What do you think about these days when you hear the words, “Supreme Court?” Salacious news coverage of the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh? Gushing profiles of feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg? High school and vaguely recalled lectures about cases the details of which you dutifully read (or didn’t and flunked the test on) like McCulloch v. Maryland or Marbury v. Madison?
Or, in this age on the Coronavirus and the sudden need to determine as a citizen what the respective powers of governors and presidents are in times of crisis, are you suddenly aware that a grasp of seemingly arcane terms like “enumerated powers” is imperative for each and every one of us and not just constitutional scholars?
Are you suddenly out of a job and thinking now of attending law school and are not sure you could master the material? Have you suddenly found yourself homeschooling a bright late adolescent in need of a text and an associated online resource about the key legal cases that have determined our destiny as a nation and affect virtually every aspect of our individual lives? Do you simply want a solid but approachable book that provides vignettes of crucial moments of American legal, social and political history? Want to know under what pretexts a local government can seize your house?
Have I got the book and online study guide for you: An Introduction to Constitutional Law: 100 Supreme Court Cases Everyone Should Know (Wolter Kluwer, 2019) by Josh Blackman and Randy E. Barnett—published in 2019. Randy Barnett is one of the leading constitutional scholars of our time. He and his co-author Blackman have boiled down to a handy hundred what they believe are the cases that most matter—some of which are notorious (or what they term, “anti-canonical”). Let’s see if you agree with their picks. Give a listen.
Hope J. Leman is a grants researcher.