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  1. 19.4 hrs • 10/13/2015 • Unabridged

    From the admired judicial authority, author of Louis D. Brandeis (“Remarkable”—Anthony Lewis, New York Review of Books; “Monumental”—Alan M. Dershowitz, New York Times Book Review), Division and Discord, and Supreme Decisions—Melvin Urofsky’s major new book looks at the role of dissent in the Supreme Court and the meaning of the Constitution through the greatest and longest lasting public-policy debate in the country’s history, among members of the Supreme Court, between the Court and the other branches of government, and between the Court and the people of the United States. Urofsky writes of the necessity of constitutional dialogue as one of the ways in which we as a people reinvent and reinvigorate our democratic society. In Dissent and the Supreme Court, he explores the great dissents throughout the Court’s 225-year history. He discusses in detail the role the Supreme Court has played in helping to define what the Constitution means, how the Court’s majority opinions have not always been right, and how the dissenters, by positing alternative interpretations, have initiated a critical dialogue about what a particular decision should mean. This dialogue is sometimes resolved quickly; other times it may take decades before the Court adjusts its position. Louis Brandeis’s dissenting opinion about wiretapping became the position of the Court four decades after it was written. The Court took six decades to adopt the dissenting opinion of the first Justice John Harlan in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)—that segregation on the basis of race violated the Constitution—in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Urofsky shows that the practice of dissent grew slowly but steadily and that in the nineteenth century dissents became more frequent. In the (in)famous case of Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), Chief Justice Roger Taney’s opinion upheld slavery, declaring that blacks could never be citizens. The justice received intense condemnations from several of his colleagues, but it took a civil war and three constitutional amendments before the dissenting view prevailed and Dred Scott was overturned. Urofsky looks as well at the many aspects of American constitutional life that were affected by the Earl Warren Court—free speech, race, judicial appointment, and rights of the accused—and shows how few of these decisions were unanimous, and how the dissents in the earlier cases molded the results of later decisions; how with Roe v. Wade—the Dred Scott of the modern era—dissent fashioned subsequent decisions, and how, in the Court, a dialogue that began with the dissents in Roe has shaped every decision since. Urofsky writes of the rise of conservatism and discusses how the resulting appointments of more conservative jurists to the bench put the last of the Warren liberals—William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall—in increasingly beleaguered positions, and in the minority. He discusses the present age of incivility, in which reasoned dialogue seems less and less possible. Yet within the Marble Palace, the members of the Supreme Court continue to hear arguments, vote, and draft majority opinions, while the minority continues to “respectfully dissent.” The Framers understood that if a constitution doesn’t grow and adapt, it atrophies and dies, and if it does, so does the democratic society it has supported. Dissent—on the Court and off, Urofsky argues—has been a crucial ingredient in keeping the Constitution alive and must continue to be so.

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    Dissent and the Supreme Court

    19.4 hrs • 10/13/15 • Unabridged
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  2. 12.6 hrs • 9/15/2015 • Unabridged

    A fascinating account of how an increasingly globalized and interdependent world influences the deliberations of America’s highest court, by the sitting justice and author of Making Our Democracy Work and Active Liberty. In this original, far-reaching and timely book, Justice Stephen Breyer examines the work of SCOTUS in an increasingly interconnected world, a world in which all sorts of public and private activity—from the conduct of national security policy to the conduct of international trade—obliges the Court to consider and understand circumstances beyond America’s borders. At a time when ordinary citizens may book international lodging directly through online sites like Airbnb, it has become clear that judicial awareness can no longer stop at the water’s edge. To trace how foreign considerations have come to inform the thinking of the Court, Justice Breyer begins with that area of the law in which they have always figured prominently: national security in its Constitutional dimension—how should the Court balance this imperative with others, chiefly the protection of basic liberties, in its review of presidential and congressional actions? He goes on to show how the Court has also been obliged to determine the application of American law in international contexts in a great many more everyday matters, from copyright to domestic relations to the interpretation of international treaty obligations.

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    The Court and the World

    12.6 hrs • 9/15/15 • Unabridged
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  3. 15.8 hrs • 6/24/2014 • Unabridged

