Just found this older list that I planned to do short takes on, but now have returned the books and don’t recall much so have to recheck out, but here is the list for your consideration. Some duplicates with other posts may occur if I did manage to do some write ups but I am too lazy too check each one.
For some reason, the links to a lot of the books are gone. I may have missed one or two, but I KNOW I DID NOT MISS all the ones now missing GoodReads links, darn it. So I’m sorry, but I am not going to spend another hour or more redoing them when I don’t know why they disappeared in the first place.
Illustrated Great Decisions of the Supreme Court by Tony Mauro (2000)
That’s not what we meant to do: reform and its unintended consequences in twentieth-century America by Steven M. Gillon (2000)
Blasphemy: how the religious right is hijacking our declaration of independence by Alan Dershowitz (2007)
Better, stronger, faster: the myth of American decline — and the rise of a new economy by Daniel Gross (2012)
Takeover: the return of the imperial presidency and the subversion of American democracy by Charlie Savage (2007)
The Supreme Court on unions: why labor law is failing American workers by Julius G. Getman
(checked out via ILL)
The Concise History of Woman Suffrage: selections from History of woman suffrage, edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Edited by Paul Buhle (2005)
The Fight to Vote by Michael Waldman
FICTION The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
The Servant Economy: where America’s elite is sending the middle class by Geoffrey P. Faux (2012)
War is the Force that gives us Meaning by Chris Hedges (2002)
What’s the matter with White People: why we long for a golden age that never was by Joan Walsh (2012)
Writing with intent: essays, reviews, personal prose, 1983-2005 by Margaret Atwood (2005)
A Disability History of the United States by Kim E. Nielsen (2012)
Ayn Rand Nation: The hidden struggle for America’s Soul by Gary Weiss (2012)
Give us the ballot: the modern struggle for voting rights in America by Ari Berman ( 2015)
Great Cases in Constitutional Law by Robert P. George (2000)
One Woman, one vote by Ruth Pollak (2005)
[no image] The ACLU Freedom Files: voting rights by Jeremy Paul Kagan (2005)
[no image] The United States Constitution: Questions and Answers by John R. Vile
The Best Government Money Can Buy? by Francis Megahy (2010)
FICTION The Winter Siege [large print] by Ariana Franklin
Unreasonable Man [Ralph Nader video] by Henriette Mantel (2006)
The New Prophets of Capital: A deft and caustic takedown of the new prophets of profit, from Bill Gates to Oprah by Nicole Ashcroft (2015) [checked out via ILL]
Betting on famine: why the world still goes hungry by Jean Ziegler
[no image] The End of Poverty? Think Again by Beth Portello (2010) – heartbreaking
Empire of Capital by Ellen Meiksins Wood (2003)[checked out via ILL]
F*U*B*A*R: America’s right wing nightmare [cd] by Sam Seder (2006) for the innocents out there, FUBAR stands for Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition, and variation of SNAFU, Situation Normal, All Fucked Up
All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the rise of an independent nation by Rebecca Traister (2016)
FICTION Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan (2002)
FICTION The Peripheral by William Gibson
Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck by Adam Cohen, (2016)
This is probably the most famous case of any relating to the ill-considered eugenics movement that contributed to the discredited Social Darwinism philosophy and serious racism (blacks being considered subhuman for no actual basis other than having been enslaved because of the color of their skin – which I think if it was written as science fiction no one with a brain would find this notion credible and would not be able to suspend their disbelief for such a novel). And more obviously, led to the genocide of the Jews in the Holocaust, which led to a withdrawal of the concept from acceptable “science” but I fear lingers on to this day. We see genocide over religion as well as people who are in tribes that are simply taller people (Rawanda – read Elmore Leonard’s novel Pagan Babies, that includes some on it, horrifying).
So the gist of the issue was that 8 Supreme Court justices decided Carrie Buck was of low intelligence (without any basis; when she was allowed in school she was better than average). As the child of a single mom because the husband had abandoned the family, she was vulnerable. After her mother was confined to a facility for purported “immorality” [pretty sure only women were confined for that] and prostitution [not sure she had another way of making a living], and syphilis [big surprise].
Carrie was sent to live with foster parents, who removed her from school to be treated as a servant. Then the family’s nephew raped Carrie and she become pregnant herself, giving birth to a daughter out of wedlock (it is a really horrible story; the foster parents adopted and got custody of Carrie’s child while she was sent to the home, and were, as I recall abusive of her child. The daughter died at age eight.
Carrie was deemed “immoral” for having been raped. We have not made much progress on that front. She was a test case by the Nazi sympathizer involved in a move to sterilize for race purity and mentally challenged as well as, shockingly, epileptics.
The short version is that they used her as a test case to validate the right of the State to sterilize people. And the dreadful horrible evil of 8 of 9 old white men decided that the State had a right to sterilize people without their permission and often without their knowledge.
Like other horrible Supreme Court decisions, the completely horrific consequences were not seen as evil at the time, people did not protest. They agreed that this should be done.
Two of the best books I have read lately have their authors featured tonight on Book TV so will probably be available online as well. The Tuscon Book Festival features Sisters in Law by Linda Hirshman on Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sandra O’Conner. Later will feature the author of the next book I am going to buy, Dissent and the Supreme Court, by Melvin Urofsky.
For my discussions and extensive quotations of pertinent policy issues contemporaneously, look at my list of posts.
