family reunion. It’s as easy as putting your right hand on a clutch of UIP offerings.

bezanson religionHow Free Can Religion Be?, by Randall P. Bezanson
Whoever our current political system places on the Supreme Court, he or she or ze will someday rule on an aspect of the religious guarantees in the First Amendment. Randall P. Bezanson discusses eight provocative past Supreme Court decisions on faith, presenting new problems and revisiting some old ones as well: the purported belief of polygamy in the Mormon Church; state support for religious schools; the teaching of evolution and creationism in public schools; Amish claims for exemption from compulsory education laws; comparable claims for Native American religion in relation to drug laws; and rights of free speech and equal access by religious groups in colleges and public schools.

Bush v. Gore, by Jerry Goldman [UIP compact disc series]
Sometime around the fall of 2047, UIP will publish a holo-book on Antonin Scalia’s career, and the Bush v. Gore case will no doubt get a chapter all its own. Whatever one’s own feelings on the decision, Bush v. Gore undoubtedly changed history when it decided the 2000 presidential election. This UIP set invites you to reflect on the entire proceedings, from the initial petitions urging the Supreme Court review through the briefs and reply briefs to the Court’s opinions and dissents. More than that, you get to listen to what is going on. The Supreme Court comes alive as individuals passionately involved in the logic, emotions, precedents, and consequences of law in the United States argue one of the most controversial legal decisions in American history.

denivrDemocracy’s Constitution: Claiming the Privileges of American Citizenship, by John Denvir
John Denvir discusses how key U.S. Supreme Court decisions bear on the realization of democracy in America and how a new interpretation of the privileges or immunities clause could give the Constitution a more democratic cast, one more consistent with the basic moral premise of the Declaration of Independence. Advocating reforms in funding for education and campaign financing, as well as large-scale government work programs, he indicates how full implementation of the political rights of free speech and the vote could facilitate the implementation of the social rights to work and education.

erickson and simonThe Use of Social Science Data in Supreme Court Decisions, by Rosemary J. Erickson and Rita J. Simon
Concentrating on decisions involving abortion, sex discrimination, and sexual harassment, they show that the use of social science data started to increase in the Seventies, but that the data’s use by the court hinges more on the judges’ liberal, conservative, or long-held positions and the types of cases involved than on the objectivity or validity of the data. Offering insights into how data are used by the Supreme Court, the authors show social scientists how to make their research more suitable for courtroom use and to show the legal community how such data can be used more effectively.