    From Marc Seifer, the author of Wizard, comes a true-life courtroom thriller in the tradition of Scott Turow and John Grisham. In this real-life courtroom drama, handwriting analysis expert Dr. Marc Seifer shares the true account of a man falsely accused, the coercion and police corruption that threatened to send him to the electric chair, and the series of events that would eventually exonerate him. Stephen Rosati had it all. An accomplished bodybuilder, former Mr. Rhode Island, and owner of a posh health club, Stephen was the son of real-estate mogul Carl Rosati. One September day, Stephen’s world was shattered when a state trooper arrested him for the murder of drug dealer Joe Viscido Jr.—a crime that had occurred in Florida four years earlier when Stephen was 1,500 miles away. Though Stephen could prove he was in New England at the time of the murder, a man named Peter Dallas had confessed to the crime and named Stephen as his accomplice. Stephen found himself in a Rhode Island jail awaiting transfer to Florida, where he could face a death sentence for a crime he knew nothing about. Stephen set out to prove his innocence. He hired Jack Cicilline—one of the keenest legal minds in New England and attorney to many notorious mobsters. The Rosatis brought on famed handwriting expert Marc Seifer. Although Dr. Seifer’s testimony in court proved that Rosati was in Rhode Island when Viscido was killed, it wasn’t enough to deter Florida police from attempting to pin the murder on Rosati. Thus began the longest extradition hearing in United States history and a powerful criminology case study in police misconduct, mishandled evidence, and wrongful prosecution. With access to over 1,500 pages of police logs, 1,400 pages of court transcripts, and countless depositions and interviews, Seifer weaves a thrilling story of one man’s battle for justice.

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    Framed!

    By Marc J. Seifer, with Stephen Rosati
    Read by Roger Wayne
    15.8 hrs • 6/24/14 • Unabridged
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  4. 15.4 hrs • 6/3/2014 • Unabridged

    With the Supreme Court more influential than ever, this eye-opening book tells the story of how the Roberts Court is shaking the foundation of our nation’s laws. From Citizens United to its momentous rulings regarding Obamacare and gay marriage, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has profoundly affected American life. Yet the court remains a mysterious institution, and the motivations of the nine men and women who serve for life are often obscure. Now, in Uncertain Justice, Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz show the surprising extent to which the Roberts Court is revising the meaning of our Constitution. This essential book arrives at a make-or-break moment for the nation and the court. Political gridlock, cultural change, and technological progress mean that the court’s decisions on key topics—including free speech, privacy, voting rights, and presidential power—could be uniquely durable. Acutely aware of their opportunity, the justices are rewriting critical aspects of constitutional law and redrawing the ground rules of American government. Tribe, one of the country’s leading constitutional lawyers, and Matz dig deeply into the court’s recent rulings, stepping beyond tired debates over judicial “activism” to draw out hidden meanings and silent battles. The undercurrents they reveal suggest a strikingly different vision for the future of our country, one that is sure to be hotly debated. Filled with original insights and compelling human stories, Uncertain Justice illuminates the most colorful story of all—how the Supreme Court and the Constitution frame the way we live.

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    Uncertain Justice

    15.4 hrs • 6/3/14 • Unabridged
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  5. 12.9 hrs • 5/7/2013 • Unabridged

    Seven minutes after President Obama put his signature to a landmark national health care insurance program, a lawyer in the office of Florida GOP attorney general Bill McCollum hit a computer key, sparking a legal challenge to the new law that would eventually reach the nation’s highest court. Health care is only the most visible and recent front in a battle over the meaning and scope of the US Constitution. The battleground is the Supreme Court, and one of the most skilled, insightful, and trenchant of its observers takes us close up to watch it in action. The Roberts court, seven years old, is at the center of a constitutional maelstrom. Four landmark decisions—concerning health care, money in elections, guns at home, and race in schools—reveal the fault lines in a conservative-dominated court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. Marcia Coyle’s brilliant inside account of the high court captures how those cases began—the personalities and conflicts that catapulted them onto the national scene—and how they ultimately exposed the great divides among the justices, such as the originalists versus the pragmatists on guns and the Second Amendment, and corporate speech versus human speech in the controversial Citizens United campaign case. Most dramatically, her analysis shows how dedicated conservative lawyers and groups are strategizing to find cases and crafting them to bring up the judicial road to the Supreme Court with an eye on a receptive conservative majority. The Roberts Court offers a ringside seat at the struggle to lay down the law of the land.

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    The Roberts Court by Marcia Coyle

    The Roberts Court

    12.9 hrs • 5/7/13 • Unabridged
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  6. 10.3 hrs • 12/12/2012 • Unabridged

    Charged with the responsibility of interpreting the Constitution, the Supreme Court has the awesome power to strike down laws enacted by our elected representatives. Why does the public accept the Court’s decisions as legitimate and follow them, even when those decisions are highly unpopular? What must the Court do to maintain the public’s faith? How can it help make our democracy work? In this groundbreaking book, Justice Stephen Breyer tackles these questions and more, offering an original approach to interpreting the Constitution that judges, lawyers, and scholars will look to for many years to come. Breyer delivers an impassioned argument for the proper role of America’s highest judicial body and examines historic and contemporary decisions by the Court, highlighting the rulings that have bolstered public confidence as well as the missteps that have triggered distrust.

