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I Dissent : Great Opposing Opinions in Landmark Supreme Court Cases
American history can be traced in part through the words of the majority decisions in landmark Supreme Court cases. Now, for the first time, one of the most distinguished Supreme Court scholars has gathered famous dissents as he considers a provocative question: how might our history appear now if these cases in the highest court in the country had turned out differently?
The surprising answer Tushnet offers: not all that different. Tushnet introduces and explains sixteen influential cases from throughout the Court's history, putting them into political context and offering a sense of what could have developed if the dissents were instead the majority opinions. Ultimately, Tushnet demonstrates that the words of Supreme Court justices are only one piece of a larger puzzle that defines what the Constitution means to us. We should not value their opinions over other pieces, such as social movements, politics, economics, and more.
Written in accessible and lively language, edited with a lay readership in mind, I Dissent offers an invaluable collection for anyone interested in American history and how we define constitutional rights. By placing the Supreme Court back into the framework of the government rather than viewing it as a near-sacred body issuing final decisions that cannot be questioned, Tushnet provides a radically fresh view of the judiciary and a new approach to reading the overlooked writings of major contentious figures from throughout American history.
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April 14, 2008
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