Modern Scholar, The: Law of the Land A History of the Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court of the United States represents our most unusual and least understood branch of government. Unlike the other branches, the high court marches to an overtly legal drummer, one that demands there be cases and controversies, there be lawyers who function as adversaries, and that all arguments be made in open court. On the other hand, its justices, unlike the president and the members of Congress, are appointed. They enjoy independence from the direct winds of politics, yet no one would dispute that the justices also shape and are shaped by politics. In the end, the Court is a living, breathing institution whose members have as often as not either been vilified or praised for both the quality of their legal reasoning and the political impact of their decisions.

This course is about the high court, its justices, its traditions, and, most importantly, its impact on the American Republic.