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    Making Our Democracy Work

    10.3 hrs • 12/12/12 • Unabridged
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  7. 0 reviews 0 5 3 3 out of 5 stars 3/5
    12.2 hrs • 9/18/2012 • Unabridged

    From the moment John Roberts, the chief justice of the United States, blundered through the Oath of Office at Barack Obama’s inauguration, the relationship between the Supreme Court and the White House has been confrontational. Both men are young, brilliant, charismatic, charming, determined to change the course of the nation—and completely at odds on almost every major constitutional issue. One is radical; one essentially conservative. The surprise is that Obama is the conservative—a believer in incremental change, compromise, and pragmatism over ideology. Roberts—and his allies on the Supreme Court—seek to overturn decades of precedent: in short, to undo the ultimate victory FDR achieved in the New Deal. This ideological war will crescendo during the 2011–2012 term, in which several landmark cases are on the Supreme Court’s docket—most crucially, a challenge to Obama’s controversial health-care legislation. With four new justices joining the Supreme Court in just five years, including Obama’s appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, this is a dramatically—and historically—different Supreme Court, playing for the highest of stakes. No one is better positioned to chronicle this dramatic tale than Jeffrey Toobin, whose prize-winning bestseller The Nine laid bare the inner workings and conflicts of the Supreme Court in meticulous and entertaining detail. As the nation prepares to vote for president in 2012, the future of the Supreme Court will also be on the ballot.

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    The Oath

    12.2 hrs • 9/18/12 • Unabridged
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  8. 10.4 hrs • 2/21/2012 • Unabridged

    In the fall of 1971, when William Rehnquist was nominated to fill an Associate Justice seat on the Supreme Court, the Senate raised no major objections, and a little-known Assistant Attorney General found himself at the pinnacle of the judiciary. It seemed a straightforward choice of a relatively young, academically outstanding and politically seasoned lawyer who shared Richard Nixon's philosophy of "strict constructionism." As Nixon's White House Counsel John Dean reveals for the first time that the choice was anything but straightforward. The truth is that Nixon's nomination was the result of a dramatic, Nixonian rollercoaster. Rehnquist was a last-minute longshot who had once been dismissed by Nixon as a "clown." Only John Dean -- Rehnquist's champion at the time -- knows the full, improbable story. Dean's gripping tale is loaded with revelations such as Nixon's plan to pack the court by forcing resignations, before his inauguration. Using newly released White House tapes, and thousands of previously unseen documents, Dean puts listeners directly in the Oval Office with Nixon, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell, Rehnquist, and the candidates they considered. The Rehnquist Choice fills in a long-missing explanation of the making of the man who wrote the majority opinion in Bush v. Gore and presided over the impeachment trial of William Jefferson Clinton.

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    The Rehnquist Choice

    10.4 hrs • 2/21/12 • Unabridged
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  9. 23.9 hrs • 3/29/2010 • Unabridged

    Beginning in 1935, in a series of devastating decisions, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority left much of Franklin Roosevelt’s agenda in ruins. The pillars of the New Deal fell in short succession. It was not just the New Deal but democracy itself that stood on trial. In February 1937, Roosevelt struck back with an audacious plan to expand the Court to fifteen justices—and to “pack” the new seats with liberals who shared his belief in a “living” Constitution. The ensuing fight was a firestorm that engulfed the White House, the Court, Congress, and the nation. The final verdict was a shock. It dealt FDR the biggest setback of his political life, split the Democratic party, and set the stage for a future era of Republican dominance. Yet the battle also transformed America’s political and constitutional landscape, hastening the nation’s march into the modern world. This brilliant work of history unfolds like a thriller, with vivid characters and unexpected twists. Providing new evidence and fresh insight, Jeff Shesol shows why understanding the Court fight is essential to understanding the presidency, personality, and legacy of FDR—and to understanding America at a crossroads in its history.

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    Supreme Power

    23.9 hrs • 3/29/10 • Unabridged
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  10. 9.8 hrs • 7/9/2009 • Unabridged

