May It Please the Court: Courts, Kids, and the Constitution

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9781565846135: May It Please the Court: Courts, Kids, and the Constitution

Until The New Press first published May It Please the Court in 1993, few Americans knew that every case argued before the Supreme Court since 1955 had been recorded. The original book-and-tape set was a revelation to readers and reviewers, quickly becoming a bestseller and garnering praise across the nation.


May It Please the Court includes both live recordings and transcripts of oral arguments in twenty-three of the most significant cases argued before the Supreme Court in the second half of the twentiethcentury. This edition makes the recordings available on an MP3 audio CD. Through the voices of some of the nation’s most important lawyers and justices, including Thurgood Marshall, Archibald Cox, and Earl Warren, it offers a chance to hear firsthand our justice system at work, in the highest court of the land.


Cases included: Gideon v. Wainwright (right to counsel) Abington School District v. Schempp (school prayer) Miranda v. Arizona (“the right to remain silent”) Roe v. Wade (abortion rights) Edwards v. Aguillard (teaching “creationism”) Regents v. Bakke (reverse discrimination) Wisconsin v. Yoder (compulsory schooling for the Amish) Tinker v. Des Moines (Vietnam protest in schools) Texas v. Johnson (flag burning) New York Times v. United States (Pentagon Papers) Cox v. Louisiana (civil rights demonstrations) Communist Party v. Subversive Activities Control Board (freedom of association) Terry v. Ohio (“stop and frisk” by police) Gregg v. Georgia (capital punishment) Cooper v. Aaron (Little Rock school desegregation) Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (public accommodations) Palmer v. Thompson (swimming pool integration) Loving v. Virginia (interracial marriage) San Antonio v. Rodriguez (equal funding for public schools) Bowers v. Hardwick (homosexual rights) Baker v. Carr (“one person, one vote”) United States v. Nixon (Watergate tapes) DeShaney v. Winnebago County (child abuse)


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About the Author:

Peter H. Irons is emeritus professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of numerous books on the Supreme Court and constitutional litigation, including Jim Crow’s Children: The Broken Promise of the Brown Decision and A People’s History of the Supreme Court. He is a co-editor of May It Please the Court: The Most Significant Oral Arguments Made Before the Supreme Court Since 1955 (with Stephanie Guitton), May It Please the Court: The First Amendment: Live Recordings and Transcripts of the Oral Arguments Made Before the Supreme Court in Sixteen Key First Amendment Cases, and May It Please the Court: Courts, Kids, and the Constitution: Live Recordings and Transcripts of Sixteen Supreme Court Oral Arguments on the Constitutional Rights of Students and Teachers, all published by The New Press. He has also contributed to numerous law reviews and other journals. He was chosen in 1988 as the first Raoul Wallenberg Distinguished Visiting Professor of Human Rights at Rutgers University. He has been invited to lecture on constitutional law and civil liberties at the law schools of Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, and Stanford and at more than twenty other schools. In addition to his academic work, Irons has been active in public affairs. He is a practicing civil rights and liberties attorney and was lead counsel in the 1980s in the successful effort to reverse the World War II criminal convictions of Japanese Americans who had challenged the curfew and relocation orders. He was also elected to two terms on the national board of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Stephanie Guitton is a graduate of the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program at the University of California, Berkeley. She has a law degree from the University of Poitiers in France.

From Publishers Weekly:

In 1993, political science professor Irons (UC San Diego) launched May It Please the Court, a series of sets of audiocassettes and transcripts of seminal Supreme Court sessions (the Court started taping its sessions in 1955 but until the first volume of May It Please the Court had restricted access to the tapes). This fourth installment features oral arguments in 16 cases implicating the constitutional rights of students and teachers in middle and high schools. The cases range widely from topics like busing and school prayer to drug testing, newspaper censorship and corporal punishment. Some of these cases set important legal precedents, such as Goss v. Lopez, which determined the due process rights of students facing suspension. Other cases present tricky factual issues that leave the law uncertain, such as New Jersey v. T.L.O., which addressed how far a principal may go in searching a student's purse. But students and general readers will have no trouble following even the knottiest arguments, thanks to Irons's plainspoken narration, crisp editing and occasional forthright asides. Both tapes and text include excerpts from oral arguments made before the Court, questions by the justices and majority and dissenting opinions. Readers and listeners will be enlightened, and entertained as well, as sparks fly between passionate, sometimes tongue-tied lawyers and the testy justices grilling them from the bench. (Two justices stand outAThurgood Marshall, for his pointed and witty exchanges, and Antonin Scalia, who interrupts both lawyers and fellow justices with caustic rhetoric). Irons occasionally fails to identify which justice is speaking, attributing his or her question merely to the "Court," but this one flaw does not detract significantly from a valuable, even noble project. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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