Reference Shelf: The Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court probes the extraordinary power of nine justices to shape not only the public sphere but the most intimate realms of American life. In recent years the court has decided such vital political questions as the validity of presidential election results, whether limits on political campaign spending constitute restraint of constitutionally protected free speech, and who can exercise the right to vote. It has also adjudicated cases striking to the heart of the most private decisions we make: who has the right to marry whom, and whether and under what circumstances a woman may terminate a pregnancy. Yet despite the court’s direct impact on our lives, its workings appear mysterious; to many citizens, its traditions seem arcane and its language opaque. Even while the court is inherently a political institution, its integrity—its freedom from political pressure or partisanship and from the corrupting influences of money—is a matter of utmost importance to us all. This volume examines the court and its workings; surveys the major decisions of our era, from Bush v Gore (2001) to Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission (2010); traces the evolution of the court and of federal policy on Americans’ constitutionally protected rights; and addresses public perceptions on these issues.
- Presidential Election Results
- Campaign Spending
- Right to Marry
- Major Decisions, including Bush v Gore