Court Starts Soon: Book Suggestions for Your Spare Time!

September 29, 2014

Court starts in six days, on Monday, October 6. I’m sure it’ll be another rock ‘em, sock ‘em year, with plenty of big deal stuff coming late in the spring of 2015. In the meantime, Mark Rubin Writes will keep you informed.

For the last Tuesday post before the opening day, I’m offering a short list of books about matters broadly associated with the Supreme Court. My list is very eclectic, and it focuses on lesser known treasures. Here goes:

Chef Supreme is a cookbook/homage to Martin Ginsburg, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s late husband. Marty Ginsburg was a legend in the field of tax law as a practitioner, professor, and as the co-author of Mergers, Acquisitions, and Buyouts, a five-volume treatise. (No link; if you want need it you already have it.) Mr. Ginsburg was also an exceptional chef, and it’s that talent that prompted Clare Cushman, the publications director for the Supreme Court Historical Society, to bring the project to fruition. The recipes are challenging, but the real delight rests with learning about an extraordinary man and a great marriage.

Miranda:  The Story of America’s Right to Remain Silent by Gary Stuart is a great book for at least three reasons. First, it deals with a very important—maybe even a pervasive—issue deeply, both in the 1960s and the early 2000s. Really deeply! Second, the author “takes you there,” surely in significant measure because he knows/knew and practiced with and before many of the players in the case. (Disclosure:  Gary is a good friend, a regular MRW reader, and he knows nothing about this plug.) Third, if you are from Arizona and, especially, if you practice law here or know something about Arizona attorneys, you’ll recognize many names. Some of the finest attorneys in Arizona played a role in Miranda v. Arizona.

Akil Amar is a law professor at Yale, and a very talented writer for lay readers. (That includes me, for I rarely deal with constitutional law questions.) I very much enjoyed America’s Constitution:  A Biography, published in 2006. (Professor Amar analyzes the history and development of each and every section, clause by clause, word by word.) Sitting on my shelf is America’s Unwritten Constitution:  The Precedents and Principles We Live By. It’s dense, but a quick perusal tells me it’ll be worth my time.

Thomas Healy has recently written The Great Dissent, which tells the story about how Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ dissent in Abrams v. United States formed the bedrock for modern First Amendment law. Another book—albeit shorter than the Amar book—which I need to get to.

Finally, with the end of the 162-game regular season and playoffs upon us, fall baseball and the beginning of Court now overlap. That segues to the last book on my list, A Well-Paid Slave by Brad Snyder. (Unfortunately, it’s also on the “to be read” shelf.) Flood v. Kuhn involved Curt Flood, a star for the St. Louis Cardinals who was traded and decided to test a team’s right to “sell” him, and Bowie Kuhn, the baseball commissioner. Baseball won the case but, in the end, the unfettered ownership of players ended. This book has gotten great reviews, and I’m looking forward to it!

Well, I’m a bit embarrassed by the fact that I haven’t read three of my listed books. Still, I’m confident about them, and hope you’ll consider any or all of them. And, for a lagniappe, get The Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court Revisited:  Brandeis to Fortas, edited by Jennifer Lowe, with essays about Justices Lewis Brandeis, Benjamin Nathan Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg, and Abe Fortas, and with a preface by Justice Breyer and an introduction from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It’s short, I’ve read it from beginning to end, and it’s excellent!

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