Dissent and the Supreme Court: it’s role in the court’s history and the nation’s constitutional dialogue by Melvin I. Urofsky (2015)
Probably best to buy this book because it is over 400 pages and extremely detailed with almost every sentence containing information of significance to the discussions of cases that have been before the Court and will be again based on the numerous unconstitutional laws so many states have passed recently. I do not recall what I was reading or watching, but I was suddenly struck by a better understanding of racism in America. Though I am white, I have a heart and am empathetic and compassionate, but now that I am older I suppose, I more truly grasp how wretched and unreasonable and dreadful and pervasive explicit racism (then and, alas, now). Some people were fooled when it was briefly suppressed by being converted to more subtle or maybe secretive racism that we had for a little after the Civil Rights Movement. And obviously, this was not true. Voting rights are at risk for most people in light of recent Supreme Court decisions, Citizens’s United, but also the one (Shelby v. Holder recently where Clarence Thomas (and Scalia and the other Republican Justices) decided to gut the Act and said, sort of, racism doesn’t exist anymore and so federal review of states laws regarding voting rules was no longer necessary. We have now also seen that this was just another bad decision by these conservative men who want to suppress the vote. Witness the change of Arizona changes to their laws, which they were now allowed to do without Federal review by the Shelby ruling, to reduce the number of polling places from 300 to 60, resulting in 5 hour waiting in lines for many people, miles long queues, and the pretense that “provisional” ballots will even be counted.
I Dissent: Great Opposing Opinions in Landmark Supreme Court Cases by Mark Tushnet (2008)
Our constitutional tradition celebrates the great dissenters — John Marshall Harlan, Oliver Wendell Holmes, William O. Douglas. On one level, the reason is clear: out of step with the prevailing constitutional views, of their times, they were [sometimes] vindicated by history. The nation came to see the wisdom of their constitutional views, and the errors of the majorities that temporarily prevailed.
I added the [sometimes] because Scalia’s dissent is in two of the cases and I’m pretty sure when I get to them, he will be wrong, again. (His opinions always were wrong in MY opinion based on general principle!) So I decided I couldn’t wait and went to the last case first because it was a Scalia dissent.
Oddly, other cases have two justices listed in the table of contents as dissenting. However in the Scalia cases, Clarence (gag) Thomas was also listed in the chapter as joining in the dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, but not in the Table of Contents maybe because he wrote a separate dissent. Of course, now that Scalia is dead (RIH) it is a common joke that Thomas will not know how to vote anymore. Plus the mockery that after the many decades on the bench, he had NEVER SPOKEN during a case presented to the Supreme Court until Scalia died (2016).
Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Nomination that Changed America by Will Haygood (2015)
Haygood is the author of The Butler (an excellent movie too) and this book on Thurgood Marshall is as compelling as a stimulating novel but the people are real, and even more so because they span generations in their role in our government for good or mostly I would say, ill. (Strom Thurmond, may he rest in hell, who dares to question Marshall on the topic of “miscegenation” while he himself had started an affair with a 16 year old black girl in his household service. [can you say coercion? or statutory rape perhaps?) The bastard lived to be 100 and spent most of that time trying to stop progress, especially racial equality. (This was about 7 years after the Loving decision that ruled mixed race marriage legal.)
Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America, is a MUST READ book. Not only is it a good read, it exposes with objectivity that I would not be able to manage (anger, horror, etc. would be my view) what America was like at the time of his nomination under the Presidency of L.B. Johnson (sixties in other words). The odious Senator Sam Ervin, and other characters like Strom, are brought to life, exposing their bigotry, corporatism even then, and sheer meanness in their grilling of Marshall with arcane and irrelevant questions, topped by entrapment style “Constitution is a living document” or the words exactly and only as men from a world long ago meant them. In other words, if Marshall opted for strict constitutionalism, by which I do not think the senators even included the Bill of Rights (except obviously for the Second Amendment) as completely legitimate law, the senator would be asking Marshall to declare slavery legal again.
I would include more detail here, but I had to return the book to the library. I may check it out again after I knock off some of the other 50 or so I have piled up, and will update this page when I do get it back.
This link is to the 2000 edition, the one I am reading is 1992 but not as dated as one might think given that it begins at the beginning of America’s founding and all the information up to then and is extremely detailed and analyzed and described very well.
This book answers the many questions I have had over the years of how we ended up with an essentially two-party system that is run like two warring corporations for a monopoly of the United States government as the prize.
I knew that the Founding Fathers had not begun nor wanted political parties, but apparently not “until they began running parties themselves.” Thomas Jefferson was pro-party. Alexander Hamilton “associated parties with ‘ambition, avarice, personal animosity.'” I’m going to side with Hamilton on this point. James Madison “wrote in Federalist Number Ten of ‘the mischiefs of faction. John Adams expressed ‘dread’ toward ‘division of the republic into to great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other.'” Now that was prescient!
I have been hostile to Sandra Day O’Connor ever since I read that it was her language that gave the states the ability to regulate abortion as long as it was not an “undue burden” to pregnant women. And today’s hundreds of abortion restrictions stem from this language. But I thought it was just me that hated her for being a republican first and a woman second. I thought she was always hailed for making choice the law of the land, but in fact it would seem that she was not progressive on the issue either.
I knew this was a book I wanted to read after seeing the author and Jon Stewart talk about it on The Daily Show. It exceeds my expectations in detail (lots of footnotes to love) and excellent flowing prose. Though I often kept reading because the text moved along like any good story, I found myself stopping to look up more information about people or events discussed on the Internet
Finally I just started putting bookmarks for passages to return to for rereading. A sentence on page 72 struck me in particular: “the states were, in the words of the Founding Fathers, “separately incompetent” to address the problem of children in the workplace.”