Saturday, August 29, 2009

Book Review: The Great Decision

Title The Great Decision: Jefferson, Adams, Marshall, and the Battle for the Supreme Court
Author Cliff Sloan
Rating ****
Tags supreme court, non-fiction, judicial review, john marshall, thomas jefferson 

Well told story of perhaps the most important Supreme Court decision in United State history, the one that determined that the Supreme Court had the power of judicial review. In other words, it established the Supreme Court as a co-equal branch of government with the power to decide if laws passed by Congress were constitutional or not.

The two antagonists in Marbury vs. Madison were Chief Justice John Marshall, a Federalist appointed by John Adams, who had served as Adams' Secretary of State, and Thomas Jefferson, President of the United State, and a Republican. The authors give a nice sense of the personalities, the parties, and the legal issues involved. They argue that the legacy of an independent judiciary is America's greatest legal legacy, and quote the following from a Russian judge:

"I like my wine French, my beer German, my vodka Russian, and my judicial institutions American."

The book has extensive notes, a good index, and the full text of the Marbury vs. Madison decision.

Other authors


McKean, David
Publication PublicAffairs (2009), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 288 pages
Publication date 2009
ISBN 1586484265 / 9781586484262

Posted via web from reannon's posterous

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