    For decades, James MacGregor Burns has been one of the great masters of the study of power and leadership in America. Now he turns his eye to an institution of government that he believes has become more powerful—and more partisan—than the Founding Fathers ever intended: the Supreme Court. Much as we would like to believe that the Court remains aloof from ideological politics, Packing the Court reveals how often justices behave like politicians in robes. Few Americans appreciate that the framers of the Constitution envisioned a much more limited role for the Supreme Court than it has come to occupy. In keeping with the Founders’ desire for balanced government, the Constitution does not grant the Supreme Court the power of judicial review—that is, the ability to veto acts of Congress and the president. Yet throughout its history, the Supreme Court has blocked congressional laws and, as a result, often derailed progressive reform. The term packing the court is usually applied to FDR’s failed attempt to expand the size of the Court after a conservative bench repeatedly overturned key elements of the New Deal. But Burns shows that FDR was not the only president to confront a high court that seemed bent on fighting popular mandates for change, nor was he the only one to try to manipulate the bench for political ends. Many of our most effective leaders—from Jefferson to Jackson, Lincoln to FDR—have clashed with powerful justices who refused to recognize the claims of popularly elected majorities. Burns contends that these battles have threatened the nation’s welfare in the most crucial moments of our history, from the Civil War to the Great Depression—and may do so again. Given the erratic and partisan nature of Supreme Court appointments, Burns believes we play political roulette with the Constitution with each election cycle. Now, eight years after Bush v. Gore, ideological justices have the tightest grip on the Court in recent memory. Drawing on more than two centuries of American history, Packing the Court offers a clear-eyed critique of judicial rule and a bold proposal to rein in the Supreme Court’s power over the elected branches.

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    Packing the Court

    9.8 hrs • 7/9/09 • Unabridged
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  11. 11.1 hrs • 8/5/2008 • Unabridged

    In November 2001, a thirty-one-year-old Yemeni man named Salim Ahmed Hamdan was captured near the Pakistan border and turned over to US forces in Afghanistan. After confessing to being Osama bin Laden’s driver, Hamdan was transferred to Guantánamo Bay and designated for trial before a special military tribunal. The Pentagon assigned a young military defense lawyer, Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift, to represent him in a defense that no one expected to amount to much. But with the help of a young constitutional law professor, Neal Katyal, Swift sued the Bush administration over the legality of the tribunals—and won. Written with the cooperation of Swift and Katyal, here is the inside story of this seminal case, perhaps the most important decision on presidential power and the rule of law in the history of the Supreme Court.

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    The Challenge by Jonathan Mahler

    The Challenge

    11.1 hrs • 8/5/08 • Unabridged
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  12. 7.5 hrs • 9/20/2007 • Unabridged

    A scathing exposé of the judges and lawyers who put criminals’ rights ahead of victims’ rights When Wendy Murphy was a young prosecutor, she learned that the deck is stacked in favor of criminal defendants. Between their arrest and (potential) conviction, murderers, rapists, and drug dealers get more than a fair shake—they get an unfair advantage, often at the expense of their victims.  In many states, for instance, defendants can subpoena a victim’s private medical and counseling files, without any justification. They can threaten victims with brutal cross-examinations if they dare to testify. They can put on “dog and pony show” defenses that have nothing to do with the truth—and even lie under oath with virtually no risk of being prosecuted for perjury.  These kinds of injustices make Murphy fighting mad. She’s made it her mission to help the victims who get the least protection from our twisted legal system. And in her first book, she guides readers through one horror story after another about judges and lawyers who bend over backward to let the worst offenders go free.  You’ll meet judges who unapologetically declare that they care more about their liberal ideology than about the pain and suffering of abuse victims. Judges who let child molesters walk free because they’re “too frail” to go to prison. Defense attorneys who take big money from wealthy child molesters, then twist the Bill of Rights beyond recognition. And even a few prosecutors who go easy on criminals for their own selfish reasons.  Murphy’s true stories will shock you, but they will also inspire you to join the fight for a more rational system. This is an important book that is sure to infuriate America’s legal establishment.

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    And Justice for Some

    7.5 hrs • 9/20/07 • Unabridged
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  13. 5.6 hrs • 9/26/2001 • Abridged

    In the fall of 1971, when William Rehnquist was nominated to fill an Associate Justice seat on the Supreme Court, the Senate raised no major objections, and a little-known Assistant Attorney General found himself at the pinnacle of the judiciary. It seemed a straightforward choice of a relatively young, academically outstanding and politically seasoned lawyer who shared Richard Nixon's philosophy of "strict constructionism." As Nixon's White House Counsel John Dean reveals for the first time that the choice was anything but straightforward. The truth is that Nixon's nomination was the result of a dramatic, Nixonian rollercoaster. Rehnquist was a last-minute longshot who had once been dismissed by Nixon as a "clown." Only John Dean -- Rehnquist's champion at the time -- knows the full, improbable story. Dean's gripping tale is loaded with revelations such as Nixon's plan to pack the court by forcing resignations, before his inauguration. Using newly released White House tapes, and thousands of previously unseen documents, Dean puts listeners directly in the Oval Office with Nixon, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell, Rehnquist, and the candidates they considered. The Rehnquist Choice fills in a long-missing explanation of the making of the man who wrote the majority opinion in Bush v. Gore and presided over the impeachment trial of William Jefferson Clinton.

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    The Rehnquist Choice

    5.6 hrs • 9/26/01 • Abridged
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